The reserve is reached from Lancaster in the east by Avenue I, a straight road passing steadily less-developed surroundings, eventually entering slightly hilly terrain, and curving round a few bends to the entrance. The road, now known as Lancaster Road, continues 12 miles west to an intersection with Hwy 138, which meets Interstate 5, 14 miles further. The entrance fee for the reserve is $10 per vehicle (2019), perhaps relatively expensive compared with some other places that have more varied scenery, though pedestrian access is free and cars are allowed to park along the main road once 100 feet away from the turning; from here the visitor center is reached by a half mile walk. The road verges are also used if the official parking area is full up, a common occurrence on weekends at the peak flowering season. Other fields and hills all around the reserve have equally fine displays of the poppies, though much of this land is privately owned.
Off-trail walking is not permitted in the reserve, in order to prevent plant damage, and even walking just a few feet away from the path is discouraged, so most of the area is not accessible, since the trails only access the central third, across the high ground of the Antelope Buttes. All routes are easy, with gentle grades, and have similar views, of flat farmland in all directions, and south towards the high mountains. The shortest of the main loops are the 2 mile Poppy Trail
to the west, with an optional shortcut across Tehachapi Vista at the center, and the 1.7 Antelope Loop
to the east. The longest loop (Antelope Butte/Lightning Bolt
) is 3.5 miles. The hills are liable to be windy due to the exposed location at the foot of the mountains, and the lack of any nearby higher ground, while the grasslands apparently have a high incidence of Mojave green rattlesnakes.