The subtle, sweet and spicy smell of the wild mustard flows through your nostrils as you ride through the fields of gold mustard on the Pismo Preserve. Springtime presents the yellow mustard weed in full-bloom and the bobbing flower heads frame the ocean views on the lower hills of the Pismo Preserve. You can enjoy the wild mustard late winter and into spring and find it four to six feet tall on the lower hillsides.
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Fields of Gold
Legend has it that Junipero Serra scattered mustard seeds as he trod the path to developing the early California Missions while the Revolutionary War was transpiring on the East Coast. The seeds he cast apparently came from Europe. Historians speculate that he wished to mark his path for the return journey.
No matter how the wild mustard arrived here, it blossoms and flourishes on our coastal hillsides. The yellow carpet combined with the green stalk contrasts beautifully against a clear blue sky and an azure ocean. A clear sunny day brings out the vibrant colors and leaves you with a lasting memory.
Abundance of Wildflowers
Wild mustard may be the star of the spring Pismo Preserve wildflower show, but there are other lovely wild flowers to enjoy along the riding trails too. Purple Bush Lupine, a member of the pea family, provides a lovely contrasting purple to the yellow mustard carpet.
California Poppies lie a little lower than the grass here, but the patches of burning gold can’t be missed. Purple Bush Lupines clustered with the poppies make for one superb display.
Indian Paintbrush dabs a magenta color to the trail-side palette.
White dots of wild morning glory flowers poke their heads up between the Bush Lupine like the first stars in a twilight sky. Looking beyond the flora the coastal view beckons the eye to the horizon.
Riding Through Fields of Gold on the Pismo Preserve
Such a great day riding on the Pismo Preserve leaves one with the chorus of the song, “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” from the musical “Oklahoma” running through one’s head:
Oh what a beautiful morning,
Oh what a beautiful day,
I’ve got a wonderful feeling,
Everything’s going my way.
Riding the Pismo Preserve
The Pismo Preserve is open to riders, hiker and bikers on Land Conservancy Pismo Preserve Discovery Days. Horseback riders must sign up ahead of time on the Land Conservancy website. There is room for a limited number of trailers and riding helmets are required for all riders.
There are many SLO County trails to catch the spring season wildflower show check out Montana de Oro, Santa Margarita, and Lopez Lake.
Photo Credit: Sharon Jantzen
Get Going! Explore the wonder and beauty of the SLO County trails from the best place on earth, the back of a horse. To keep this info at your fingertips we have developed a FREE Hot Sheet that will direct you to these these stories. We’ll continue to add trail ride stories to our website. You can stay up-to-date by becoming a SLO Horse News herd member. Get your Riding the SLO County Trails Hot Sheet here >.