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Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers

04.26.17

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Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
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  • Avalanche lily (Erythronium montanum) grows on the hike to Dewey + Anderson Lakes.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Sunrise on Mount Rainier (14,409 ft) while backpacking to Dewey + Anderson Lakes.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Incredible views along the Maple Pass Loop.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • The view into the eastern end of Seven Lakes Basin on the High Divide Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Wildflowers blanket the fields above Heart Lake on the High Divide Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Wildflowers alongside a mountain stream at High Camp on the slope of Mount Adams (12,281 ft).- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • High Camp ground cover.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Western pasque flower (Anemone occidentalis) on the trail to Goat Lake.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • An off-trail traverse en route to Goat Lake.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Western white clematis (Clematis ligusticifolia) on the trail to Burnt Lake.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • A wildflower-lined trail on the climb to the summit of Zigzag Mountain.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Wildflowers blanket the fields on the trail to Yocum Ridge.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Magenta paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora) in Jefferson Park.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Jefferson Park.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Wildflowers thrive by the spring melt in Broken Top Crater's lake.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • The top of the ridge just south of Broken Top Crater provides excellent views of the Three Sisters.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Glacier lily (Erythronium grandiflorum) on the Elkhorn Crest Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Approaching Angell Pass on the Elkhorn Crest Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Mount Tallac Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Mount Tallac Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Western pasqueflower in upper Long Canyon on the Four Lakes Loop.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Wildflower displays along the Sierra Buttes Trail. - Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Sierra Buttes Trail. - Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Lupine-filled wildflower meadow with Cathedral Peak behind.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Sierra lupine (Lupinus grayi) in Sequoia National Park.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • A backcountry camp at Middle Big Five Lake.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Subalpine meadows on the Ring Lake Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Indian paintbrush on the Ring Lake Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Vibrant fall colors nearing the treeline below Brew Lake.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Brew Hut.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Alpine wildflowers at Wedgemount Lake.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Wildflowers in the valley just above Lake Magog.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Endless mountain peaks above the vibrant Marvel Lake.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Nearing the top of the Skywalk Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) and aspen frame the view of the peaks above Fishook Creek.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Horstmann Peak (10,475 ft) and the Sickle Couloir from the Alpine Way Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • The flower displays along the southern edge of Elizabeth Meadow change as the summer progresses. Here is a late June bloom of Mountain shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi).- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Later in July the common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Rydberg's penstemon (Penstemon rydbergii) come out in Elizabeth Meadow.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • The wildflowers along the old Eureka Gulch road are stunning in August.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Elephant head (Phyllodoce empetriformis) in Eureka Gulch.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • July wildflowers decorate the south facing hillsides near the saddle below Picket Mountain.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • The first light creeps into the South Fork of the Payette River from the summit of Pickett Mountain.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Scarlet paintbrush (Castilleja miniata) at Everly Lake.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Flowers on the shore of Everly Lake with Elk Peak in the background.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • A majestic display of wildflowers below Dromedary, Sunrise, and Twin Peaks on the Broads Fork Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Sunrise Peak, also known as O'Sullivan's Peak, on the Broads Fork Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • The last of the wildflowers still growing mid-August at Lake Blanche.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Wildflowers and Mount Tuk in the large meadow on the way to Mount Peale's summit.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • South Mountain from the saddle of Mount Peale. Flowers up here have only a very short summer in which to bloom.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Camping in the alpine realm on Delano Peak.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Granite boulders and a sea of flowers on Catherine's Pass Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • A female ruby-throated hummingbird on Catherine's Pass Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • A male blue grouse performing a mating call on Catherine's Pass Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Golden banner (Thermopsis montana) fills the meadows on the Crags Crest Trail.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Ascent up Fancy Pass.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Alpine traverse along a wildflower-filled slope on the Fancy Pass, Missouri Lakes Loop.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Wildflowers along the creek feeding Lake Isabelle.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Pawnee Pass (12,550 ft).- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Rocky Mountain Columbine (Aquilegia saximontana) below Redcloud Peak.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • The traverse from Redcloud Peak to Sunshine Peak.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
  • Beautiful views along the Zirkel Circle.- Incredible Hikes for Alpine Wildflowers
Article
Team

As the snows that blanket the higher elevations of the West melt and the ground thaws in spring and summer, a blanket of wildflowers begins to bloom. Beargrass sprouts its tall, bulbous stem full of small, white flowers. Purple fireweed grows rampantly through the charred remains of recent forest fires. On open, grassy slopes, the bright yellow blossoms of arrowleaf balsamroot carpet a hillside for a brief moment in time. At every elevation in the mountains of the West, wildflowers bloom from early spring to late summer and bring these amazing landscapes to life. Animals come for the fruits and bees for the pollen, collecting and propagating what they can before the cold and snow returns.

As a rule of thumb, follow the last melt of snow in higher elevations and the wildflowers aren't far behind. But there are a few places where these blooms are especially beautiful, where you can camp beside a high mountain lake and take in the fresh alpine air while tromping through fields of flowers and grasses. Here are five such places per state and province in the West that from early summer to early fall will be a great place to go hiking when the flowers are in bloom.

Washington

Wildflowers on the High Divide Trail. Photo by Heron Marychild.

Oregon

Magenta paintbrush in Jefferson Park. Photo by Tyson Gillard.

California

Wildflowers bloom on the Sierra Buttes Trail. Photo by Aron Bosworth.

British Columbia

Wildflowers in the valley above Lake Magog. Photo by Daniel Sherman.

Idaho

Lupine blankets the summit of Picket Mountain in late July. Photo by Matt Leidecker.

Utah

A ruby-throated hummingbird in spring on Catherine's Pass Trail. Photo by Kyle Jenkins.
  • Broads Fork Trail in the Wasatch Mountains. Wildflowers bloom in late spring and early summer.
  • Lake Blanche Trail in the Wasatch Mountains. Wildflowers bloom in late spring and early summer.
  • Mount Peale in the La Sal Mountains. Wildflowers bloom in July and August.
  • Delano Peak in the Tushar Mountains. Wildflowers bloom in late spring and early summer.
  • Catherine's Pass Trail in the Wasatch Mountains. Wildflowers bloom in late spring and early summer.

Colorado

Golden Banner carpets the meadow on the Crags Crest Trail. Photo by Denis LeBlanc.
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