The birds are chirping, the sun is shining and the mountains are calling. Spring is finally here, which means that our favorite trails and hillsides are being painted by the striking colors of the country’s most captivating wildflowers and spring flowers.
East Coast locations like Washington, DC are known for spectacular cherry blossoms. The PNW houses magnificent tulips and alpine wildflowers in the mountains, and southern regions like Texas have beautiful bluebonnet displays. If you’re in the Southwest, California has amazing desert blooms, poppies and other various wildflowers.
That said, we’ve picked out some quality spots across the country to get your fix of your favorite outdoor playground adorned in pretty colors.
Mount Rainier National Park, WA
This vast park in Washington encompasses the notoriously active volcano and is chock full of picturesque views of snow-capped peaks. Head down into Paradise Meadow to get a fix of bog orchids, bleeding hearts, bell flowers and cinquefoils. This alpine wonderland is home to hundreds of wildflower species of differing bloom periods, meaning there’s a higher chance of you catching several different species now matter how late into the season you visit. While Washington battles rainy climates well into summer seasons, popping in around July will yield a spectacle of colors. Violets, blues, yellows and pinks flourish in each and every direction and are different from what you’ll see in the rest of the country. There’s no shortage of lupines, paintbrush, daisies and glacier Lilies. The Mount Rainier National Park website posts weekly updates on what’s in bloom, see more information here.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA
While California’s infamously hopeful “Superbloom” doesn’t look like it’ll be a thing this year, despite the increased rainfall, the Anza-Borrego Desert Park is still home to tons of wonderful indigenous plants. It’s said that evening primrose and sand verbena will poke in and out of sprawling fields of parish poppies and hairy desert sunflowers. We recommend staying tuned with Desert-USA for bloom updates. Coyote Canyon via Henderson Canyon Road will yield stunning drive-by views of prime wildflowers among the hills and fields. The Visitor’s Center is also a wonderful resource to stop by and get some more info and where to get the best views. This park is also a day trip away from San Diego.
Big Bend National Park, TX
The most extravagant displays for bluebonnets in texas can be found in popular tourist attractions like The Bluebonnet Trail in Ennis, TX and Bluebonnet festival. However, for more natural landscapes tinted with the lovely bluebonnet shade of blue (closer to purple, to be frank), we recommend visiting Big Bend. Texas lupines and bluebonnets paint the roadsides and bouncing foothills, and with cooler temperatures this early in spring, it’s the perfect opportunity for a road trip. However, the purple soon turns to yellow once May swings around, as their bloom schedule can be finicky and is entirely dependent on the previous season. Stay up to date with the Hill Country Portal.
Shenandoah National Park, VA
Mountain laurel blossoms speckle and spray the Shenandoah National Park mountainsides in varying hues of white to deep pink. Festooned with the charm of a newfound season, these blooms usually begin in late May and peak in June, when you can also catch vibrant trillium and columbine peeking through. In the park’s Central District, there are tons of easy and accessible trails packed with fresh blooms with benches to stop and take in the views, like the Limberlost Trail. Even along Skyline Drive there are booming blossoms adorning the sides of the roads, truly leaving no shortage of sights to see at Shenandoah. The National Parks Service site has you covered and what to see and where in the region.
Picacho Peak State Park, AZ
It may take you by surprise to learn that Arizona made this list for a place to find solid spring flowers, however vibrant desert gardens and the long list of botanical gardens suggest otherwise! The Arizona poppy, otherwise known as summer poppy, is a fiery golden-orange and yellow flower that lights up the otherwise arid fields. The Picacho Peak State Park is but a day trip away from Tucson or Phoenix, coincidentally being halfway between the two cities. It features campgrounds and trails to choose from, letting you take in the flowers from the comfort of a campsite or mosey through the open paths.
Depending on where you’re visiting first, it’s bound to be a hot one. Nobody likes the feel of a heavy, sweaty cotton shirt weighing us down as we try to take in all of that natural glory. This is why American Backcountry makes some of the lightest, most comfortable moisture-wicking hiking shirts on the market. The best part? Each one features its own unique art, letting you bring the spirit of the outdoors anywhere you go. Be sure to stock up in time for summer!