Spring comes late in Utah’s canyons – meaning the wildflowers bloom later than they do in the valley.
The best time to see wildflowers on the trails depends on two factors:
(1) the temps (record highs can melt the snow faster, and bring an early blooming season)
(2) the elevation of the trail (the higher the elevation, the later the blooming season).
You know the old adage “April showers bring May flowers?” think “Snow melts make flower pelts.” Ok – that is a stretch, but just go with it.
As a general rule of thumb, mid July to mid August is the best time to see wildflowers up Utah’s canyons.
The 5 Best Trails to See Wildflowers in Utah:
1. Timp Basin Meadows aka: The Flower Garden: The second highest peak in the Wasatch also has one of the best wildflower meadows. The wildflower meadow on this trail is referred to as The Flower Garden – the perfect place to stop for lunch before continuing to the summit of Mount Timpanogos. The best time to catch the flowers on Timp is the first week of August – watch for the snow to melt on the top of Timp. This trail is not suitable for children as it is extremely challenging. That being said, every hiker in Utah should have this peak on their bucket list. For a full trail guide to Timp Summit click here.
2. Albion Basin: Looking for a kid friendly wildflower hike in Utah? Try Cecret (not a typo) Lake trail located in the Albion Basin near Alta Ski Resort (Little Cottonwood Canyon). This trail is a popular trail due to the teal waters of Lake Crescent and the wildflowers that bloom around it. Lots of families hike this short 1.5 mile trail, but it does have switch backs at the very end. Again, July or August would be good times to visit for wildflowers. For more trail info go here.
3. Silver Lake in American Fork Canyon: Not only does this trail have wildflowers, it also has waterfalls and two alpine lakes (one at the beginning and one at the end). The trail to Silver Lake is a bit of a challenge (5 miles round trip on moderately rugged terrain), but the abundance of colorful wildflowers along the trail will more than make up for it. We hiked this trail at the end of June and the wildflowers were already blooming. This trail does require a vehicle that can make it up the dirt road to Silver Lake Flat. For more info click here.
4. Timp Caves Trail: This trail is typically known for the Timpanogos Caves National Monument, but it also has a good selection of colorful wildflowers. In fact, the visitor’s center has information on a wildflower scavenger hunt for the trail. If you have kids, the Timp Caves trail is a good alternative to the more difficult Silver Lake trail mentioned above. Beware: this trail is 90% paved switch backs with little shade – save it for a cloudy day! And don’t forget to reserve your cave tour tickets! For more info click here.
5. White Pine Lake in Logan Canyon: Described as one of the best hikes in northern Utah, White Pine Lake in Logan is covered in a rainbow of wildflowers. I haven’t hiked this trail yet, but it is high on my bucket list for the Logan area so I wanted to share it. The trail is 8 miles round trip, but it is described as well-marked and with a gentle incline most of the way. For more info on this trail check the TrekPlanners guide here.
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Do you have a favorite place to catch the wildflowers in Utah? I’d love to hear about a hike near Ogden or in the Uintas! Let us know in the comments!