Overtourism Shuts Down California’s Famous Daffodil Hill

Jul 19, 2019

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The family-owned McLaughlin’s Daffodil Hill — a field known for its vast array of yellow and white flowers outside of Sacramento, California in Amador County — will be closing to the public indefinitely due to unanticipated influx of social-media-driven visitors. The Hill had been a tourist destination for the past 80 years.

Visitors who came by to post on the ‘gram allegedly caused a severe overcrowding issue in the rural area. CNN reported that parking, traffic and environmental damage were all cited as issues by the Ryan family, who have owned the farmland for six generations, in their announcement on Facebook about the closure.

In the Facebook post, the Ryan family states that it was the landmark’s “overwhelming popularity” that ultimately led to the decision to shut it down. “This decision is the most difficult that we, as a family, have ever made,” the post reads. “The generations that came before us who purchased this property in 1887, which evolved into Daffodil Hill, could never have envisioned that their efforts would have ever grown into such a beloved attraction. Sadly, it is this that has led us to our decision to close.”

Response to the closure on social media has been generally sad, but supportive of the decision.

The Hill has always been a relatively popular tourist destination, with intense blooms of sometimes 300,000 daffodils that The San Francisco Chronicle called a “spectacle beyond comprehension.” Issues really started to arise on opening day this spring, when a crush of visitors bombarded the area causing immense traffic on the small county roads in the surrounding areas. Parking wait times reportedly exceeded two hours at one point, causing some guests to park illegally in spots that could block emergency vehicles from entering the property. Eventually, the California Highway Patrol sent out a dispatch for traffic control.

The Daffodil Hill shutdown is just the latest in a series of overcrowding-related closures and emergency situations in California. In March, the superbloom in Lake Elsinore attracted over 66,000 visitors. To save the poppies from selfie stick-wielding tourists and dogs in strollers, local authorities were forced to shut down “everything.”

The overtourism issue stretches to other parts of the world as well. Maya Bay in Thailand closed indefinitely after the influx of visitors over the past few years started to damage the ecological make-up of the beach; the Taj Mahal is timing and fining guests in an effort to reduce crowds and Amsterdam set an official ban on tours of the famous red-light district.

Featured image by Brandon Bourdages / Shutterstock.

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