Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore is closed until further notice to ensure the safety of residents, visitors, and sensitive habitat.

Walker Canyon Closed for Safety and Protection of the Public and Local Habitat

Mar 12, 2024 | Announcement, MSHCP, Recreational, Species

Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore, known in the region for its beautiful landscapes, is temporarily closed to ensure the public’s safety and protect sensitive habitat. The City of Lake Elsinore, in partnership with the RCA, local law enforcement, Caltrans, CHP and others, announced the closure on March 7. The closure of Walker Canyon extends to trails on public and private lands, trail parking, and access through Lake Street. Traffic barriers have been set up to prevent dangerous parking near the Lake Street northbound I-15 on-ramps.  

Although the RCA allows hiking, bicycling, bird watching, and other passive activities on its reserve lands, Walker Canyon, which the RCA owns, will be closed. During this time, the public is urged to avoid the area and obey posted signs.  

The closure is a precautionary measure to combat difficulties experienced during previous rainy seasons, including disruptive traffic jams and the unfortunate death of a CHP officer. The influx of visitors resulted in trampled poppies and disturbed habitat for native plant and animal species protected by the Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP), which the RCA manages. 

In close partnership with the City of Lake Elsinore, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the California Highways Patrol, the County of Riverside Emergency Management Department, Riverside County Parks, Caltrans, and other partners, the RCA will monitor the status of the poppies closely. 

As of March 28, Walker Canyon has no widespread poppy blooms. Although the region has experienced significant rainfall in February and March, there is no indication a “super bloom” will occur this year. The City of Lake Elsinore will publish frequent updates on its website and through social media. The City and agency partners will not offer shuttle services to and from Walker Canyon on weekends. For public members who are curious if the poppies are blooming, the City of Lake Elsinore has set up a live feed of Walker Canyon. 

One of the MSHCP’s goals is to assemble a 500,000-acre habitat reserve for the 146 native species of western Riverside County – 34 of which are endangered or threatened. Walker Canyon is home to many of these protected species, including the bobcat, mountain lion, coastal California gnatcatcher, Bell’s sage sparrow, Cooper’s hawk, white-tailed kite, and the Munz’s onion.  

With the partnership of the Riverside County Regional Park and Open-Space District, the RCA and other partners are protecting lands such as the Walker Canyon for future generations. To learn more about the RCA’s work and the 146 protected species, please visit https://www.wrc-rca.org/school-resources/.