Despite being California’s state flower, poppies do not bloom across the state every year. Residents will be excited to hear that 2024 promises a Super Bloom, similar to the one in 2019.

After a wet winter, Southern California is already looking lush with greenery. The poppies in Lake Elsinore have not started blooming yet, but officials are preparing for an influx of visitors to the region. In 2019, city officials were caught off guard by the amount of people excited to see the poppies. Decker Canyon, Horsethief Canyon, and the Alberhill area are some of the best places to observe the poppies, and the surge of visitors disrupted the local community so much that officials attempted to close the trail entrances to the canyons. There were reportedly tens of thousands of people crowding the area, clogging the 15 freeway and 74 highway in an attempt to get a glimpse of the Super Bloom. Alberhill residents recalled visitors parking all over the local streets and nearly trapping them in their homes. When law enforcement tried to seal off roadway access to Walker Canyon, people simply parked further away and hiked into the hills.

This year, law enforcement and locals are better prepared. There are strict restrictions on parking to view poppies in any of the canyons. Shuttle service has been implemented for each weekend in March and April to carry visitors between the parking lots and the canyon. The Walker Canyon Trail has been closed, preventing vehicles from driving through the scenic grounds.

The season for poppies is very short, contributing to the mania around seeing them. The flowers only bloom for a few weeks in March and April. In 2019, the blooms began to fade by early April. Drought prevents the flowers from blooming every year, and 2024 is the first year since 2019 to provide the perfect conditions for a Super Bloom. A live feed is streamed from the City of Lake Elisonre’s website to show potential visitors whether the poppies are ready for viewing.

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Lake Elsinore may be the most famous spot in Southern California to view poppies and wildflowers, but there are other options for those who do not want to get caught up in the rush of visitors. Diamond Valley Lake is a popular alternative to Walker Canyon. Close to Lake Elsinore, the reservoir offers a 1.3-mile seasonal hike with beautiful views of the water and various species of wildflowers, including poppies. Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is another well-known area for poppy viewing, sporting fields of poppies when they are in season. The reserve is north of Los Angeles, rather than south like Lake Elsinore and Diamond Valley Lake. It has a similarly fickle poppy season, but also provides a live stream of the fields to ensure you will not be making the trip for naught.

Even if the poppies decide not to make an appearance this year, Southern California is sure to be overrun by wildflowers. The rain does not always guarantee an abundance of poppies—they need an exact ratio of dry and wet to bloom—but hiking trails across the region will be rife with flowers of all kinds.