Californians saying goodbye to wildflower super bloom

The wildflower super bloom that brought magnificent swaths of color and hordes of lookie-loos to California is coming to an end.

The city of Lake Elsinore on Monday declared, with more than a little relief, that the super bloom is nearly over, with the hillsides fading from orange to green as poppies drop their petals and begin to wither.

The poppies are no longer visible from Interstate 15, so visitors now have to hike more than a mile to see what’s left of the flower display, city officials said.

“We survived the poppy apocalypse!” the city posted on its Instagram page.

“The Super Bloom has been unlike any event we have ever experienced before,” Mayor Steve Manos said in a news release. “The extreme beauty of our hillsides that drew attention from around the world is now diminishing quickly, and our residents sure are eager for things to get back to normal.”

The flowers could be seen from space, but thousands of people came to Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore to get a closer look.

The spectacle was so popular that authorities at one point restricted access to Walker Canyon because tourists were jamming traffic, crushing flowers and overflowing toilets.

Just 4,658 visitors used the Walker Canyon shuttle last weekend, down from 12,062 the prior weekend, city officials said.

Flower fans can still get their super bloom fix in other parts of the state, though.

Blooms at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, in Los Angeles County, are expected to continue through April, officials there said.

They urged visitors to stay on the trails to avoid crushing the delicate flowers and to leave dogs, bikes and drones at home.

A couple last month landed a helicopter in the reserve to skip the lines. That was illegal.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park officials say the big show is winding down there, too, though wildflowers are still blooming in some spots.