With the recent rains over the last few weeks over Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore, the poppies are blooming and are more beautiful than ever. See below for where to see the poppies, directions, parking, recent pictures and the alternative poppy viewing trail that should help you avoid the majority of the traffic.
With hundreds of thousands of people coming from all over the country to see the ‘super bloom’, the City of Lake Elsinore has been in a state of chaos this past month. The small city of roughly 66,411 residents does not have the resources or infrastructure to support this amount of traffic, especially where the super bloom is occurring. The Walker Canyon trailhead is located just off the 15 freeway on a road that dead ends, meaning there is no option for through traffic. All cars must leave the same way they came in on a small 2 lane side road. This causes a traffic nightmare as you have multiple cars stopping to take pictures or wait for parking spots.
Over the weekend, the City of Lake Elsinore does offer shuttles leaving from the Outlets at Lake Elsinore. However, during the week, poppy viewers need to find parking near the Walker Canyon trailhead. While the benefit of going during the week is that you will not have to wait upwards of 1.5 hours for the $10 shuttle and you can avoid the larger crowds, this also means that folks need to park up to 3 or 4 blocks away and walk to the Walker Canyon trailhead.
We wanted to put together a breakdown of what to expect and where to go so your poppy viewing experience is as pleasant as possible.
The majority of the poppy fields are located at the Walker Canyon trail which is also where the heaviest foot and car traffic happens to be. While this is the best viewing experience, there is an option to avoid most of that, save time and still be able to see the poppy bloom. See below for directions to the side trail.
Map of Super Bloom Area
Additional information for your trip to Walker Canyon
The best time to see the poppies is late morning to mid afternoon while the sun is out. On cloudy days or when the sun is going down, the poppies do close. Walker Canyon does allow dogs on-leash. The full trail is roughly 2 miles out and 2 miles back with some of the most beautiful poppy fields located after the first 1/2 mile. The first few hundred meters of the trail is relatively steep but it does flatten out after that. We do recommend that you bring proper walking/hiking attire if you plan to venture beyond the crowds in the first 1/4 miles or so. You want to stay on the main trails as much as possible as there was a rattlesnake bite reported last weekend. There are portable restrooms set up at all of the major trail entrances.
The 15 N and 15 S Lake Street off-ramps are closed so you will need to exit at Nichols Rd if you’re coming from the south or Indian Truck Trail if your coming from the north. Those coming in off the 74 (Ortega Highway) can follow Lake Street to the end.
Directions to Walker Canyon Super Bloom
Make your way over to the 15 N. Take the 15 N until you reach Nichols Rd. Exit on Nichols Rd. and make a left. Follow Nichols Rd. until the end and make a right on Lake Street. Although there are ‘No Parking’ signs, folks have been parking along Lake Street, Temescal Canyon Rd. and Walker Canyon Rd. The lot on the right just after Temescal Canyon Rd. may or may not be open during the week.
Make your way south to the 91 E. Take the 91 E to the 15 S. Take the 15 S to Indian Truck Trail. Make a left and a quick right on Temescal Canyon Rd. Follow Temescal Canyon Rd. for a few miles until you reach Lake Street. Although there are ‘No Parking’ signs, folks have been parking along Lake Street, Temescal Canyon Rd. and Walker Canyon Rd. If you go left on Lake Street, the lot on the right just after you make the left on Lake may or may not be open during the week.
Take the 55 N or 241 N, merge on to the 91 E, merge on to the 15 S and exit at Indian Truck Trail. Make a left and a quick right on Temescal Canyon Rd. Follow Temescal Canyon Rd. for a few miles until you reach Lake Street. Although there are ‘No Parking’ signs, folks have been parking along Lake Street, Temescal Canyon Rd. and Walker Canyon Rd. If you go left on Lake Street, the lot on the right just after you make the left on Lake may or may not be open during the week.
Take the 5 N or 5 S to the CA-74 E / Ortega Highway. Follow CA-74 E to Grand Ave in Lake Elsinore. Grand Ave becomes Lake Street. Follow Lake Street which ends at Walker Canyon trailhead. Although there are ‘No Parking’ signs, folks have been parking along Lake Street, Temescal Canyon Rd. and Walker Canyon Rd. On Lake Street just after you pass Temescal Canyon Rd, the lot on the right may or may not be open during the week.
The Side Trail
For those of you that have read this far, we have a tip for you that will help you save time.
There is a side trail just to the north northwest of the Walker Canyon trail that fewer people know about. It can’t be reached by exiting Indian Truck Trail. This trail is a bit steeper but just as beautiful as the Walker Canyon trail. and you can avoid sitting in a ton of traffic. While there may be some people, you’ll be able to avoid the larger crowd.
Here’s is a picture of what the secret trailhead looks like from Concordia Ranch Rd.