The Hills Alive With California Poppies

Written by Gary, Photos by Yafei & Gary

As you drive north on I-15 in Southern California, having passed Lake Elsinore, you cannot fail to see the super bloom of California Poppies that has burst out on the hills. With all the rain the West Coast has endured over the winter, everyone has been wondering if 2019 was the year for a spectacular wildflower show.

The California Poppy Super Bloom at Walker Canyon, near Lake Elsinore, Southern CA

As You Bend A Corner on the Freeway The Sight Takes Your Breath Away

We decided to head up to see the poppies mid-week knowing the crowds would be overwhelming at the weekend.  We left from our housesit, and headed up on a Wednesday, arriving around 11 am.  It took us thirty-minutes to exit the freeway on the northbound ramp to Lake Street!  If you go, I strongly recommend you either go early in the morning (excepting the fact the poppies don't fully open until late morning) or possibly exit the interstate on the southbound side as the queues appeared much shorter.

Once you exit onto Lake Street, turn right and park down Walker Canyon Rd by the cell tower unless you plan to go to the Walker Canyon Trailhead; there are typically many more open spots than close to the freeway. Patience will be a virtue, we constantly heard the sound of honking horns as people tried to cut the line or exiting the freeway too late with an 18-wheeler on their tail.

Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore, Southern CA.  2019 Wildflower Super Bloom

Recommended Parking Spot

Unlike 2017 when the poppies also burst out in this location, the state rangers have roped off much access to the hillsides.  This is good as it's saving the beautiful flowers being trampled underfoot and allowing for much better photographs.

Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore, Southern CA.  2019 Wildflower Super Bloom

Yellow, Orange and Purples As Far As the Eye Can See

And it's not just poppies, there are lupins, daisies, San Bernardino spineflowers, and many other rare varieties. Yellows, purples and white fight for attention with the dazing orange blooms.

Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore, Southern CA.  2019 Wildflower Super Bloom

A Huge Expanse of California Poppies

In an area where access is being allowed to the flowers, Xaria was soon hunting for butterflies in the warm afternoon sun.  Painted Ladies were all around feasting on the abundant nectar.

Xaria at Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore, Southern CA.  2019 Wildflower Super Bloom

Xaria Lost No Time Getting to Enjoy the Flowers

Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore, Southern CA.  2019 Wildflower Super Bloom

Xaria Chases Another Painted Lady

As it wasn't just those with cameras that were trying to capture the beauty of nature, there were a number of artists.  The gentleman on the left was painting a particularly good portrait of the young lady.

Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore, Southern CA.  2019 Wildflower Super Bloom

Going Back to Simpler Pasttimes

Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore, Southern CA.  2019 Wildflower Super Bloom

Xaria Looks at Yet Another Butterfly

Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore, Southern CA.  2019 Wildflower Super Bloom

Purple Blooms Fight for Space Among the Poppies

Yafei at Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore, Southern CA.  2019 Wildflower Super Bloom

Mummy Looking Radiant

Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore, Southern CA.  2019 Wildflower Super Bloom

Xaria So Happy

Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore, Southern CA.  2019 Wildflower Super Bloom

Catching the Rays of the Sun

Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore, Southern CA.  2019 Wildflower Super Bloom

Daddy Helping a Tired Littleone Back to the 4Runner 


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