Valley News -

By Kim Harris
Managing Editor 

City shuts down poppy viewing, cites safety issues

Thousands park illegally on freeway to view super bloomin 'Poppy Apocalypse'


Last updated 3/18/2019 at 7:29pm

Courtesy photo

The city of Lake Elsinore announced the shutdown of Walker Canyon for poppy viewing just after 5 p.m. Sunday, taking to social media to announce the closure.

"#PoppyShutdown: The situation has escalated beyond our available resources. No additional shuttles or visitors will be allowed into Walker Canyon. This weekend has been unbearable Lake Elsinore," the city posted on Instagram and Twitter, adding it would "evaluate all options next week" including ways to shut the poppy viewing down completely.

Lake Street and Nichols ramps were completely closed due to the traffic issues the city faced.

Meanwhile, the California Highway Patrol had a running report of motorists' activities as they approached the city of Lake Elsinore's Lake Street exit off Interstate 15, Sunday.

Everything from children playing on the side of the freeway to people parking and exiting their vehicles as they walked their dogs, appeared on the CHP incident page at, Reports of people picking poppies on the side of the freeway along with hundreds of vehicles stopping and opening their car doors, preventing other vehicles from moving through the area, was also reported.

One update from the CHP reported "thousands of vehicles" stopping to view the flowers with "children walking down the freeway."

At 4:40 p.m. Sunday, CHP requested Cal Trans to shut down the Lake Street offramp on Interstate 15. The hard closure of the offramp was in place shortly after 5 p.m.

Further north at the intersection of Indian Truck Trail and Interstate 15, California Highway Patrol reported much of the same as their counterparts in Lake Elsinore. Hundreds of cars stopped along the roadway to view the poppies blooming there.

"Thousands of vehicles parked illegally," and "multiple parties" out of their vehicles and "walking in lanes" of the freeway, the inland Communication Center for CHP reported at 4:46 p.m. on the traffic incident page.

"Thank you for your understanding. We know it has been miserable and has caused unnecessary hardships for our entire community," the city said.


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