The 8 Best Wildflower Hikes in Colorado

Posted on June 15, 2017 by Sarah Welle | 0 Comments

Wildflower season in Colorado is a spectacular event, and one well worth planning around so you can enjoy it fully, which is why we've rounded up the 8 best wildflower hikes in Colorado to help with your game plan. They range from easily accessible and short (perfect to enjoy with the kids and a picnic lunch!) to far-flung and challenging, but utterly worth every bit of effort. Keep in mind that wildflower blooms begin in June at lower elevations, typically peak in July, and then continue on through early August in higher elevations. 

1. Gold Hill Trail

This hike is a short and sweet jaunt, an easy 1.4 mile out and back, with a huge wildflower payoff. Reports of up to 50 types of wildflowers blooming along this trail make it truly special, due in part to clear cuts aimed at forest fire mitigation. The location is accessible as well; the trailhead is just off of I-70 near Frisco!

Location: Near Frisco, off I-70

Bloom Time: June to August

Trail Guide: https://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=HGR207-018

Wildflower near Frisco at Gold Hill Trail

Image Source: protrails.com

2. Herman Gulch

This trail is super popular thanks to its impressive display of up to 100 different species of wildflowers alongside spectacular mountain vistas! This trailhead is also located just off of I-70, so it's easy to get to from the Front Range. Once there you'll enjoy a 6.8 mile out and back trail, with plenty of blue columbine in mid to late June. Late July is typically considered peak bloom time. 

Location: Near Silverplume

Bloom Time: mid-June (blue columbine) to August. Peak is late July, when you can see 100 species of wildflower

Trail Guide: https://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=HGR188-040

Wildflowers at Herman Gulch Trail, Colorado

Image Source: Vicki Devine/Flickr via onlyinyourstate.com

 

3. Rustler Gulch

This is a big trail - 8 miles out and back - and every bit of it is filled with dazzling wildflower displays. It's no wonder, because this trail is located in the heart of the Wildflower Capital of Colorado, Crested Butte. This is definitely one of Colorado's premier places to wade through wildflowers! 

Location: Crested Butte

Bloom Time: Late June through August. Peak is late July, when you can see 114 species of wildflower

Trail Guide: https://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=HGR207-025

 Colorado Wildflower hike at Rustler Gulch

 Image source: travelcrestedbutte.com

4. Devil's Thumb Lake

Beginning at the Hessie Trailhead near Nederland, it's a 5.5 mile hike to Devil's Thumb Lake. The good news is that you don't need to make it all the way to the lake to take in a great wildflower show. At 0.85 miles you'll hit the Devil's Thumb Bypass, which is where the trail hits the South Fork of the Middle Boulder Creek. From there you'll pass through meadowland with braided streams, abundant wildflowers, and aspens. Keep going all the way to Devil's Thumb Lake if you're up for it, or just hang out and have a picnic in the wildflower filled meadow, then turn back. 

Location: Near Nederland

Bloom Time: Late June through August

Trail Guide: http://www.protrails.com/trail/48/indian-peaks-wilderness-area-devils-thumb-lake

Wildflower Hike @ Devil's Thumb Lake

5. Little French Gulch Trail

This 4.6 mile out-and-back trail is a local favorite in Breckenridge. Dogs are welcome on the trail, and the difficulty level is moderate. One thing to remember is that it's the second half of the hike where you'll see beautiful wildflowers, so don't give up and turn back early or you'll miss out! 

Location: near Breckenridge

Trail Guide: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/little-french-gulch-trail

Wildflower Hike near Breckenridge

6. Palmer Trail Loop

This one is a very popular (read: sometimes crowded) 5 mile loop trail near Colorado Springs, along forested hills just to the west of Garden of the Gods park. You'll climb some steep switchbacks at first then be rewarded with great views from the top. Wildflowers are abundant, and due to the lower elevation you may be able to start seeing them as early as June. Dogs and horses can also use this trail.

Location: near Colorado Springs

Trail Guide: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/palmer-trail

Wildflowers on Palmer Loop Trail

Image Source: Cat Gonnering via alltrails.com

7. Willow Creek Trail

This great trail, a gentle 1.4 mile loop, is easily accessible from Denver, right within Roxborough State Park. A birdwatcher's paradise that's filled with wildflowers in the spring - entering this state park truly feels like an escape. Remember to watch out for poison ivy! No dogs, horses, or pets allowed in the park.

Location: near Denver

Trail Guide: http://dayhikesneardenver.com/willow-creek-trail-roxborough-state-park/

Wildflower Hike @ Willow Creek Trail near Denver

 Image courtesy of dayhikesneardenver.com

8. Ice Lake and Island Lake

The trail leading up to this gorgeous alpine lake is arguably one of the prettiest hikes in the state. The water is a shocking shade of blue, thanks to tiny rock particles suspended in the water. This trail isn't easy - it's long and arduous, but the entire journey is lovely and you'll be rewarded with Ice Lake before you hit Island Lake. In late July you'll experience wildflowers in the meadows surrounding both lakes.

Location: near Silverton

Trail Guide: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g33646-d212550-Reviews-Island_Lake-Silverton_Colorado.html

Island Lake - amazing Colorado wildflower hike

Island Lake - image courtesy of Hank Blum Photography https://www.instagram.com/hankblumphotography/

Island Lake - Colorado wildflower hike

Image source: tripadvisor.com via Jason Hatfield


 

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