McLaughlin’s Daffodil Hill is not a little known secret. While it is a short-lived blooming extravaganza of beauty, it is a Spring event that draws thousands out to the Amador foothills in Volcano, CA. The private ranch was established in 1887 by pioneers Arthur McLaughlin and Elizabeth “Lizzie” van Vorst-McLaughlin who purchased several hundred acres of land from Dutchman Pete Denzer “who planted a few daffodils around his residence in remembrance of his home country.”
Lizzie began planting additional daffodils to beautify the ranch and the bulbs have been “lovingly nurtured and added to by subsequent generations as a memorial to their ancestors.” Today the private ranch opens its six-acre grounds to visitors each Spring. Daffodils blanket the gentle slopes and are accompanied by scattered tulips, violets, crocuses, hyacinths, lilacs and blooming almonds. Typical viewing season is mid-March through the first weeks of April and is contingent on weather conditions. Planning a visit should include confirming the open/closed status by calling the recording (209) 296-7048. Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. all week.
In the last 20 years, the “McLaughlin descendants have continued to personally plant several thousand new bulbs a year” so that Daffodil Hill has several hundred varieties of daffodils that cover the old homestead landscape with up to 300,000 blooms. The past several years an average of 16,000 daffodil bulbs have been planted annually by the Ryan brothers and their families who are the great, great-great, and great-great-great grandchildren of Arthur and Lizzie.
Visitors can also expect to enjoy seeing or photographing an 1880’s barn, old wagon wheels, gold rush era mining and antique farming equipment, as well as pine trees, peacocks, chickens, two miniature donkeys and a horse. Picnic lunches are allowed on the grounds but no pets. There are no snack facilities inside the grounds but a snack shack is situated across the street. The McLaughlin Daffodil Hill short-lived season is a treasure provided free of charge for entrance and parking and is a greatly loved highlight of Spring for many who come out annually. Donations go directly to funding new bulbs.
This Spring 2013 peak days are soon passing and the weekend of April 30-31 is expected to draw the largest crowds of the season. If possible, visiting during the weekdays is recommended if you want to avoid the crowds and get first choice to one of the benches scattered throughout the ranch. And please, do not pick or trample the flowers!
- McLaughlin Daffodil Hill
- 18310 Rams Horn Grade, Volcano, CA
- (209) 296-7048 Call before going to confirm open status
- Sat-Sun 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Mid-April through first weeks of March annually