Stunning 'super bloom' of wildflowers draws huge crowds in Southern California

Thanks to an unusually wet winter, a "super bloom" of wildflowers in Southern California has created stunning hillside scenes. But officials in one town say the crowds have become a problem.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

An unusually wet winter has created a "super bloom" in Southern California with scenery so stunning it's stopping traffic.

Locals and tourists alike have been flocking to Riverside County and elsewhere to grab that perfect Instagram shot of hillsides filled with brightly colored desert flowers.

Wildflowers bloom among the charred remains of chaparral brush in Lake Elsinore, California, sparked by abundant winter rains. Getty Images

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Hillsides in places like Lake Elsinore, about an hour southeast of Los Angeles, have been inundated with tourists eager to see the beautiful golden poppy fields.

People visit a super bloom of wild poppies blanketing the hills of Walker Canyon near Lake Elsinore. Getty Images
Visitors walk through poppy fields during a 'super bloom' in Lake Elsinore. Getty Images

While the "super bloom" has led to some amazing photos, it also has become a headache for Lake Elsinore.

The town has been overwhelmed by what it called "Disneyland size crowds" in a Facebook post, with traffic often backed up for miles.

"People are creating chaos out there and we have already had an injury,'' city officials wrote on Facebook. "This is a public safety crisis so we ask your support."

That still hasn't deterred people from making a trip to see the beauty for themselves.

It got to the point that Lake Elsinore officials shut down access to Walker Canyon on Sunday due to the crush of tourists, writing on Facebook that this weekend was "unbearable" in Lake Elsinore.

"We will evaluate all options next week including ways to shut this down,'' city officials wrote. "We know it has been miserable and has caused unnecessary hardships for our entire community."