SPANISH LAKE, Mo. – Sunflowers are blooming at a popular spot in north St. Louis County, and summer is the best time to capture them in top form.

The Missouri Department of Conservation plants fields of sunflowers at the Columbia Bottoms Conservation Area, a 4,300-acre conservation area located just south of the Missouri River in Spanish Lake. The entrance to the park is a few miles north of I-270 on Riverview Drive.

“Visitors should be able to see sunflowers in bloom somewhere in the area from early July through the middle of August—depending on weather conditions,” said MDC via a news release Tuesday.

MDC says crews have planted extra sunflower stands this year in anticipation of large crowds. The sunflowers, which can grow up to 6 feet tall, also supply seeds that entice the birds and offer a variety of benefits for pollinators.

Columbia Bottoms is considered to be one of the top Instgrammable spots in the St. Louis area because of its sunflower display. At the peak of their 10-day blooming period, the sunflowers decorate the area with vibrant bursts of gold. MDC crews have also staggered the timing of sunflower planting to spread out blooming periods (and summer photoshoots) out over a longer period. 

The conservation site is open from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily throughout summer, pending weather. MDC reminds visitors not to pick the sunflowers.  Visitors are also asked to park in designated parking lots or on the shoulders and avoid blocking roadways or gates.

Photographers can utilize MDC areas for commercial use by obtaining a Commercial Photography Permit for $100 annually. For more information on those permits and the sunflowers at Columbia Bottoms, click here.