Want to check out this year's super bloom at Lake Elsinore? There's bad news
Local authorities have decided to shut hiking trails after the chaos at the last super bloom in 2019
There's another super bloom predicted this spring at Lake Elsinore, California, but hikers won't get a chance to see it up close. Local authorities have decided to close all trails in the area after the absolute carnage of the last super bloom, which took place in 2019.
The super bloom is a natural phenomenon that happens every few years in California, when the fields of Lake Elsinore explode in a riot of orange poppies – far more than in a typical year. It occurs when heavy winter rains are followed by a long period of drought.
Lake Elsinore is a small town that was overwhelmed when the 2019 phenomenon drew enormous crowds from around the US, not all of whom stuck to the principles of leave no trace.
“At the beginning of the year, if you told me this is what we were going to be dealing with, I would have called you crazy,” mayor Steve Manos told The Independent (opens in new tab) at the time.
Not only were local roads clogged with traffic, many people (including hundreds of Instagram users, who used the tag #superbloom2019 (opens in new tab)) chose to stray from the hiking trails to sit, lie in, and even pick the flowers for the perfect picture. Some even arrived by helicopter (opens in new tab).
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"We’ve never had 50,000 or 100,000 in this city all at one time," Manos said. “The city’s not advertising this. It’s not an event, and for those reasons it’s really hard to plan for anything like that."
“They’re going out there with wedding dresses on, Sunday best, Easter clothes,” said local resident Sharron Tolbert. “For the most part, they don’t care."
Backpacker (opens in new tab) explains that local agencies also had to rescue many ill-equipped and inexperienced hikers, putting a strain on emergency services
With signs of another super bloom on the way this spring, the town has chosen to completely close Walker Canyon, which was one of 2019's most popular and picturesque hotspots and hasn't entirely regenerated since.
Although this year isn't expected to be as vibrant, the city has put the following restrictions in place ahead of time:
- Walker Canyon trail is closed to all visitors
- Parking areas in and around Walker Canyon are closed, and any illegally parked vehicles will be cited and towed
- Walker Canyon Road access at Lake Street is closed
- Motorists are asked to keep the freeway shoulders open at all times for emergency vehicles
You can find more details on the Lake Elsinore website (opens in new tab), along with the latest updates on the poppies.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).