The hot, dry hillsides of Southern California are normally covered in drab desert scrub. But some of them harbor a colorful secret: millions of flowers that wait for the perfect conditions to bloom.
Over the past month, the just-right combination of ample rain from December and stable cooler temperatures arrived in Walker Canyon, which is about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles. This triggered a "super bloom" of dazzling orange poppy flowers that the area typically sees only once every 10 years.
Hordes of tourists have since descended upon the nearby city of Lake Elsinore, filling the roads with traffic and stuffing the hillsides with people who are trying to get a perfect Instagram selfie with the flowers.
Meanwhile in space, the bursts of orange color — and miles' worth of cars — are so dense that the WorldView-2 satellite owned by DigitalGlobe easily spotted the scene from about 480 miles above the planet.
"DigitalGlobe collected a new set of images yesterday (March 19th) of the 'Superbloom' near Lake Elsinore, California," a company representative told Business Insider in an email.
"The colorful satellite imagery shows the hillsides along Walker Canyon filled with blooming poppies as well as hundreds of cars parked nearby and people hiking along trails in the area."
The photo taken by WorldView-2, which launched in October 2009, shows an overview of Walker Canyon (top) and Lake Elsinore (bottom).
Zooming into the trail-head people can be seen as small dots walking up the hills and toward patches of flowers.
Northwest of the trail, and a couple of miles west of the city of Perris, California, the orange-poppy super bloom appears especially lush with flowers.
The bloom — and the surge of interest and visitors it has inspired — is expected to last about one more week, according to Conde Nast Traveler.
By Dave Mosher, Business Insider