Top Ten Parks for High-Summer Wildflowers

The West: John Muir Country (Yosemite National Park, California)

Anyone who's walked the meadows of the High Sierra in July will remember the wildflowers. In Yosemite, while heat and traffic snarl up the Valley, the high country is cool and uncrowded in summer. Hot spots include Crane Flat Meadows, Tioga Pass, and Hodgdon Meadows, but the bloom capital of the park is Tuolumne Meadows, the largest subalpine meadow complex in the Sierra Nevada. At an elevation of 8,575 feet, it features sparkling air, wildflowers, and the beautiful Tuolumne River.

The show begins in June with Sierra onion, lupine, mariposa lily, penstemon, alum root, and lady slipper orchid; edge into July, and you'll see corn lilies ringing Sierran lakes, and cinquefoils, sky pilots, senecios, and buttercups splashing the rocky slopes and meadows. The Yosemite Association sponsors a host of excellent naturalist-led hikes and walks through the high country.

More California Hot Spots

The entirety of the High Sierra, from Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP to Tahoe and Plumas NFs, are abloom from June through August. Still other pristine meadows can be found up in the Trinity Alps, and the chaparral hillsides of Big Sur and the Ventana Wilderness have their own summer color.

More GORP Yosemite


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