Cherry Blossom Watch Update: March 26, 2016

It's a sparkling spring morning at the Tidal Basin, and the cherry blossoms and the crowds are out in force.

It’s a sparkling spring morning at the Tidal Basin. And yes, it’s about as crowded as you imagine it to be. The sun is out, but there was a definite chill in the air earlier this morning–there were a lot of people caught off-guard and shivering.

The NPS said yesterday afternoon that they observed peak bloom yesterday, March 25. Peak bloom marks when at least 70 percent of the trees are blooming. (I have a more detailed explanation of what peak bloom means here.)

The Washington Post‘s Capital Weather Gang got it right from the get-go. In their first and only prediction they forecast that peak bloom would fall between March 24 and 28. The NPS was a bit more unsteady with their forecasts this year, initially saying March 31 to April 3, then revising it to March 18 to 23, and then revising it again to a period beginning March 23 to 24.

If you’re heading down today, expect big crowds. But the trees are looking spectacular. And if you are planning to head down today or tomorrow, you might find some of the tips I included in yesterday’s post useful.

And for those of you who weren’t able to make it in person this year, I have a couple of small treats in store that I’ll post over the weekend. So stay tuned!

Photos From This Morning

The trees are fully out now. There are a few petals on the ground thanks to the breeze we’ve had the past couple of days. And many of the flowers are starting to get a pink tinge.

Want to Help Support DC's Cherry Trees?

If you'd like to help support the care and upkeep of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin, the Trust for The National Mall has launched an Endow a Cherry Tree Campaign. Donations go to the official Cherry Tree Endowment, which will give the National Park Service additional resources to fund the care, maintenance, and possible replacement of the cherry trees. You can find more information here.

The Trust is dedicated to marshaling private support for maintaining and improving the history National Mall area. I'm not affiliated with the Trust--just an admirer of their efforts.

View Comments

  • Hi David,

    Thanks so much for keeping us noted about the most updated status of cherry blossoms. I read your posts every day and I'm so lucky to have an amazing meeting with the spectacular peak of cherry blossoms.

  • Thanks a ton for all the updates. My parents were in town and I made sure we were up early to drive in by 6:30am. Got one of the very last spots in the farthest lot on Ohio Drive! Had we been there even five minutes later, we might've been in trouble.

    I was really amazed at how many photographers and even families with little kids were there before sunrise. It was chilly but I love heading out to shoot in the cold. Beautiful experience. I managed to get a picture or two I really like, which will kick off my summer project of putting together a little DC photo book.

    Thanks again for this blog. The info has been so helpful, even for a local like me who is regularly down at the Tidal Basin!

    • Glad it worked out! And yes, every year I'm amazed at how many people are there at sunrise on nice days during the bloom. If the NPS opened a coffee cart for a few days a year down there opening before sunrise they'd making a killing.

  • Hi David! Wow, such stunning photos! I'm from FL and I booked my flight based on the original March 31st-April 3rd forecast, unfortunately. I touch down in DC late on Thursday the 31st. Will there still be anything left to see? Catching the cherry blossoms in bloom has been on my bucket list for years!

    • There might be some left, but it's looking like they'll be well on their way out by then. Rain and wind today and wind tomorrow don't help, but after that we should get a calm day or two before the weather rolls in again. The best chance will be right at the beginning of your visit, and there'll be progressively less to see as each day goes by. You can see how they're looking as of this morning in today's update.

    • While it's possible that there might be a few late bloomers out, it's more likely that they'll be mostly gone by then. Rain, wind, and storms forecast for this week won't help.

  • I've been following your blog since you've started and I've loved how it's grown. your photos are always stunning. I was able to check you more often than then NPS and pass along your website to others for great shots and timing on when to go to see the blooms. Thank you for your constant updates and I was sure to say Thank You to the staff around the Basin.

    See you next year!!

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