Flower Power: Superbloom in Walker Canyon
Since I moved to LA back in 2014, I have heard of and seen the wonder that is the Superbloom and have always wanted to do. Every year I vow I'm going to make it and I haven't because of not having a car that I trusted to get to it, forgetting about it, or not being able to go because of the lack adequate rainfall to produce a Superbloom. Finally, almost 5 years later, I got a chance to witness this magnificent natural phenomenon with my own eyes and if you are in this area, it is a must see!
What Is The Superbloom?
Maybe its my diction but when I talk about the Superbloom, everyone thinks I'm saying Super Bowl and are immediately confused. No sis, I said Superbloom which is a rare occurrence that happens in dessert terrains when a substantial amount of rainfall as well as timing and temperature, all come together in perfect synergy causing wildflowers to carpet the otherwise barren landscape. Other places would just call it Spring, but in LA we don't always get a true Spring so this is a big deal!
There are a variety of flowers that will see but at Walker Canyon, the California poppies steal the show. As far as the eye can see, there are lush fields of orange cup-shaped beauties, lightly rippling in the breeze standing out among grassy and rocky hillsides. The best place to see the most diversity in flora and the most spectacular Superbloom currently is in Borrego Springs. There you will find orange, purple, yellow, and pink wildflowers blooming.
How To Get There?
While the Borrego Springs area is proving to be the most expansive, it is also not a quick trip. Clocking in at about 3 hours and 45 mins from LA, Borrego Springs is a bit of an investment unless you were planning to camp in the area and stay for longer than just a few pics turn back. Coming from LA you can there very easily and there are several options.
Lake Elsinore is beautiful and closer. It is right off the Lake St exit on the 15 freeway. To make it easy on yourself, put in Walker Canyon Trail-head in your GPS and it will take you where you need to go.
What To Expect?
IT WILL BE BUSY!!!!
I went on 3/8/2019 which is very early in the Superbloom so I expected there would not be a huge crowd. We left L.A around 830 and it took only about 1 hour and 15 min but as soon as we approached the Lake St exit, we realized this was going to be a situation.
If you go on the weekend, the exit will be backed up so be prepared to wait. If you are lucky to get parking on the street where the actual trail is, then count your blessings otherwise you will have to park in an "overflow lot" a little ways away and then walk over. Imagine dealing with parking for a state fair.
**I did just see an article about the first rattlesnake sighting of the season so that might deter you from going too far off the trail. Rattlesnakes are only aggressive if they are agitated**
How To Get Great Pics.
True story: there are a TON of "influencers" and bloggers that are going there JUST for the photos and while that is their right, it does make it hard for other people. It is not cool for people to go and mindlessly trample through the flowers leaving broken flowers and a massive spot where you sat your massive butt in a patch of flowers. There is no need for that and there are ways that you can great shots without destroying the environment and ruining it for people that want to see the flowers the same way you saw it before you plopped your massive butt down in the meadow.
First of all, and this should go without saying, don't stand, sit, lay down, roll around, or jump on the flowers when you're taking the picture. Find grass or bare dirt to stand in and make sure your photographer or tripod is also on bare dirt.
Second, its all about the angles so get low and creative. When you shoot from the ground up you create the illusion that you are standing in the flowers like the Disney princess you believe you are.
Third, shoot from a distance and use the mountains as a backdrop. You don't have to be immersed in the flowers to get a beautiful shot.
Fourth, if you go off the trail, there are definitely boulders that you can find to sit on and capture the Superbloom without having to sit directly on the flowers or the ground in general. That being said, you may have to go through poppies to get to some of them so tread lightly!
Please do go and enjoy the Superbloom because we don't get it often. Don't let the crowds thwart you because it is definitely worth seeing with your own eyes. If you do go, please remember to be responsible and mindful of other people and the environment!
**Shoutout to Avery Archie for all of these dope pics. Check her out on IG @Averyarchie