The origins of hybrid zones between parapatric taxa have been of particular interest for understanding the evolution of reproductive isolation and the geographic context of species divergence. One challenge has been to distinguish between allopatric divergence (followed by secondary contact) versus primary intergradation (parapatric speciation) as alternative divergence histories. Here, we use complementary phylogeographic and population genetic analyses to investigate the recent divergence of two subspecies of Clarkia xantiana and the formation of a hybrid zone within the narrow region of sympatry. We tested alternative phylogeographic models of divergence using approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) and found strong support for a secondary contact model and little support for a model allowing for gene flow throughout the divergence process (i.e. primary intergradation). Two independent methods for inferring the ancestral geography of each subspecies, one based on probabilistic character state reconstructions and the other on palaeo-distribution modelling, also support a model of divergence in allopatry and range expansion leading to secondary contact. The membership of individuals to genetic clusters suggests geographic substructure within each taxon where allopatric and sympatric samples are primarily found in separate clusters. We also observed coincidence and concordance of genetic clines across three types of molecular markers, which suggests that there is a strong barrier to gene flow. Taken together, our results provide evidence for allopatric divergence followed by range expansion leading to secondary contact. The location of refugial populations and the directionality of range expansion are consistent with expectations based on climate change since the last glacial maximum. Our approach also illustrates the utility of combining phylogeographic hypothesis testing with species distribution modelling and fine-scale population genetic analyses for inferring the geography of the divergence process.