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Jill Sanford | 04.11.2017

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Joshua Tree National Park are incredible, but if you time your visit wrong, you might see as many people as wildflowers. The California super blooms are iconic in their beauty, but they are also becoming more and more popular with each passing year.

If you are setting out to see some wildflowers this spring and early summer and are interested in a more solitary experience with nature, consider some of the places on this list as alternatives. The West is full of stunning wildflowers this time of year that offer stunning views without the crowds that the California deserts are becoming increasingly known for.

  • The Columbia River Gorge, Oregon and Washington: Check out the eastern wall of the Columbia River Gorge and soak in the huge hillside meadows filled with balsamroot and various types of flowering buckwheat. We suggest Tom McCall Point in Oregon and Coyote Wall in Washington. Other wildflower hotspots are Dog Mountain and the Mosier Plateau, but those are more apt to attract crowds. 
  • Rainier National Park: In the Northwest you will have a little more time than in warmer zones to see the early summer wildflowers. This is especially true this year since the heavy snowpack won’t be completely gone for at least another month. Take the Paradise Loop at Mount Rainier or hike to less visited alpine lakes and peaks, like Dewey Lake and Anderson Lake.
  • Trinity Alps, California: This mountain range in the Shasta Cascade region is great for wildflower hikes because it blooms long into the summer. You can hike along the Four Lakes Loop and expect to see wildflowers as late as September.
  • Wind River Range, Wyoming: For a classic wildflower destination that gets you off the West Coast, check out the iconic Wind River Range. In addition to the serrated peaks, alpine lakes, and granite walls, there are also colorful wildflowers that bloom. Take the The Cirque of the Towers trail, which is located in the southeast sector of this range.
  • Kauai, Hawaii: If you want to take the wildflower exploration to the next level, then consider a tropical adventure to take in the rich, dark reds and bright yellows of Hawaii’s native plants. The Iliau Nature Trail near Waimea is a short trail, but it gets you up close and personal with a variety of exotic plants that are native to the islands.


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