Think Utahns aren’t passionate about their wildflowers? Think again. There are no fewer than four (FOUR!) Utah-centric apps specifically dedicated to identifying the little four-petaled lavender flower that sprung up by your tent overnight. (Check the apps out here, here, here, and here.) These apps are great for identifying obscure flowers and can even help you pronounce the wildflowers’ names, which is essential because they sound like the latest edition of Pokemon creatures: Zauschneria? Monkshood? Viscosissimum? Gotta catch them all!
And speaking of catching them all, this may be a good time to mention that it’s actually illegal to pick wildflowers on public land in Utah, so think before making that adorable delphinium chain.
If you’re ready to join the ranks of floral fanatics, check out these five hikes to get you started:
Hike the easy and flat 1.2 miles around Tony Grove lake for a good shot at enjoying some of the best northern Utah has to offer. Because of the high elevation, these flowers are late bloomers (literally), so the best time to catch them is in late July through early August. You’ll find the parking lot by heading left on the Tony Grove turnoff in Logan canyon.
Mom always said that the flowers are brighter when you’re sweating, so try hiking Mt. Timp to get your daily dose of daisies. Depending on how you do it, the hike is between 7 - 9 miles each way, and is accessible in mid-summer to early fall. On that note, even though April showers may bring May flowers, if you want to see the most flowers along the trail here, head out in late June or July. The pickings (NOT literally pickings, remember what we said about taking them home) include Chokecherrys, Columbines, Geraniums, Thimbleberries, Speckled Rockets, Tyedye Roses and more.
If you’re looking for the drive-through approach to wildflowers, check out the Mt. Terrill Flower Garden in Fish Lake National Park. You can see an amazing number of blossoms (called ‘forbs,’ if you’re on your wildflower A-game) with minimal effort: drive to the Mt. Terrill guard station, and hop out to hike around in the flowers up close.
If you’d rather get your floral info from a real live human and not from an app, head to Cedar Breaks National Monument for the Annual Wildflower Festival the first few weeks of July. Guided hikes are offered twice daily during the festival, so can geek out about wildflowers while hearing from the experts. If you’d prefer to go on the hike yourself, check out the the Alpine Pond Trail for sweeping meadows, forests, and a spring-fed pond.
Albion Basin is the Miss Universe of wildflower hikes in Utah. This short hike is family friendly and circles Cecret Lake (yes, it really is spelled that way. No, we don’t understand either). Enjoy the creme de la creme of Utah’s wildflower scene with the comfort of only 470 ft of climbing. It’s pretty ‘cuper.’ Trailhead: At the end of the summer dirt road beyond Alta Ski Resort.