Wildflowers Send Splashes of Color Across the San Juans in Summer
This blue-purple wildflower grows in meadows from ponderosa forests up to the alpine elevations. June is the best time to see these blooming en masse, along the golf course and Jurassic Trail in Mountain Village.
From semi-desert foothills to the high alpine, varieties can be found at almost any mountain elevation, ranging in color from common scarlet to pale yellow to rosy pink. Look for alpine varieties along the Wasatch Trail.
These reddish-purple flowers get their name from their ability to rapidly colonize recently burned or disturbed areas. Find them blooming later in the summer, along the San Miguel River Trail.
The Colorado state flower, this montane-to-subalpine dweller loves sprouting in rocky soils. The ubiquitous Blue Columbine can be found in moist open areas and rocky slopes, like along Ophir Pass.
These happy yellow flowers are widespread in open, sunny areas in the 8,000- to 9,000-foot range. Some of the first summer wildflowers to bloom, watch for them on the Valley Floor and mesas tops.
Subalpine streamsides and wetland areas provide the perfect habitat for these tall, striking dark purple beauties. Look for them while hiking Bear Creek Falls, or driving up to Lake Hope trailhead.
When viewing these high alpine works of art, remember to stay on the trail or road to avoid soil erosion, and never pick blossoms – it prevents seed production for next year’s blooms.
— Martinique Davis with Yvette Hensen of Colorado State University