LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. (FOX 11) - Lake Elsinore has a new plan in place to cope with a crushing hoard of people checking out a super bloom of poppies. The new traffic pattern and shuttle routes helped to ease congestion, but only slightly.
“Poppypalooza,” as it’s being called, has attracted throngs of visitors flocking to the city of Lake Elsinore for the rare, wildflower bloom.
“We had a lot of fun taking pics up there, [and got some] very good shots,” said visitor Joel Zak. “We’ve gone to the flower fields in Carlsbad, so we wanted to see this, too.”
The sea of orange has become an international sensation. Overwhelmed by visitors and traffic last week, this weekend the city implemented a new plan.
On a normal weekday, you could park along the shoulder to see the poppies covering Walker Canyon. But because of their popularity and the traffic congestion plaguing the Riverside County city, now long lines and the shuttles are the only options. Several streets are closed off by the trail, so passengers must now park at the Outlets at Lake Elsinore on weekends, and catch a ride to the canyon for $10 a person.
The city estimates it had 150,000 last weekend and expects to see a similar turnout this Saturday and Sunday.
Visitors say the shuttle wait times varied between 45 minutes and two hours. But despite the long waits, those patient enough for the poppies say it was worth it.
“Oh yes, it’s worth it,” said Bertha Martinez after waiting an hour and 15 minutes to get back to her car. “It’s beautiful!”