Our local State Parks provide some of the best spots for either a leisurely family stroll or a more challenging vertical ascent to view a variety of native plants and wildflowers. Garrapata State Park 6.7 miles south of Rio Road in Carmel in Monterey County, features the Soberanes canyon/ridge trail that winds through meadows, a riparian zone, a lovely redwood grove and an exposed coastal ridge. On certain sections of this trail visitors my feel that they’re swimming through flowers, which can include Shooting Stars, Johnny Jump Ups, Blue Dicks, Golden Buttercup, Elegant Clarkia, Goldfields, Douglas Iris, Checkerbloom, Star Zygadine, Fushia-flowered Gooseberry, Trillium, Tidy Tips, Footsteps of Spring and a fantastic variety of Bush Lupine. Visitors can also encounter the more common Monkey Flower, Seaside Painted Cups, Coyote Brush, Lizard Tail Yarrow, Mock Heather and Poppies. Visitors are advised that this is not a particularly easy hike. The first couple of miles are relatively flat and easy but the ridge can only be reached by a steep climb. For more information, the park phone number is (831) 624-4909. Carmel River State Beach The park can be reached from Highway 1 in Carmel via Ocean Avenue and Scenic Road in Monterey County. Wildflowers can be found along the bluff trail. The park phone number is (831) 624-4909. Point Lobos State Park Three miles south of Carmel on Highway 1, features a fairly easy hike with nice coastal bluff flowers. The park phone number is (831) 624-4909.