Top 7 Wildflower Hikes in the Pacific Northwest

FROM MOUNTAIN KHAKIS

Top 7 Wildflower Hikes in the Pacific Northwest

©istockphoto/lfreytag

The Pacific Northwest is a hiker’s paradise, featuring thousands of trails meandering alongside mountains, meadows and coastlines. Wildflower season is one of the most beautiful times to hike the Pacific Northwest with grandiose views of floral favorites such as lupine, camass, fireweed and goatsbeard. Remember your camera because these hikes should not be missed this wildflower season.

Spray Park, Washington
Distance: 
Roundtrip 7.5 miles
Located at Mount Rainier, Spray Park features fantastic meadow and old-growth forest views. Throughout parts of the trail, heather and alpine blossoms boast bold pink, white and purple flowers that rim the trail. Watch out for the resident bears at dusk hours. They’re harmless but known to hang around the area in search for berries.

Sauk Mountain, Washington
Distance: 
Roundtrip 4.2 miles
Located in the North Cascades, this steep and narrow switchback trail meanders through mountainside meadows painted with orange, white and purple flowers. Hikers will notice that flowers change with the altitude. Expect to see oxeye daisy, valerian, fireweed, cow parsnip, purple asters and cowbell. On a clear day, the trail features views of Cascade River, Teebone Ridge, The Pickets and Helen Buttes.

Bird Creek Meadows, Washington
Distance: 
Roundtrip 3.0 miles
This short and easy hike is reputable for its wildflower meadows. At the Trail of Flowers, trekkers claim the meadows look similar to a canvas painting. Expect wildflower views for as far as the eye can see. Catch a glimpse of the flowers alongside descending creeks and waterfalls and views of Mount Adams and Hellroaring Canyon.

McNeal Point Hike, Oregon
Distance: Roundtrip 10.4 miles
With 2,200 feet of elevation, this hike is intense, but well worth the Mount Hood views at the top. Hikers start at the Top Spur Trailhead and follow the Timberline Trail. The trail leads to patches of pasqueflower meadows with Mount Hood in the backdrop, a perfect image for blossoming photographers.

Paradise Meadow Trails, Washington
Distance: 
Roundtrip Varies
Mount Rainier is the mecca for wildflower hiking and photography. Thousands of flowers shower the Paradise Visitor Center meadows with stunning views of Mount Rainer just footsteps from the parking lot. Plenty of wildflowers border the trail and creeks for the popular Skyline Divide hike. Those who cannot walk far can explore the main trailhead area and meadows for floral views without elevation gain.

Rowena Plateau, Oregon
Distance: Roundtrip 2.0 miles
This plateau is located on the east side of the Columbia River Gorge where the lush rain forest transitions to high desert plains. Expect expansive views of wildflower meadows containing white yarrow, balsamroot and bachelor buttons. Due to the climate difference, the wildflowers bloom earlier during the spring months.

Iron Mountain Trail, Oregon
Distance: Roundtrip 5 miles
This trail contains more than 300 species of flowering plants that bloom throughout the summer months. Expect to see flax, yarrow, saxifrage and penstemon blooms. There are also 18 different plant communities located alongside the trail. The trail meanders through alpine meadows before an intense 1.6-mile add-on trail, which is worth the effort.

©istockphoto/LoweStock