Wildflower planning advice

Colorado peak questions, condition requests and other info.
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markoboston
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Wildflower planning advice

Post by markoboston » Fri May 07, 2021 6:59 pm

Hi folks. I'm planning a trip to Colorado (again) this year. I've never managed to be there during wildflower season and would like to experience that, preferably not in a place totally overrun by people. (It's Colorado, and I expect to see other hikers, but I'd rather not be surrounded by them most of the time.) I'm also looking for some hiking, mostly on trails, with good vistas. Considering the snowpack this year, which area would you recommend and what time of year would you recommend to see alpine wildflowers at their peak? I've seen lots of web pages mentioning Crested Butte, so I definitely do not want to go there, along with everyone else. Can anyone offer suggestions? I'm fairly fit, and I adjust to the altitude fairly well. I'm not sure if my back is going to be able to handle an air mattress, so I think I'm looking mainly for day hikes but can definitely handle 3,000 feet of elevation gain and 10 or mile miles of walking. Thanks in advance!
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Wentzl
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Re: Wildflower planning advice

Post by Wentzl » Fri May 07, 2021 7:46 pm

Wetterhorn basin, between Coxcomb and Wetterhorn, late July.

Also Grouse Gulch approach to Handies, from Silverton, also late July.
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markoboston
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Re: Wildflower planning advice

Post by markoboston » Sat May 08, 2021 2:06 pm

Hey, thanks. Actually, I was in Wetterhorn Basin last September. The San Juans are gorgeous, but I was hoping to try someplace a little farther east (but not as far east as the Front Range) if anyone else has any suggestions.

(When I finish my hiking vacation, I have to drive back to Massachusetts, and the extra distance from the San Juans last year added a day to the drive.)

Thanks in advance.
Omatt89
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Re: Wildflower planning advice

Post by Omatt89 » Sat May 08, 2021 8:18 pm

Others will speak to their expertise, which I have little of, not a giant snow pack this year so we should see flowers sooner, I'd say July is best month to catch um all full bloom. Vail might be an obvious tourist spot , but for good reason. Beautiful flowers around their and close access right off the highway. Crested butte way less populated but further out of the way. The other place I don't think you can go wrong is driving Indy pass (82) from Leadville to Aspen. Or do any 13er hike that starts down low. Good luck have fun
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Sbenfield
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Re: Wildflower planning advice

Post by Sbenfield » Sat May 08, 2021 10:49 pm

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thebeave7
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Re: Wildflower planning advice

Post by thebeave7 » Mon May 10, 2021 7:17 am

Personally I've always had the best flowers in the San Juans and Aspen/CB area. You can find nice displays of wildflowers elsewhere, but they seem to be more abundant down there. Where they are blooming when you are visiting depends on how fast the snowpack melts off and summer rains.
The Wetterhorn basin can be a really good place, same thing with the area around Coal Bank pass near Engineer Mt. American Basin and the Grizzly Gulch trail on Handies are also really good. Other places include Highland Mary Lakes, Upper Yankee Boy Basin, Maggie Gulch Silverton, Four Pass Loop (obviously super busy, but amazing), and that's all I can think of right now. Based on current snowpack I'd guess things would peak in the southern mountains 2-3week in July, but who knows with our current weather patterns (Front Range will be later).

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peter303
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Re: Wildflower planning advice

Post by peter303 » Mon May 10, 2021 8:05 am

Its rare I DONT see a lot of wildflowers wherever I hike between May and August. July of course is the peak. Mountain pases like Loveland, Independence, Cottonwood, Berthoud.

We sometimes play the "rainbow game" on a hike- find a flower for each 6 or 7 colors of the rainbow. (Rainbow-plus adds white, pink, brown and black.) Last week of April 2021 Hayden Green Mountain had four yellows, four whites, a green, purple and brown. Orange and blue are most elusive early and late season.

The "prize" is to spot the shy Columbine state flower. It dislikes tree shade and open tundra. Best chance at treeline or edge of meadow.
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