As California’s Explosive Superbloom Looms, Officials Beg “Don’t Doom The Bloom”

Seeing a superbloom is cool, but leaving no trace and not ruining it for others is cooler.


Rachael Funnell


Rachael Funnell

Digital Content Producer

Rachael is a writer and digital content producer at IFLScience with a Zoology degree from the University of Southampton, UK, and a nose for novelty animal stories.

Digital Content Producer

A gorgeous view of yellow and orange flowers as far as the eye can see as part of California's superbloom and how to view the superbloom responsibly

How to superbloom responsibly. Image credit: Cynthia L Lynch/

As California gears up for what experts are saying could be a "better than average" superbloom season, the first since 2019, state park officials are begging people to bloom responsibly. 

Getting out into nature has been scientifically proven to have a pivotal effect on our mental wellbeing as well as our physical health. It’s something that everyone should have access to and a right to explore, but sometimes – during spectacular and fleeting natural phenomena – human tourists in the great outdoors can become a problem.


One example of this is during superblooms where just the right combination of weather leads to an explosive blooming of wildflowers all at the same time. California is treated to superblooms of poppies as seeds that have sat dormant in the soil for years germinate and spring to life. It makes for an arresting scene as swathes of yellow coat the “Golden State” in ways that can be seen from space, but where things go wrong is when we all try to enjoy them at the same time.

The magnificent display and narrow window in which to enjoy superblooms has historically seen areas like Lake Elsinore suffer under the crush of tourism as an influx of visitors and their cars blocked up roads, preventing emergency vehicles from being able to get around. The rush of visitors also causes environmental damage as the habitat is trampled beneath hundreds of thousands of feet, and not everyone complies with signs about keeping off certain areas and not littering.

The poppy superbloom in California is not yet at the magnitude as seen in 2019, but if the right combination of rain, cool evening temperatures and a sufficient seed bank come together, the region could soon be ablaze with poppies once more. As such, authorities in Walker Canyon are taking steps to try and minimize the impact on the environment and local communities, including closing off public access to some superbloom areas.

“Many may recall in 2019 the poppy bloom here in Walker Canyon, became a local, state, national, and even international phenomenon,” said Mayor Natasha Johnson in a press conference. “The overwhelming number and unfortunate behavior of our visitors to Walker Canyon came at a cost that was way too steep for our residents and our wildlife.”

california superbloom
Unfortunately, previous superblooms have seen wild habitats trampled and plants ripped from the landscape. Image credit: Simone Hogan /

“Safety is our top concern, back in 2019 numerous safety incidents occurred on the trails and on our roadways[…] Disney-land-sized crowds were seeking to experience nature. They trampled the very habitat that they placed so high in regard and sought to enjoy," she continued.

“Many came unprepared and they placed an undue burden on the emergency responders and placed themselves and others at risk. We are working to keep the public safe, reduce unsafe traffic conditions and preserve this beautiful landscape for future generations.”

If you want to be a responsible visitor to a superbloom, there are a few basic rules to follow:

  • Don’t pick flowers, and try to avoid standing on any
  • Don’t dig up entire plants (it sounds obvious, but there are reports of this happening in 2019)
  • Stay on designated trails and don’t wander into fields
  • Don’t litter, and pick up any trash you see if it’s safe to do so
  • Donate to local organizations working to preserve the land

One of the worst aspects for Lake Elsinore was the crowding caused by increased traffic and disruption, which can be difficult to avoid if you’re traveling in from out of state by car. The good news is that superblooms happen across time and space (geographically speaking), and involve many different species, so we don't all have to rush at once.


As the California State Park Officials’ hashtag goes, #DontDoomTheBloom.


  • tag
  • environment,

  • superbloom