HEMET, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Following record-breaking rains this winter, experts are predicting the return of an impressive wildflower super bloom at Diamond Valley Lake in southwest Riverside County.
Beginning this Saturday, March 2, the lake’s seasonal wildflower trail will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, offering impressive views of hillsides covered in the vibrant oranges, blues, purples and reds of the region’s native wildflowers. The flowers are expected to reach peak bloom by mid-March and last through April at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s 4.5 mile-long lake near Hemet.
“We built Diamond Valley Lake two decades ago to nearly double our region’s surface water storage capacity and help safeguard Southern California’s water supply in dry years,” Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said. “But an added benefit has been the preservation of a natural habitat area that serves as a wonderful resource for the community.”
In 2017, Diamond Valley Lake’s super bloom attracted thousands of visitors. The public this year can again expect to see orange California poppies, deep blue arroyo lupines, purple canterbury bells, yellow rancher’s fiddleneck, white popcorn flowers, and pink red maids, among other wildflowers.
“We’re already starting to see super blooms happening in some Southern California areas,” said wildlife biologist Bill Wagner. “Once temperatures warm up a bit, the wildflowers at Diamond Valley Lake should be a really magnificent sight.”
The wildflower trail is part of the Southwestern Riverside County Multi-Species Reserve, which was created by Metropolitan in 1992. The reserve covers 9,000 acres surrounding Diamond Valley Lake and connects to Lake Skinner.
It is home to up to 16 sensitive bird, animal and plant species, as well as eight types of habitat, including Riversidean sage scrub, coast live oak woodland and southern willow scrub. Notable species include the Stephens’ kangaroo rat, the Bell’s sage sparrow and the San Diego horned lizard.
The wildflower trail is a 1.3-mile loop accessible from the marina’s parking lot, with entry off of Domenigoni and Searl parkways in Hemet. It is rated as an easy-to-moderate hike with some rugged terrain.
In addition to the seasonal wildflower trail, two other trails are open to the public year-round and also afford good views of the blooming flowers – the 21.8-mile Lakeview hiking and bicycling trail that circles the 4,500-surface-acre lake and the 5.9-mile North Hills trail for equestrians and hikers.
Hours for the trails are 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (no entry after 3:30 p.m.) until daylight savings time begins March 10. After that, the hours are 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (no entry after 4:30 p.m.). The trails and marina are closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
The best time to see the poppies in bloom is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., as they need full sun.
Visitors are asked to refrain from picking the wildflowers and not to stray from the trails to protect the area’s wildlife and avoid rattlesnakes. Parking is $10 and there is a $3-per-person trail fee that includes a map of the wildflowers and wildflower guide. Another viewing option is to rent one of the lake’s bass or pontoon boats, bring fishing poles and lunch, and enjoy the 360-degree views from the lake itself. Boat rental and fishing information is available at dvlake.com.
Visitors can learn more about Diamond Valley Lake and the region’s water resources at the lake’s Visitor Center, which is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is located on Searl Parkway near the Domenigoni Parkway entrance. Next door at the Western Science Center, visitors can also view archaeological artifacts and Ice Age fossils that were unearthed during the lake’s construction. The Western Science Center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Information on California native plants and water-saving tips are at bewaterwise.com.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative that, along with its 26 cities and retail suppliers, provide water for nearly 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.
Note to editors: Photos of 2017’s wildflower super bloom at Diamond Valley Lake attached.