Top Ten Parks for High-Summer Wildflowers

The West: Where the Wild Columbine Grows (Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado)
High-country meadow
Along the Great Divide (Berger/Smith)

The Colorado Rockies are arguably the wildflower capital of North America, and Rocky Mountain National Park is the region's showcase high-country showcase. In the middle elevations of RMNP (from 6,000 to 9,000 feet), you'll find arnica, sego lilies, blue columbine, and meadowrue in the pine and aspen forests, but ah, the meadows. Waving in the July breezes will be scarlet paintbrush, blue penstemons, orange sneezeweed, purple fringed gentians, and plenty more. Higher up on the mountains, brilliant bursts of tundra wildflowers bloom and die quickly, including phlox, wild iris, alpine sunflower, alpine avens, pale-blue harebell, and moss campion.

More Central Rockies Hot Spots

Colorado's high-country options are, of course, nearly endless. Surrounding Rocky Mountain NP are more alpine-meadow hikes in Arapaho National Forest and Pike National Forest, and the summer colors of White River National Forest and the Maroon Bells Wilderness are legendary. And to some, the montane forests of the Gunnison National Forest and San Juan National Forest are the best wildflower country in the world.

More GORP Rocky Mountain National Park


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