Best Hikes in Colorado to See Wildflowers
There are fewer times in Colorado that are more special than wildflower season, where the entire landscape is carpeted with brilliant colors, blue skies, snowcapped mountains in the distance, and fields of emerging flowers of every hue as far as the eye can see. In the spring bloom, it’s an excellent time to explore the trails and have lunch between the fields of red, blue, yellow, and purple-coated meadows. From Rocky Mountain National Park to the Indian Peaks Wilderness, and the spectacular roads in between, there are particular hikes that we love, where we’re going to find the best color, the most spectacular fields of wildflowers, and breathtaking vistas. Here are our favorite hikes in Colorado to see wildflowers.
Boulder Wildflower Hikes
The lush plains around Boulder give way to fields of wildflowers stretching all the way to the Flatirons. Here are some of our favorite wildflower hikes around Boulder, Colorado.
Hiking Mt. Sanitas – Boulder
A local’s favorite for after-work hikes and long loved by trail runners, the trails around Mt. Sanitas explode with color after the long winter, as the Lions Lair trail, lined with grassy hillsides, erupts into wildflower color. Start in the Sanitas Valley meadow and see the carpets surrounding the peak with Indian paintbrush, cumbres, poppies, and columbines stretching out towards the hills. Flanked by the needles of pines on the peak, the flowers line the trails in many different hues, and especially on Boulder’s sunny days, give the city an entirely different kind of character. Hike anywhere from 2-4 miles with different combinations of difficulty and enjoy the one of a kind spring Colorado color.
Hiking Goshawk Ridge – Eldorado Canyon State Park
Set in the confines of the towering walls of Eldorado Canyon State Park, Goshawk Ridge rises through forests and meadows, with the Flatirons rising spectacularly in the background as a field of flowers stretches towards the canyons and mountains. While a shorter trail than most, Goshawk Ridge’s rolling hills through grassy plains make this an especially favorite trail for wildflower seekers. We’ll get to see a number of lilies, poppies, wild sunflowers, columbines, and bonanzas mixed between the emerging spring greenery, as we hike towards the canyon. Once in the canyon we’ll rise through the timberline where we’ll then get to a viewpoint where we’re overlooking the green hills beyond Boulder and the Indian Peaks and James Peak Wildernesses rising before us. This trail is one of Boulder’s quintessential wildflower hikes.
Hiking The Mesa Trail Boulder Co
Hikers who are looking for an easier option will enjoy the Mesa Trail, which stretches all the way from Eldorado Canyon and traverses rolling hills, grassy fields, and low grades trails back into the City of Boulder. With the Flatirons and Boulder’s peaks in the background, we’ll hike past brilliant fields of sunflowers, wild geranium, sunflowers, violets and chiming bells, stretching out towards the hills. The contrast of the wildflowers set against the snowy Indian Peaks makes for a wonderful photographic opportunity that is hard to find anywhere else. This is a great hike for those who want to take it easier, however combining with a number of Boulder’s other options, including climbing some of the nearby peaks, offer a vantage point with grassy, flower-laden hillsides, and views from high up above. With it’s vast views and easy flowing trails, the Mesa Trail makes for an excellent long day out, while still being close to the city.
Hiking Rocky Mountain National Park
The pride and joy of Colorado’s open spaces, Rocky Mountain National Park is filled with magnificent gems. Here are our favorite wildflower hikes of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Hiking Bear Lake to Nymph Lake
With its easy accessibility and wooded trails, Bear Lake is a local’s favorite for a short hike with spectacular views. On the way to Nymph Lake, and to Emerald Lake if hikers want to get higher, the trails from Bear Lake to Nymph Lake are filled with water lilies, as well as a symphony of brightly colored red, yellow, and purple carpets surrounding the shores. The contrast of the flowers with the thawing lakes, and big mountains behind, make for an unforgettable sight, especially on the cliff-side trails where flowers flank the side of the trail overlooking the valley below and the big peaks far in the distance. The trail’s short distance and easy hiking makes it an excellent option for families and children.
Hiking Ouzel Falls
The trail here is a little rockier, but the flowers are just as brilliant. As Ouzel Falls cascades into the creek, the wildflowers, including orchids and chickweed explode all around the trail. On the way, hikers will get to pass by a river and three other smaller waterfalls before reaching the main event. On the way up, towering granite peaks, woodlands, and grassy prairies stretching far into the Wild Basin valley flank hikers. While in the forests look for elk, deer, and moose, which frequently call these trails home. At the falls, look for gray colored birds called American dippers, which dive into the streams and waterways looking for food deep in the pools. Ouzel Falls is a must do for the best of flower-life and wildlife.
Rocky Mountain National Park Tundra Nature Trail
Driving to the top of Trail Ridge Road, hikers are met with sprawling prairies in every, which direction, with an alpine wonderland down below, and a meadow that stretches far, and a frequent home of mountain goats and bighorn sheep. Here, between the rocky outcroppings, the fields erupt into colorful high alpine flower landscapes, including marigolds, Indian paintbrush, and various kinds of lilies and orchids. For hikers who are looking to live their Sound of Music fantasies between big peaks and sprawling flower fields there is no better plays than this high alpine meadow wonderland. The dichotomy between snowy peaks in the late spring and early summer versus the grassy, colorful wildflower fields is one of the highlights of the changing seasons, and there’s no better way to celebrate the coming of summer than from the top of Trail Ridge Road.
We’d be happy to show you our colorful backyard. From the trails around Boulder to the sprawling alpine wonderland of Rocky Mountain National Park, we’ll choose a trail that matches your wants and abilities. Call 720 242 9828 to book your wildflower adventure today!