5 Bucket List Wildflower Hikes

by Lara Rosenbaum
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5 Bucket List Wildflower Hikes

Spring is in full bloom, but there’s still time to catch wildflowers on hiking trails around the country. In fact, in alpine areas, you could spot flowers through the summer. Here are five trails already brimming with color, so you can score a low-impact, calorie-burning hike while enjoying high-impact aromas and views.

1. BAR ISLAND

Where: Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
High bloom: June
Flower highlights: Lupine

Spot pink, white and purple hues all along Bar Island, a small island located in Acadia National Park. You’ll need walk there at low tide, but timing your visit for the three-hour window is worth it. Once on the trail, you’ll head up through a meadow to find views not just of flowers, but of the park and sparkling harbor. The Bar Island trail itself is fairly easy to navigate and the entire walk is family friendly, at about two hours total, round trip.

2. TANAWHA TRAIL

Where: Linville, North Carolina
High bloom: May/June
Flower highlights: Rhododendron

The Tanawha Trail itself is part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, and spans more than 13 miles. You can skip to more floral areas by parking in the Rough Ridge lot accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Hike a mere half mile south on the Tanawha from Rough Ridge to find blooms. Note: The trail itself has some steep, rocky spots, so watch your step as you flower spot.


READ MORE > 10 AMAZING BENEFITS OF WALKING


3. SIPHON DRAW TRAIL

Where: Apache Junction, Arizona
High bloom: May/June
Flower highlights: Brittlebush

This 5.5-mile trail, located in Lost Dutchman State Park, can get your heart rate up with steep climbs, so bring plenty of water and prepare to work as you spot wildflowers including vibrant lupine and poppies. (If you feel like pushing yourself even more, you can hike a half mile further to the top of the Flatiron, for additional views.)

4. UPPER CAPE HORN TRAIL

Where: Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
High bloom: May/June
Flower highlights: Purple Larkspur

Enjoy sweeping vistas and views of the Columbia Gorge and get up close and personal with Cape Horn Falls. Enjoy maple groves, the easy sway of long grass and the shade of fir trees. Of course, there are loads of wildflowers to spot along the way. While the rugged trail is open year-round, the lower portion is closed from February to July 15 to protect nesting falcons. The upper portion still provides a scenic workout, however, and is only about a 45-minute drive from Portland.

5. ANTELOPE VALLEY POPPY RESERVE

Where: Lancaster, California
High bloom: April/May
Flower highlights: Poppies

Even though California’s state flower blooms relatively early, there’s still time to see the landscape awash in orange. The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve boasts eight miles of trails for those with a moderate fitness level, so you can lose yourself and relax only about an hour and a half from Los Angeles. Enjoy rolling meadows and hills filled with poppies, along with stunning views of the San Gabriel Mountains.


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  • Sylv H

    “of course everyone is American here” …

    • Spot pink, white and purple hues all along Bar Island, a small island located in Acadia National Park. You’ll need walk there at low tide, but timing your visit for the three-hour window is worth it. Once on the trail, you’ll head up through a meadow to find views not just of flowers, but of the park and sparkling harbor. The Bar Island trail itself is fairly easy to navigate and the entire walk is family friendly, at about two hours total, round trip.