Colorado's Best Wildflower Hikes: The Front Range
For centuries, hunter-gatherers knew and appreciated Rabbit Mountain. Natural springs, plentiful game, edible plants, and encompassing views for security drew nomadic tribes here. Hikers today can follow in the footsteps of those early Native Americans who found many of the 60 or more wildflower species useful as well as beautiful. In the 1,500 acres of Rabbit Mountain Open Space, Eagle Wind’s 3.75-mile loop takes in flowery reaches and four-direction views as it ascends to travel along the west flank of an undulating hogback, crosses a saddle, and then heads north before turning west back to the parking area.
An early-morning hike on Eagle Wind Loop focuses light on the Continental Divide, while a late-afternoon hike throws long ponderosa-spiked shadows out across the plains and may feature the howl of coyotes. Late afternoon is also a time to watch out for approaching thunderstorms. As with many foothills areas, rattlesnakes make their homes here and may be above ground as long as the weather is warm—in fact, Rabbit Mountain was once called Rattlesnake Mountain. Wildflower alert: Myriad spring bloomers highlighted by fuchsia-colored prairie verbena and velvety purple skullcap.