Notice: Super bloom Walker Canyon fields are temporarily CLOSED due to severe influx of Hipsters and Influencer wannabes. Check in with the Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority (26900 Walker Canyon Rd, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530; Phone: (951) 637-6981) before making your way to see the California poppies super bloom
Best summer SoCal with kids
I forgot work, worries, just about everything when my foot stepped out of the car as my pupil contracted from all the bright poppies petals burning all the way into my retina. I was just as ecstatic as my son who was sitting on my shoulders as we scaled the nearby hill.
You have not seen the true color of California poppies until you have seen the Super Bloom Walker Canyon, during the infamous California super bloom of 2019. Perhaps someone analytical will give you a range of alphanumeric values to express the pixels created by the individual plants… and they will be so wrong too.
The bloom is so extensive it is even noticeable from space!
Today I’ve learned one thing, I haven’t seen California poppies until the super bloom of 2019. California poppies do not have a specific color, it’s simply an experience. An atmosphere, an ephemeral moment that you might be lucky enough to witness in your life time.
Previously we’ve seen the flowers welcome the spring on the slopes of Mount Diablo and the cliffs of Big Sur, although never have we seen before the electrifying palette with a range of colors surpassing one’s expectation or even imagination. “It’s a perfect place to take your kids to, just plan accordingly,” due to the heavy traffic.
California Super bloom, Lake Elsinore with children
Flocks of people alone signify the grandeur of the experience. Thousands upon thousands of onlookers drove from every corner of Southern California. Some tourist came from out of state with their children to take part in a spontaneous rebirth of California poppies. An unexpected miracle that followed massive rainfall of 2018 and 2019.
It’s a fact that California has been going through one of the worst droughts in the past half a decade. Plagued by extensive wild fires all the way from Santa Rosa to San Diego the hills of the Golden State were exonerated of vegetation with a handful of charred tree trunks remaining here and there. Followed by a flood, it seemed that a nature was clearing the grounds for the rebirth.
Embodied in the buds of wild flowers California’s rolling hills once again turned golden with poppies leading the reincarnation. Despite the poetic outlook on California’s super bloom of 2019 my wife and I noticed man-made bee hives at the entrance point to the park Walker Canyon Ecological Reserve (Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority). In fact the super bloom has been a third year in the making following the bloom of 2017 and 2018 as one of the rangers explained to us.
Golden hour at the Walker canyon
It was absolutely hard to resist to participate in one of the biggest events of 2019 in California. After seeing all the people on Instagram and other social media post pictures of something as incredible as the poppies super bloom we had to go and see the place for ourselves with our little son. It was probably one of the most exciting highlights of his two years on this planet. I know it was an incredible experience for us!
We picked up our little bear from the daycare and headed down the HWY 15. Just heads up – the drive from Los Angeles will take quite some time and best strategy is to leave as early as possible. You will inevitably end up waiting in a line. However once you’re in the park the line seems to immediately disappear, since it is typically created by the people who want to grab a spot closer to the entrance (which is strange considering that you came out to hike…).
Check out the three best spots to take photos of the flowers during the golden hour at the walker canyon.
Parking at the Walker Canyon
The parking is ample on both sides of the road as you make your way through the main entrance off of Lake street and to the right. Unfortunately the Riverside County Regional Conservation Authority did a poor job preparing for “Disney-size crowds” influx to the Walker Canyon Ecological Reserve. Heavy traffic and absolutely no parking coordination from authorities made the drive in a mayhem.
Nevertheless, conveniently lots of free porta-potties were available on the entire length of the parking lot, so that was a definite plus.
Alternatively you can park at the mall and take the Shuttle bus ($5/ person) from the Outlets at Lake Elsinore (17600 Collier Ave).
Two Trails (both easily scalable with kids)
You will have two options to choose from once you’ve parked
- 1. Lake street (park closer to the entrance)
- 2. Hill top drive (park further down the walker canyon road)
Two trails are connected, however the road is blocked off to traffic at the current time (probably because people were getting lost in the blooming fields).
Additionally to the Walker Canyon flower fields you might want to check out the Tom’s farm with your children while in Corona. You can also drive a little further to the Orange Empire Railway museum. We had an OK experience during the Christmas. If you are going back to LA, stop by the Pumpkin Rock for a 15 min hike to a huge pumpkin head in Norco (North Corona). Our son really enjoyed climbing around the giant rock head.