Hilltop Drive (Super Bloom) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Hilltop Drive (Super Bloom)


Lake Elsinore 2019 Poppy Apocalypse

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Climb Summary

Once in a lifetime . . .

Cycling the Super Bloom - Lake Elsinore - aerial drone photo of road and poppy bloom 

Aerial drone photo of Hilltop Road and surrounding Super Bloom.

Unseasonal rainfall created a stunning scenic opportunity during our Southern California cycling trip.

PJAMM was re-documenting some of Southern California’s top bike climbs and were on our way from Mt. Baldy to Mount Palomar traveling south on I-15 when we came to a dead stop and crept along for the next hour as we passed one of the most extraordinary vision - a hundred year super bloom.  Super blooms are usually desert phenomenon and perhaps this super bloom occuring on a short stretch of hillside beside a freeway between Los Angeles and San Diego is what made this a pilgrimage for 150,000 sightseers over a few day period in March, 2019.

Cycling the Super Bloom - Lake Elsinore - aerial drone photo of road and poppy bloom 

Soaking it in . . .

We had intended to ride Mount Palomar on Sunday (March 17) and Nate Harrison Grade in the early morning of March 18 and then hustle over to ride Gibraltar Road, Santa Barbara in the afternoon of March 18.  We decided to wedge in the super bloom on our way to Gibraltar and are so glad we did!

PJAMM cycling up Hilltop Road amidst the Super Bloom..

What is a “Super Bloom”?  This is a climatic phenomenon that occurs in years of very high rainfall in the late winter or early spring.  The excess water from the rainfall germinates previously long dormant wildflower seeds (in the case of the 2019 Southern California Super Bloom, poppy seeds) causing them to bloom in numbers far greater than normal.

Cycling the Super Bloom - Lake Elsinore - aerial drone photo of road and poppy bloom


Ground level view of poppy Super Bloom on Hilltop Road, Lake Elsinore

Yahoo news feed:

About 150,000 people over the weekend flocked to see this year's rain-fed flaming orange patches of poppies lighting up the hillsides near the city of about 60,000 residents, about a 90-minute drive from either San Diego or Los Angeles.

Interstate 15 was a parking lot. People fainted in the heat; a dog romping through the fields was bitten by a rattlesnake.

A vibrant field of poppies lures Dorothy into a trap in the "Wizard of Oz" when the wicked witch, acknowledging that no one can resist their beauty, poisons the wildflowers and she slips into a fatal slumber until the good witch reverses the spell.  Yahoo News