It’s that time of year again – the California poppies are blooming! After all the recent rains, the poppy fields across Southern California are expected to return to their full glory, and it’s a sight that can’t be missed. But before you head out to take in the beauty, it’s important to know that the blooms come with a downside: huge crowds that clog roads and create a traffic mess.

In Lake Elsinore, the bloom is making a comeback, but it’s not nearly as showy as it was in 2019 when bright orange blooms blanketed the hills. Still, with some more rain in the next week or two, the hills could be awash in color once again.

The city of Lake Elsinore is taking steps to prevent a repeat of the traffic nightmare that occurred in 2019. The entrance to Walker Canyon is blocked off and all of the surrounding side streets have been marked off with no-parking signs. It’s being done to discourage people from showing up in masse and parking along a freeway onramp is also illegal.

If you’re looking for a more peaceful experience, there are other options. The Antelope Valley has a state reserve that’s blooming with poppies and there’s also a field in Irvine. No matter where you go, it’s important to remember to give the flowers their space and take only pictures, leaving the petals for others to enjoy.