*Update March 23rd. The City of Lake Elsinore has shut off access to the area due to the shear volume of visitors. You can still visit walker canyon but you are now required to park in their designated parking lots and take a shuttle to the canyon. The shuttle is not free, it costs $10 a person.*
All signs point to “Yes” if you consider the previous super bloom. The last time our state had this much rain the hills were alive with color. Just today, on my drive into work I could already see pockets of vibrate color blooming on the mountainsides. So I wouldn’t be surprised if you start seeing posts of your friends visiting the Walker Canyon poppy fields as early as this weekend. Fingers crossed California’s super bloom 2019 will put our last one to shame.
Other states call it “spring” but here in California if any flowers start growing it’s called a “Super Bloom.” I guess you can’t blame us. For almost a decade it felt like California had been skipping spring. So this year’s rain has been a welcome sight. Not only has the rain put a dent in our drought it has also set California alight with colors that we haven’t seen in years.
I expect the first weekend of March to be a great time to start visiting Walker Canyon’s poppy fields. With it peaking maybe mid to late March? Please note that I am by no means, an expert in predicting the super bloom. Be sure to keep an eye out for the local news articles and social media posts to find out the best time to visit.
Our Previous Visit was beautiful… and busy
It’s a short blooming season. Peak Season is March-April. It’s this small window of opportunity that will bring visitors by the thousands. The last time the super bloom hit we went to see them the third week of March. By then, the flowers were already on the decline. With noticeably fewer flowers than the photos, our friends took the week before.
We arrived at 9:30 am on a Saturday, both sides of Walker Canyon Road were already packed with cars. Thankfully the throngs of people didn’t affect our experience. Once we got on the trail, everyone started to spread out and that’s when we got to enjoy the beautiful site.
I’ll admit, it’s nice to see California in a shade other than brown.
How to get to Walker Canyon Poppy Fields
It’s pretty easy. Get to the 15 FWY and head towards Lake Elsinore. Take exit 81 for Lake St and park on the northbound side of the FWY. The trail starts right at the intersection of Lake Street & Walker Canyon Road. From there, you got about a mile walk uphill until you get into the valley where the flowers are blooming.
According to alltrails.com, the Walker Canyon Trail is about three and a half miles with an elevation gain of 734 feet. Dogs are allowed but have to be kept on a leash.
Easy hike for that everyone can enjoy
The hike into the canyon isn’t hard. It’s family friendly, but the first hill is steep enough to work up a sweat if you’re pushing a stroller. I was sweating enough to cover the tears of sadness I shed for leaving my drones connection cable in the car. So much for the beautiful aerial shots that I wanted to capture to accompany this post. That being said be sure not to forget these items below on your visit. Sure it’s an easy hike, but you won’t enjoy the flowers if you’re sunburned or hangry.
- Water and Snacks
- Hiking shoes, or at least shoes with grip
- Camera (pics or it didn’t happen)
Since it was our first hike with our 6-month-old baby, we thought it would be best to push her on our Uppababy Cruz stroller to protect her from the sun instead of wearing her in an Ergobaby. We also didn’t know how challenging the hike was and didn’t want to risk us falling or slipping on the trail with her on us. The trail is very easy, and most of the people let their kids walk it, or they wore them in a baby carrier. The trail is bumpy, but you can push a stroller through. The only small struggle we had with the stroller was pushing it under the metal gate at the beginning of the trail.
Similar Places around California
We expect the wildflowers to be exploding all over the state in the coming weeks. The Walker Canyon poppy fields aren’t the only place you can enjoy these super blooms. In the past, Friends have posted about these spots as well.
- The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve near Lancaster
- Diamond Valley Lake north of Temecula
- Figueroa Mountain way north of Santa Barbara
We haven’t personally been to those locations but judging by their photos; you’ll be able to see some fantastic blooms there as well.
Go check it out
I would recommend anyone to go out and enjoy the wildflowers. So be sure to keep a lookout in the news or on your feeds for the start of the super bloom. Once they start, don’t wait too long. With such a small window to enjoy the flowers, if you don’t get out there in the first week or two, you may have to set your expectations accordingly. Let us know below if you were able to visit any of the super blooms in the comments below.
We’re currently working on a handful of other posts in and around California so be sure to stop by again soon. Or! Check out some of the other posts on our Travel Page. There you can read our latest travel related posts and resources.
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