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Reader Participation Survey: Which National Park Has the Best Wildflower Blooms?


Wildflowers daub the national parks with color. If you're heading to Yosemite National Park, you might want to check out their webpage on wildflowers, which includes information on the ones pictured here. NPS graphics.

Every year it seems chatter begins in January about how spectacular the wildflower bloom in Death Valley National Park will be. At the same time, folks are making plans to attend Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Wildflower Pilgrimage, or perhaps Shenandoah National Park's wildflower weekend.

Delicate lilies are among the wildflowers to be seen around Acadia National Park, and just the other day we noticed a wildflower primer from Yosemite National Park. Looking for columbines? Rocky Mountain National Park seems to be the best to go for them.

Which leaves us wondering, which national park is best for wildflowers?


As much as I love the desert during wildflower season, I have seen few things more incredible than Logan's Pass carpeted with wildflowers.

Cedar Breaks National Monument is an often overlooked site but it is an absolute treasure. We visited in the summer of 2009 during their wildflower festival. I've posted some pictures on the flickr site of some of our favorite flowers we saw during our visit.

Indiana Dunes NP has 26 native species of orchids. Spring is the best time to see most of them. That is far more native orchids than Hawaii or the Virgin Islands. Yes, the Midwest has natural wonders, too!

Mt. Rainier, definitely. I prefer Sunrise to Paradise, but that's just because of the alpine phlox which there isn't much of at Paradise and is all over the place at Sunrise. It's probably my alltime favorite wildflower. Olympic is wonderful, too. Hurricane Ridge's flowers are spectacular. But I happened to hit the peak wildflower season at Yellowstone summer before last, and that was pretty darned impressive, too. I'd never seen a gentian before, although I have since seen them at Paradise later in the season -- timing is everything.

I like desert wildflowers, and eastern woodland wildflowers, but western mountain wildflowers are just the most incredible to me and always will be.

Speaking as a wildflower fanatic and Pacific Northwesterner who makes at least an annual pilgrimage to Sunrise [g].

To Anon (4/14): Try the second week in July. I lived in northern Colorado for many years; Rocky being my home away from home! The slopes around Rainbow Curve (Trail Ridge Road) and the Flattop Mountain Trail provide some beautiful meadows of Columbines!

Last July I hiked above Mineral King in SEKI through so many intense blue lupines that I thought I was walking through the sky. The same flowers are dried up and gone by late April down in southern California. The shady streamside flowers were also gorgeous.

I managed to encounter wildflower blooms in Joshua Tree NP, and was amazed and astounded. It's the contrast between the harsh desert landscape and the fragile beauty of the flowers that blew my mind.

Being a Pacific Northwesterner, I have to go with the folks talking about Paradise.

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