Colorado is a state of vibrant landscapes and thrilling beauty. This is true any time of year, but there’s something special about spring and summer when the state bursts into a brilliant array of colors. Colorado’s wildflower season attracts thousands of visitors each year—there’s even an annual wildflower festival to celebrate the gorgeously diverse plant life. From clusters of color along hiking trails to vast fields of handsome hues, you don’t want to miss this iconic season. Grab your camera, and make the most of your visit with this colorful guide to Colorado’s wildflower season.
When and Where to Go
Prime wildflower season varies, depending on where you go within Colorado. Lower elevations see their most vibrant colors during late spring and early summer. For higher elevations, July and August are the best months to visit. Fortunately, there are many incredible places to see wildflowers throughout Colorado’s national parks and hiking trails.
No guide to Colorado’s wildflower season would be complete without mentioning Crested Butte. This small Rocky Mountain town has earned the title of the Wildflower Capital of Colorado. Here you’ll find over 100 varieties of wildflowers—some of which stand at head height! While a variety of local trails are always at your disposal, the best time to visit is during the annual Crested Butte Wildflower Festival that takes place in July.
Colorado loves its scenic byways. Alpine Loop is a 63-mile stretch near Ouray that takes visitors through magnificent fields of wildflowers. You’ll also find glorious waterfalls and alpine lakes along the path. Even better, you’ll spend the entire drive appreciating a beautiful backdrop of the San Juan Mountains in the distance.
The Pawnee Buttes are two massive rock formations in Colorado’s Eastern Plains that attract visitors throughout the year. Here you’ll find Colorado’s proud assortment of plains and desert wildflowers. May and June are peak blooming times here, making it the perfect destination for anyone who can’t wait until late summer. Enjoy the sight of prickly pears, mountain cat’s eye, lavender-leaf sundrops, and more as you explore the rolling grasslands of northeastern Colorado.
Extra Tips for Success
As with any other part of Colorado’s natural beauty, it’s important to be smart and show respect when visiting the wildflowers. Stick to the trails, clean up after yourself, and refrain from picking flowers. While these beautiful blooms are beyond tempting, taking one for yourself means it won’t be there for others to admire. Thousands of people visit Colorado’s wildflowers fields every year; if everyone took a flower, the magnificence of this natural phenomenon would soon disappear. Collect souvenirs in the form of memories, pictures, and Colorado accessories from your favorite store instead.