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

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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

Rated: Easy

0.8 mile out and back

Trail #9044

Elevation: Above 11,000 ft.

No Restrooms

Dog friendly

Family-friendly

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 

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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!

6.5 miles out and back

Elevation gain: 1,755ft.

Herman Lake sits at 11,987 ft.

Rated: Moderate

2 portable potties at the Trailhead

Open to leashed dogs, horses, bikes

Arapahoe National Forest

Nearest Town: Georgetown

The Colorado Columbine, The white and lavender Columbine; Aquilegia caerulea, was adopted as the official Colorado State Flower on April 4, 1899. NOTE: The Colorado Columbine is illegal to pick on public lands!

It’s Important to Stay Hydrated at High Altitudes in Colorado

SOLITUDE AND GORGEOUS WILDFLOWERS!

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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

Rated: moderate/strenuous

Portable restrooms

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).

Be prepared with the proper gear and clothing in Colorado. The weather is unpredictable and can change in minutes. > Day Hiker’s Checklist

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. 

North Hunter Creek – 8.9 miles

Rated: Moderate

Lower Hunter Creek Trail 1.7 miles

Rated: Easy

Running, MTB, hiking

Dog Friendly

Map of trails >CLICK HERE

WILDFLOWER CAPITAL of COLORADO

Crested Butte, CO

Crested Butte Wildflower Festival

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

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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

Kid Friendly

Located in: Arapaho National Forest 

OUTSTANDING HIKE to BLUE LAKES PASS

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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. 

Trail # 201

Rated: Strenuous

6.3 miles (first lake) – 12.5 miles out and back

Start elevation: 9350 ft.

Elevation: Upper Lake, 11,720 ft.

Elevation: Blue Lakes Pass: roughly 13,000 ft.

Closest Towns: Ridgway, Ouray

Mt. Sneffels Wilderness

Uncompahgre National Forest

.

EVER-CHANGING SCENERY!

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

8.2 miles out and back

Rated: Moderate

Elevation start: 10,780 ft. Across the tundra 11,879 ft. at the lake 11,293 ft,

Open to leashed dogs

No restrooms

Mt. Massive Wilderness

San Isabel National Forest

Nearest town: Leadville, CO

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. 

 

10 miles out and back

Rated: Strenuous

Trail # 2011

Elevation gain: 3,053 feet

Open to hiking, horseback, dogs on leash

Not open to mountain bikes

Popular for trout fishing in late summer – Colorado Fishing License

Parking: limited – another option: East Vail Free Shuttle

Eagles Nest Wilderness

RENT a 4-WHEEL DRIVE VEHICLE: One of the popular areas to see a colorful splendor of wildflowers in Colorado is within the > Alpine Loop – a rugged 4 WD road in the Beautiful San Juan Mountains. On my wish list! > Map of the Alpine Loop

Recommended: > American Basin Trail

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.

 

 

Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).

Can't wait to see you on the trail!

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