A Southern California city was forced to temporarily ban tourists from visiting a golden poppy "Super Blossom" after creating a nightmare of security.
Lake Elsinore official closed Walker Canyon on Sunday, citing a "public security crisis" as visitor flopped flowers and traffic congestion.
The city with 66,000 inhabitants saw around 50,000 tourists on one weekend.
Social media could be behind the incident that began as #poppynightmare, authorities say.
After being overwhelmed by the massive onslaught of visitors from Friday to Sunday on an "unbearable" weekend, the official briefly closed access to the canyon on Sunday evening.
The Canyon reopened on Monday morning, however, officials said it was "not feasible for us to keep visitors away from Walker Canyon."
The rare occurrence, which usually occurs once per decade, came after a heavy rain season that had ended the state's seven years r drought
- Storms Lead to Spectacular Superbloom
- The One-of-a-Kind Superbloom of a Desert
A superblood also appeared in 201
"We have seen much larger crowds this year because the flowering is bigger than ever," said Nicole Dailey, assistant to the city manager of Lake Elsinore, to the BBC.
Ms. Dailey said that Lake Elsinore does not normally attract tourists, but Walker Canyon's coverage has made the proximity of Walker Canyon an ideal place for a glimpse of the Superblood.
"We're getting the crowd Los Angeles gets big sporting events," says Ms. Dailey. "Social media buzz has brought numbers that the city has never gone through."
In addition to the travel magazines highlighting Walker Canyon, Instagram has also contributed to chaos.
Influencers with large audiences shared photos of themselves in picturesque flower fields that were apparently untouched by tourists.
Mayor of Lake Elsinore, Steve Manos, described it was "crazy" in a post on Facebook.
"One of our employees was hit and run by a driver, a rattlesnake bit a visitor and the residents shouted for the people driving the traffic."
The city brought In all available staff as well as external traffic managers, who keep the situation on Saturday under control, instead they request a visit of the visitors during the week.
"People are causing chaos out there and we already had an injury," officials said on Instagram. "This is a public security crisis, so we ask for your support."
During the weekend, residents of Lake Elsinore faced up to three hours of traffic on their labor routes. Many expressed their frustration in social media with the hashtags #Isitoveryet and #HanginthereLE.
Next weekend, it is expected to rain in Lake Elsinore, which can be both good and bad news for the city.
It may discourage visitors from arriving, but more rain could mean more or longer flowering in the next few weeks.
In any event, Ms. Dailey said, "The city is preparing to reopen the path of alternative ways to reduce the impact of tourism on our community."