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..
We're four days past peak bloom now, and the cherry blossoms are still looking magnificent. The rain over the weekend didn't bother them much at all. There's a little cherry blossoms snow (petals) on the ground, but not much at all and certainly not enough to have any impact.
Many of the blossoms are turning pale pink. So if you're a fan of their pink stage, now is the time to go. And if you look closely, you can find a small number of trees are even just starting to leaf out.
You can find below:
- Submissions for the 2023 reader photo features are open. You can find the form below.
- Some photos taken this morning of the developing Kwanzan cherry buds.
- Logistical information for visiting the cherry blossoms.
Prospects for the coming weekend (April 1-2) are a bit touch and go. The blossoms are just starting to move past their prime now, and gusts of wind do shake a few petals free. The good news is that the current weather forecast for this week is favorable: cool, calm, and generally dry. But the reality is that the cherry blossoms are becoming increasingly fragile now. And there might be some unsettled weather coming around the weekend. If that weather turns up, it's going to have an impact.
If you do plan to go this weekend, a heads up that the 2023 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run & 5K Run-Walk will involve road closures in the area both mornings and will make driving and parking even more difficult (we're also into Spring Break season and Easter break, meaning lots of visitors and lots of tour buses). So I'd recommend using an alternative means of getting there (eg. Metro), if you can.
How It Looks at the Tidal Basin This Morning
Clouds and a light haze have moved in, but it's mostly calm and temperatures are mild. These photos were all taken this morning.
Kwanzan Cherry Blossoms
The Kwanzan is a different variety of cherry tree that blooms a little later than the others. So it's an especially good fallback if you happen to be a bit late for the main bloom. There are fewer of them, but they're especially pretty. I have more information on where to find them here.
These were taken this morning. They still have a ways to go.
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.
What to Expect
- They're past peak bloom now and becoming increasingly fragile.
- The current weather forecast for the coming week is favorable to keeping the blossoms out: cool, calm, and dry.
- 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
- The 2023 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run & 5K Run-Walk is scheduled for the coming weekend (April 1-2). The Ten Mile Run (April 2), course goes around the Tidal Basin, East Potomac Park, as well as Memorial Bridge and park of Rock Creek Parkway. The 5K (April 1) course is further up toward the US Capitol end of the Mall and doesn't directly go around the Tidal Basin. The Tidal Basin will still be open to pedestrian traffic before, during, and after the race, but there will be road closures in the surrounding area that will heavily impact driving and parking in the area. I strongly recommend using alternative means of getting there (eg. Metro) if you can.
- 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 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.
- They've started putting up fencing around the base of the Lincoln Memorial. This is for a major renovation project to the memorial's lower chamber. The main part of the memorial remains open.
- 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: