26900 Walker Canyon Rd,.
Lake Elsinore, CA 92530
Dog-Friendly: Yes Kid-Friendly: Yes
This is a year-round hike that is most known for it’s burst of wildflowers in the Springtime. The Walker Canyon Ecological Reserve is 490 acres of mostly high desert sage-chaparral. Topography within the Reserve includes rough desert mountainous slopes with numerous rocky outcrops strewn throughout. Walker Canyon runs from the west to the southeast within the Reserve and provides seasonal water and riparian habitat along its drainage.
Personal Experience: I have held off on making this post literally for a year now but finally felt ready. This is the now infamous hike where my beloved dog, Sage, was attacked. I will share the story for those who do not know it:
We headed out here after hearing it was one of the top areas in Riverside County for seeing the flurry of wildflowers, aka the superbloom. When we arrived we were bombarded with a parade of people who had obviously heard the same thing! Girls in pretty dresses and heels, everyone taking selfies and photos of each other. It seemed like one of the *safest* hikes I could ever take my dog.
Our mistake was the desire to get away from the rush of people so we took a lower trail nobody else was taking. We were hopping stones along a creek bed and when we turned a corner where we were met with a man and woman and their two unleashed dogs. Within seconds the man warned us that his dogs were on high alert because they had just attacked a man last week. Moments later the first dog lunged for Sage and pulled her into the creek. I heard shrill noises come out of her that I had never heard before.
Panicking I immediately jumped in to rescue her while screaming for the man to get his dog. Seconds later their other dog jumped in and began attacking. At this point there were 5 of us rushing to save Sage’s life. Once we finally got the dogs off her she went bolting into the field away from us. I could see red on her white fur. It was hard to run fast because we had hop from rock to rock in a creek. Eventually we got her and rushed her to the animal hospital.
After multiple surgeries, what felt like endless anxiety and a 3 1/2 week hospital stay, I got my baby back. Many of you amazing people helped out with her Gofundme that my brother created to raise funds for her exorbitant vet bills and many others offered kind words of encouragement that kept me lifted above ground. Thank you to everyone that helped during one of the scariest moments of my life.
The two photos below are by my byddy over at Higher Perspective Aerials. Get 25% off their services if you mention Hidden San Diego:
It was shortly after this last photo was taken that the attack happened. Thankfully I got enough photos of the trip to create this page and share with you all.