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..
It’s damp, dreary, and dull (the lighting), but the cherry blossoms are still going strong.
They weathered last night’s rain and thunderstorms well. Yes, it has knocked some petals off, and there’s far more cherry blossom “snow” around than yesterday, especially around the earlier bloomers at the MLK Memorial, but it’s still looking beautiful and most of the trees are looking full.
There are more showers and rain expected this afternoon into tonight, but the cherry blossoms are holding up well so far and should still be looking great tomorrow. As they’re moving past their prime, more and more blossoms will be coming down each day the further we get from peak bloom.
As in past years, I plan to post some posts of reader-submitted photos from this year’s bloom. If you have a great photo you’d like to share, you can find the submission information and form at the bottom of this page.
If you’re coming in this weekend, the rule of thumb is the sooner the better. As in, if you have a choice of going Saturday or Sunday, Saturday is the safer bet in terms of the blossoms.
The catch is that that is likely to bring the crowds, and expect Saturday, in particular, to be busy.
A lot of people have been asking about the March 31, April 1-2 period. At the current rate, the odds aren’t great for the cherry blossoms still to be out. There still might be some late straggler trees, but it’s looking as though most of them might be done. Breezy conditions around Sunday won’t be helpful, although expected cool temperatures are.
Logistics for Visiting
Please remember not to pick the blossoms, climb on the trees, or damage the branches. I’ve seen a number of people bending branches or climbing on the trees for a better pose, which risks breaking the fragile branches. Some of these trees are over a hundred years old. And this is a National Park, which means that it’s illegal to damage natural resources within it. (And yes, that includes shaking and picking the blossoms, no matter how pretty falling cherry blossom “snow” might be.)
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.
Welcome Area. The NPS has switched 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
With the rain tapering off, it was a quieter morning down at the Tidal Basin. It’s not the most photogenic of days, and there weren’t many photographers out or couples braving the conditions for engagement photos.
Here are some shots I took earlier this morning to give a sense of how it looks today.
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.