Lake Elsinore in southern California had to close its gates after 150,000 people flooded the area on Sunday to see its famous flaming orange poppies.
Local officials of the small city, with only 60,000 residents, called the influx of people “unbearable”, forcing them to close Walker Canyon to visitors.
They said: “We know it has been miserable and has caused unnecessary hardships for our entire community.”
The area is famous for its “super bloom” which only occurs around once every 10 years.
The bloom requires wet but warm weather to produce bold orange poppies.
Officials say that visitors at the viewing areas were deviating from designated trails, climbing over fences and picking and trampling the flowers – all in an effort to get the perfect Instagram snap.
Mayor Steve Manos said the weekend “was insane, absolutely insane” and described it as a “poppy apocalypse”.
Stephen Kim, a photographer who visited the site early on Sunday morning, said he saw “so much garbage”, and made an effort to pick up water bottles on his walk.
Mr Kim said: “You see this beautiful pristine photo of nature but then you look to the left and there’s plastic Starbucks cups and water bottles on the trail and selfie sticks and people having road rage because some people were walking slower.”
Visitors battled traffic to get to the site with cars backing up for miles.
While there, visitors took pictures, made video calls and even sent up drones to admire the natural phenomenon.
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