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..
This afternoon, the National Park Service determined that the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin have reached peak bloom.
That's a relatively early peak, but not exceptionally so. With the warm January and February, it looked for a while there like the record (March 15) might be under threat. But a cooler March slowed things down. Anything from March 20 is almost par for the course these days–anything March twenty-something is the new normal in recent decades as temperatures have been rising and winters trending warmer.
How It Looks at the Tidal Basin This Morning
A big thank you to our guest photographer today, Joanna Hiatt Kim. You can see more of her beautiful photography around Washington DC and other places here. Joanna has been kind enough to share some of the photos she took at the Tidal Basin this morning.
More Cherry Blossom Photos by Joanna Hiatt Kim
Here's a couple more beautiful cherry blossoms photos that Joanna has taken in previous years. You can find these and more of her photos here.
Reader Photos 2023
I've been getting some questions about whether I'll be doing the reader photo submissions this year.
Absolutely! But submissions aren't open yet. So keep your best shots handy and keep a lookout for the submission information coming soon (probably Monday or Tuesday).
For those who have started following along more recently, you can find some examples from previous years here.
What to Expect
- The Yoshino cherry blossoms start white and gradually turn pale pink as they move past peak bloom.
- There are about a dozen different varieties of cherry trees around the Tidal Basin and the surrounding area. The most numerous, and most famous, are the Yoshino cherry trees. But some of the varieties can be a little pinker than others.
- There are around 3700 cherry trees around the Tidal Basin and nearby areas. There are many nearby surrounding East Potomac Park (the golf course and Hains Point) as well as quite a few areas of the National Mall.
- How long they stay out depends largely on the weather. In the right conditions (cool, calm, dry), they can be out for a week or even two. In the wrong conditions (windy, rainy, hot), they can be chased away in as little as 3-5 days. I've put together a visual timeline using photos from previous years here. As the blossoms move past peak bloom, they become increasingly fragile. This means that there's a risk of a big rain or windstorm knocking many of them off. And unsettled weather is quite normal at this time of year.
Things Worth Knowing
- West Basin Drive is closed for the Welcome Area setup and is scheduled to remain closed until April 6. The MLK Memorial and FDR Memorial remain open as usual to pedestrian traffic.
- Ohio Drive has now changed to a one-way traffic pattern, but they've reversed the direction this year. You can still enter near the Jefferson Memorial–that will direct you around to the left towards Parking Lot A and East Potomac Park in the direction of the golf course. If you want to access the stretch of Ohio Drive that's next to West Potomac Park (i.e., by the FDR Memorial), you have to enter off Independence Avenue down by the Lincoln Memorial. It's a bit messy, because you actually go in what is usually the outgoing side of the John Ericsson Memorial's traffic island—the usual entrance lanes are blocked off.
- The Paddle Boat parking lot is scheduled to remain closed until April 5.
- The National Cherry Blossom Festival runs until April 16.
- The 2023 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run & 5K Run-Walk is scheduled for the weekend of April 1-2. The Tidal Basin will still be open to pedestrian traffic, but there will be road closures in the surrounding area.
- The Jefferson Memorial is still undergoing renovations. The current phase mainly affects the lower level inside, but there's some fencing and scaffolding at ground level outside. The main rotunda remains open. The exterior renovations to the dome are still looking great!
- Parking lot A is open. Parking lots B and C aren't available for visitor parking this year. They're being used as staging and storage areas for nearby construction on the Metro line. (These are the lots at the base of the 14th St Bridge, behind the George Mason Memorial.)
- I've put together some informational pages if you're coming in to see the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin: