Springtime brings a sense of new beginnings and new life as flowers begin to bloom and fill the air with their sweet and pleasant fragrance. Luckily we can see wildflowers all summer long, since spring hits at different times throughout North America. See flowering cactus in Joshua Tree, California, in April, flame azaleas in the Smokey Mountains in June, and Columbines through August in Colorado.
Lost Palms Oasis Trail in Joshua Tree National Park
The spring bloom in Joshua Tree National Park takes place from March through May and is considered a must-see event. People often think of the desert as a barren and lifeless place, but the Lost Palms Oasis Trail will change that belief.
The 7.5-mile roundtrip hike takes you through sandy washes and rolling hills lined with blooming cactus and flowering desert plants in the spring. Expect to see desert dandelions and poppies, Mojave aster, phacelias, and blooming claret cup and hedgehog cactus. Hike as little or as far as you want and make sure to bring your camera and plenty of water.
Green Gardens Trail in Gros Morne National Park
Located on the west coast of Newfoundland, the Gros Morne National Park has some of the best wildflowers, geologic scenery and wildlife viewing in all of Canada. The Green Gardens Trail leads to volcanic cliffs and sea caves with great wildflower viewing during June and August. Keep an eye out for lady's slipper, orchids and harebells. Pick up the Green Garden Trail brochure at the visitor center.
Gregory Bald Trail in the Smokey Mountains
Gregory Bald is a mountain on the western edge of the Great Smokey Mountains, located along the Tennessee and North Carolina Border. The Gregory Bald Trail is world famous for the flame azalea shrubs that bloom in June. Every imaginable color of azaleas carpets the ridgeline from whites and yellows to oranges, reds and fuchsias. Begin the hike at the Gregory Ridge Trailhead in Smokey Mountain National Park.
Mount Ellinor Trail in Olympic National Park
Mount Ellinor is the most easily accessible peak in Washington's Olympic National Park. The 3-mile hike to the summit from the upper trailhead has panoramic views of Puget Sound as well as excellent views of sub-alpine wildflowers in the spring and summer. Expect to see Pacific rhododendrons, Peiper's bellflowers, Flett's violet, Jeffrey's shooting star and wandering daises.
You don't have to hike to the summit to view the wildflowers. However, the most impressive flower meadows are located just below the final pitch to the summit, which should only be attempted by experienced climbers.
Upper Loop Trails in Crested Butte, Colorado
Crested Butte is known as the Wildflower Capital of Colorado, so you really can't go wrong with any of the trails on Mt. Crested Butte. Hike through meadows of glacier lilies, larkspur, lupines, mule's ears, and columbine during June and July in the Upper Loop Trails. Join in on the Crested Butte Summer Wildflower Festival in July for guided hikes, photography classes and workshops. Also hike West Maroon Pass for some of the best wildflower viewing in Colorado.