2023 Peak Bloom
The NPS judged that the Yoshino cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin reached peak bloom on March 23, 2023. They're now done for the year..
UPDATE: The NPS announced earlier this afternoon that the cherry blossoms had reached peak bloom as of today (March 21).
The sun is shining, the air is still, and the cherry blossoms are looking beautiful.
There’s not a lot to update since yesterday: a few more blossoms open and a little closer to peak bloom.
My guess is that the National Park Service will make the call on peak bloom sometime later today or tomorrow once they judge that the 70 percent threshold has been crossed.
While there were more people out early this morning, it was by no means crowded. And it’s a lovely morning to enjoy the blossoms.
There have been a lot of questions about how long the cherry blossoms last once they’re blooming. It’s impossible to say a specific number of days because so much depends on the weather.
In the right conditions (calm, cool, dry), they can last around two weeks. In the wrong conditions (windy, rainy, stormy, hot), they can be gone in under a week. Usually, it’s somewhere in between. I have put together a visual timeline relative to peak bloom using photos from past years, but a key takeaway is that there can be a lot of variation.
More specifically, though, the odds are good that they’ll be looking beautiful all this coming week and through this coming weekend.
The wrinkle, as always, is the weather. One of the characteristics of spring in this area is that the weather can be quite unsettled. It’s very much a transitional period, and we can get a bit of everything.
The forecast for this week includes rain, and potentially thunderstorms, for Wednesday/Thursday as we catch the very top of the big storm system that’s hitting the south and southeastern states.
At that point, it’s early enough that the blossoms should still be relatively strong, and with luck, the rain shouldn’t have much effect overall. Yes, it might knock a few petals off, but overall the trees should still be looking beautiful. Of course, if nature decides to aim a derecho-style storm right at the Tidal Basin, all bets are off.
I will, of course, be checking in with an update once the rain clears. So stay tuned.
Logistics for Visiting
Ohio Drive has been switched to the special one-way traffic pattern. That will remain in place during the main bloom. So you’ll need to enter up by the Jefferson Memorial; you won’t be able to enter from the Lincoln Memorial End.
Welcome Area. The NPS is switching things up this year and has moved the Welcome Area from the old Maine Ave parking area to next to the MLK Memorial (West Basin Dr SW). So West Basin Dr SW is closed to traffic from Ohio Drive. That has displaced some disabled parking spots; they’ve been moved to a temporarily signed area about 100 yards or so away at the intersection of Ohio Drive and West Basin Dr SW).
Metro will be running extra services during the bloom. The closest stops are Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza. I have more information on getting to the cherry blossoms separately.
How it Looks at the Tidal Basin This Morning
Here are some shots taken at the Tidal Basin earlier this morning to give a sense of how it’s looking today.