Wildflower hikes in Colorado leave you bursting with joy, witnessing the colors of the rainbow across alpine meadows. It’s a short season at the higher elevations where the best wildflowers are in July and early August.
I have hiked throughout Colorado all my life, and finding the best trails for wildflowers can be unpredictable year by year.
Below I compiled recent trails that left us enthralled over the past few seasons, with added ideas of where to go.
Plan your summer in Colorado’s spectacular mountains!
EASY PEASY TRAIL
Loveland Lakes Trail – Pass Lake & Lake Kaz
Find wildflowers with any effort at one of Colorado’s most beautiful spots. Loveland Lakes Trail is near the top of Loveland Pass and is breathtaking — a pleasant short hike with phenomenal views. Best time; July/early August
0.8 mile out and back
Elevation: Above 11,000 ft.
DID YOU KNOW? A free app for your phone called “SEEK” identifies plants & flowers and is fun to have. However, it only works if you are within cell service on your hike.
A HAVEN OF COLUMBINES
Herman Gulch Trail
Herman Gulch Trail is a heart-pumping hike through fields of wildflowers and landing at a crystal clear alpine lake surrounded by the Continental Divide Peaks.
The amount of Columbines dotting the alpine meadows was mind-boggling, leaving me giddy and excited! Our hike was in the middle of July … good luck!
The Colorado Columbine, The white and lavender
It’s Important to Stay Hydrated at High Altitudes in Colorado
SOLITUDE AND GORGEOUS WILDFLOWERS!
Cataract Gulch Trail
My first Pink Columbine Wildflower at Cataract Gulch Trail!
This hike has cascading waterfalls, dense forests, and abundant wildflowers. The flowers were flourishing everywhere.
In the backcountry, yet accessible by car, it’s the perfect hike for wildflower enthusiasts. Located near the picturesque town of Lake City. > Our trip to Lake City
Cataract Gulch – 4.5 miles out & back
Cataract Lake – 8.6 miles out & back
NOTABLE: Bear warning signs at the trailhead. Don’t leave food in your car, and bring > Bear Spray! (we did not see one, but better to be safe).
WILD, WOODLAND, WONDERFUL
Hunter Creek Trail
Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, CO, is a hiking, running, and mountain biking haven. A rocky dirt trail goes alongside beautiful Hunter Creek to Hunter Valley, where you find a mixture of meadows, aspens, and forests on single-track paths.
It is late in August for us, and the wildflowers are ending. However, you can envision how spectacular this must be in July/early August. I was enthralled with the abundant large bright red mushrooms.
WILDFLOWER CAPITAL of COLORADO
Crested Butte, CO
is an annual 10-day Festival offering over 200 workshops in wildflower expertise each July, be it painting, pollination, photography, culinary arts, or leading hikes into the wild.
We have not attended the Festival but have hiked several trails in July that are abundant in Wildflowers!
Not a hiker, try these easy trails near Crested Butte – Judd Falls and hike around Irwin Lake on Kebler Pass.
THREE FAVORITE HIKES in CRESTED BUTTE
Colorado Wildflower Guides!
PERFECT HIGH ALTITUDE BEGINNER TRAIL
Mayflower Gulch Trail
Mayflower Gulch Trail is a fantastic adventure in all seasons. After a mile of hiking among the tallest pines and a dense, deep green forest, you are above the tree line. The entire basin opens up before you with the historical remnants of the early 1800s Boston Mine scattered throughout beneath views of Mayflower Hill (elevation 12,389 ft), Pacific Peak (elevation 13,950 ft), and Fletcher Mountain (elevation 13,951 ft).
You can explore here or keep going on several trail options leading in all directions! Recommend July for wildflowers.
Boston Mine Camp, 1.8 miles, starts at 10,994′ and ends at 11,980′.
Gold Hill and across the top: approx: 4 miles out and back
Gold Crest Mine Site: approx: 3 miles out and back
Rated: easy to moderate
Open to: hiking, snowshoeing, nordic skiing, dogs, mountain bikes
Located in: Arapaho National Forest
OUTSTANDING HIKE to BLUE LAKES PASS
Blue Lakes Trail
There is nothing like a hike in the rugged beauty of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. Hiking Blue Lakes Trail was above and beyond our expectations. If you are looking for a trail that won’t disappoint? This is it! Our hike was in early Sept., and there were still a few sprinkles of wildflowers — if you can get here in July/early August, what a glorious wildflower trek this would be.
I always bring up Blue Lakes Trail as it is one of the most incredible hikes in Colorado.
Native Lake Trail
Native Lake Trail, near Leadville, CO, is one of Colorado’s bucket list hikes. We loved it. Dense pines and spruces, creek crossings lined with wildflowers, alpine tundra flora, and striking views of Mt. Massive and the Continental Divide.
We love Leadville, Co > Best Hikes in Leadville
WATERFALL & ALPINE LAKE!
Booth Falls & Lake Trail
Booth Lake Trail was strenuous and exhilarating, leaving us speechless when reaching the tree line. Beautiful from beginning to end with the bonus of popular 60′ Booth Falls. Try July for wildflowers! Otherwise, hike here in summer/fall to Booth Lake; it’s one of the prettiest trails in Colorado.
BEST TIME TO SPOT WILDFLOWERS
The real magic is in Colorado Alpine terrains at higher altitudes which host fields of color with a variety of gorgeous wildflowers.
At lower elevations, you begin to spot wildflowers in April and May. At higher elevations, like in the Rocky Mountains, and San Juan Mountains, wildflowers can be spotted mainly through July until late August.
From past hikes, we found the best times are in the middle of July! That being said, it changes every year.
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