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..
The cherry blossoms are still going strong and looking beautiful. A second wave of rain overnight didn’t have much effect. And the rain and fog has now moved out and given way to clear, sunny skies.
While some of the earlier bloomers have been losing many of their petals, most of the trees are still in full bloom. Cooler temperatures over the next several days will help slow things down. So they’ll be looking beautiful through the weekend.
If you arrive through the MLK Memorial, don’t panic when you see the trees there. Those were among the first to bloom and are among the first to lose their petals. But they’re not typical of most of the others elsewhere around the Tidal Basin.
While it’s easy to find some elsewhere that have a blanket of cherry blossom snow under them, there are also plenty of trees that look much fresher and that aren’t losing their petals yet, especially over on the eastern side of the Tidal Basin by the paddle boats and Jefferson Memorial.
Some of the blossoms are starting to turn pink. Most of them are still white, but it’s easy to find some that are developing pink streaks on the petals. I’ve included some examples in the photos at the top of this post as well as more below that are strikingly pink; these are not typical of most of them.
I’ve opened up submissions for reader photos. If you have a photo or two of this year’s cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin that you’d like to share, you can find the information at the bottom of this page. It will only be open for a few days, and thank you to the many people who have already submitted.
It will be crowded. There’ll be a lot of competition for parking and a strong likelihood of traffic jams in the area near the Tidal Basin. If you have the option, almost any other way of getting there is probably better than driving.
Cooler temperatures have arrived and the rain has gone for now. Both are good things for drawing out the length of the bloom.
Logistics for Visiting
I have more detailed information in these posts:
Please don’t pick the blossoms, climb on the trees, or damage the branches. Many of the trees are old and fragile (some over a century old), and the Tidal Basin area is a National Park.
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. There is parking along one side of Ohio Drive, but it’s first-come-first-served and frequently fills up.
NPS 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
The magnolias have tried their best to bloom but weren’t able to pull it off this year after the freezing temperatures of a couple of weeks ago. These photos are of the magnolias at the George Mason Memorial this morning. (But the yellow forsythia is blooming here and looking very pretty.)
Submit Your Best Shots to the Reader Photos 2023!
Thanks for your interest, but 2023 submissions are now closed. You can see the posted photos here.