Colorado Real Estate News

7 Amazing Wildflower Hikes in Colorado

Colorado Wildflower HikesWith summer peeking around the corner, our minds have turned to outdoor activities like wildflower hikes in Colorado. In the highest reaches of Colorado, summer is short. Which means wildflowers have only a brief period to show off. Peak wildflower viewing is typically between June and July when Colorado’s high country explodes with color. Here are 7 of the most beautiful wildflower hikes in Colorado that should be on your summer bucket list.

Ice Lake & Island Lake 

Where: San Juan Mountains near Silverton

Length: 8 miles out and back

If you want to see beautiful blooms and are up for a challenge, you will want to check out the double basins of Ice Lake and Island Lake. The longer hike will take you through aspen groves, beautiful meadows, a waterfall, stunning cliffs, and glaciers eroded in the rocks. The wildflower-filled slope is a must-see for adventure seekers. There is absolutely nothing boring about this hike and the view alone will make the trek worth it.

Arthur’s Rock Trail

Where: Lory State Park – Fort Collins

Length: 1.7 miles

While Lory State Park offers an abundance of hikes with flowers in bloom, this is one of the best wildflower hikes in Lory State Park. Although it’s a moderately trafficked trail, hikers will be surrounded by more than five dozen varieties of wildflowers. The trail weaves in and out of open meadows and forested areas, while a confetti of blooms peek in and out of incredible rock formations. At the top of this trail, hikers will be treated to a panoramic view of Fort Collins and the Front Range.

Willow Creek Trail

Where: Roxborough State Park

Length: 1.4 mile-loop

Roxborough Park is like entering into another world, a perfect escape just south of Denver. This gentle hike is a great introduction to the park – the red rock and wildlife combine to create a wonderful sense of beauty. In the spring, this birdwatcher’s paradise is awash with wildflowers. Remember to watch out for poison ivy on this trail!

Devil’s Thumb Lake

Where: Nederland

Length: 13.3 miles out and back

This hike begins at the Hessie Trailhead near Nederland. A breathtaking alpine escalation offers hikers spectacular views of the Continental Divide. While the full out and back hike is fairly long, you don’t need to hike all the way to the lake to experience a wonderful wildflower show. In late spring and early summer, hiking a stretch of this trail will ensure you see beautiful bluebells and wild purple columbines.

Trail 403

Where: Crested Butte

Length: 7.5 miles out and back

Crested Butte is known as the wildflower capital of Colorado, and for good reason. The hillsides and meadows surrounding this mountain town put on an amazing show with mule’s ear, lupines, and fireweed. This trail connects Washington Gulch to Gothic and allows you to take it all in. Climbing up over 11,300 feet, it also offers jaw-dropping views of the Elk Mountain to the north.

Herman Gulch

Where: Arapaho National Forest – Idaho Springs

Length: 6.4 miles out and back

The Herman Gulch Trail offers natural beauty with lush, green meadows sitting below snow-capped mountains. Yellow and red flowers bloom all over the valley as you hike beside views of the Continental Divide and climb to the shimmering green Herman Lake. This trail is very popular thanks to its impressive display of up to 100 different species of wildflowers alongside spectacular mountain views.

Gem Lake

Where: Estes Park

Length: 3.3 miles out and back

Gem Lake is one of Rocky Mountain National Park’s most popular trails. It starts out on Devil’s Gulch Road and climbs steeply across a mountain side to Gem Lake. This small, but gorgeous lake sits between granite cliffs in a fir and spruce forest at 8,860 feet. The trail and Gem Lake offer stunning views south toward 14,259-foot Longs Peak, the park’s resident fourteener. Hike it in summer for wildflower displays, including the rare Telesonix jamesii, a beautiful pink flower that grows in cracks above the lake.

Colorado Real Estate News

Planting Wildflowers in Your Garden

Plating WildflowersPlanting wildflowers can seem like a risk in landscaping. But there is a way to plant and organize them without them taking over your outdoor living area. Check out these tips for adding wildflowers to your landscaping in the Denver area.

Choose A Sunny Spot

Creating a sunny and meadow-like spot in your garden is an ideal place to grow wildflowers. Choose an area in your garden that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Consider a bare patch that has little irrigation. Wildflowers are hardy and able to survive in even the harshest conditions. Another idea is to create a row of wildflowers as a border between two spaces or even create an island of wildflowers. You can even use feathered wild grasses sporadically, creating a luxurious lawn to have to look like an uninhabited woodland area.

Plant After Frost

Any time after the last Colorado frost is a great time to sow wildflower seeds. The seeds usually germinate quickly and can grow in warm weather after the danger of frost has passed. New patches of seeds will need some light watering a few times a week until they take hold. Choose one type of seed for a patch of the same colored flowers. Or consider using a variety mix that will create an interesting and diverse look in your garden.

Be Prepared For Losses

If you have a lot of fluttering activity in your neighborhood, don’t be surprised when birds decide to feast on newly thrown wildflower seeds. Neighborhood squirrels, rabbits, and chipmunks may also decide to stop by a freshly sown wildflower patch for some food. Consider lightly sowing seeds into the dirt, no more than 1/16”, in order to minimize the risk of losing your entire wildflower patch to area birds and wildlife.

Choose Native Wildflowers

There are plenty of wildflower mixes available, but choosing those wildflowers that already do well in the Denver climate will help to create a balanced outdoor living area. Popular Denver wildflowers include Scarlet Paintbrush, Bittercress, and Alpine Sunflowers. Using native wildflower varieties will keep your outdoor living space in tune with the environment as well as support local pollinators that thrive on wildflower nectar.

Choose Annual or Perennial

Most Denver homeowners are reluctant to plant wildflowers in their garden due to the thought that they will take over the entire yard. This is a valid point as many perennial wildflowers will do their best to spread out over a few years. However, planting annual wildflowers is a good way to keep your garden looking tidy as the flowers will only last one season. Planting a row of annual wildflowers is a great way to see if you like the look of wildflowers in your garden. And it gives you the chance to change the variety year after year.

Adding wildflowers to your garden is important in helping to support the local environment. Choose annual wildflowers to begin with if you want to add them in a concentrated or small area. Other homeowners may choose to fill in a bare patch of their garden with a meadow of wildflowers. Plant seeds after the last frost and be prepared for some losses to neighborhood wildlife. Enjoy the natural beauty of wildflowers in your outdoor living area for a naturally luscious garden.