California’s record setting rainy season has poured life into landscapes across Southern California. Beautiful wildflower blooms are beginning to show their spectacular array of color and grace after their long, six-year, slumber due to the historic drought. Certainly, one of the most breathtaking displays of the vibrant rolling hillsides is located at the Southwestern Riverside County Multi-Species Reserve at Diamond Valley Lake.
Butterfly enthusiasts, flower admirers, photographers, birders, hikers, and those who love the outdoors and the warm California sun are already flocking to the Diamond Valley Lake Wildflower Trail to enjoy the natural paradise. “This winter’s impressive rainfall has not only brought some much-needed relief to the state’s record drought, it has brought life back to the hills surrounding Diamond Valley Lake,” said Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District, which owns and operates the 4,500-surface-acre lake near Hemet in southwest Riverside County. “It has been too long since we have been treated to the natural brilliance of these hillsides ablaze with color,” Kightlinger added.
The Trail is located on the northern side of Diamond Valley Lake and is accessible via a 0.5 mile hike along the Lakeview Trail that connects to the 1.3 mile Wildflower Trail loop, for a total hiking distance of roughly 2.3 miles. The Wildflower Trail offers views of the North Hills, Diamond Valley Lake, and the marina.
The Reserve, which was created as part of the construction of MWD’s Diamond Valley Lake Reservoir, provides refuge for 31 sensitive species of plants and animals, with particular emphasis on species which are or may be listed as endangered or threatened under the state and federal Endangered Species Acts.
If you are lucky enough to encounter a local resident of the Reserve such as the San Diego horned lizard and black-tailed jackrabbit, burrowing owl, northern red diamond rattlesnake, the Orange-throated whiptail, Mountain lion, and California gnatcatcher, be sure to keep a safe distance and show respect since we are in their home.
“We’ve had a limited bloom the past few years scattered around the lake. This year is going to be spectacular, with broad fields of flowers covering the hillsides,” said wildlife biologist Bill Wagner. “Because the hillsides are so saturated due to the rain this year, I think the bloom could go well into late spring.”
Parking is $9 per vehicle and there is a $2 per person fee to access the trail. For more information on the lake and wildflower bloom, please visit www.dvlake.com.