The heavy rains of early 2019 have brought forth a “super bloom” of California Golden Poppies and Matilijas in Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore. Overnight, this easily accessible spot has become a hot destination for wildflower viewing.
Location: Lake St. and Walker Canyon Road, Lake Elsinore. From the 15 Freeway, take exit 81 for Lake St. If you are coming from Corona, turn left and cross under the freeway; from Murrieta, turn right. Park where available on the corner of Lake St. and Walker Canyon Road. During peak wildflower season, especially on weekends, you may have to park farther down Walker Canyon Road.
Distance: 3.8 miles
Elevation gain: 600 feet
Suggested time: 2.5 hours
Recommended gear: hiking poles sunblock sun hat
Dogs: Allowed on leash
From the Fish and Wildlife site
The Walker Canyon Ecological Reserve is 490 acres of mostly high desert sage-chaparral. Topography within the Reserve includes rough desert mountainous slopes with numerous rocky outcrops strewn throughout. Walker Canyon runs from the west to the southeast within the Reserve and provides seasonal water and riparian habitat along its drainage.
The Reserve was purchased to maintain and enhance wildlife habitat. The US Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) McCain Valley National Cooperative Land and Wildlife Management Area is situated along the Reserves northern border. Because the Walker Canyon Reserve is contiguous with this BLM Management area, the principle management objective is to provide habitat for wildlife and to open additional land for upland and big game hunting.
The Reserve was acquired from Caltrans by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1969. The acquisition came in full fee title with the water, vegetation and mineral rights included.
The property was designated as an ecological reserve by the Fish and Game Commission in 2000. Little is known of the historical use of this area. Beyond low to moderate hunter use, the property has received very little human use due to its steep and mountainous terrain and limited access. There has been grazing by trespass cattle.