As snow-covered peaks give way to sun-drenched valleys, Wyoming transforms into a summertime garden filled with colorful wildflowers and dense, coniferous forests. Whether you’re looking for the next place to hike, mountain bike or drive, we’ve scouted some of the best recreation areas to view beautiful displays of the region’s native flowers.
Cement Ridge, near Sundance
Pack a picnic and spend the afternoon in the Black Hills National Forest, where alpine prairies are filled with bright yellow bouquets of arrowleaf balsamroot and bell-shaped pasqueflowers. To overlook the valley, hike to the Cement Ridge summit, where a 1930s fire lookout tower offers sweeping views of ponderosa pines, paper birch and aspen trees. Stop by Sundance for food, lodging and directions.
Mount Washburn Trail, in Yellowstone National Park
If flower-filled hillsides and panoramic views of Yellowstone National Park are on your agenda, the summit to Mount Washburn is the perfect day hike. Two trails, Dunraven Pass and Chittenden, approach the summit from opposite directions, leading to a peak-top perspective of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Lake and the Tetons. For a botanical-laden trail, follow Dunraven Pass along the mountain’s southern exposure, where you can spot yellow violets, blue lupine and purple shooting stars. Don’t miss the vibrant red blossoms of Indian paintbrush, also known as prairie fire, which is Wyoming’s state flower. Find food, lodging and local advice in Cody, Jackson, Grand Teton National Park or from the folks in Yellowstone National Park.
Miner’s Cabin Trail, Near Saratoga
This easy hike may be less than one mile, but it doesn’t skimp on floral features or historic artifacts. The trailhead is located off the Snowy Range Scenic Byway before Libby Flats and includes interpretative signs, an array of wildflowers and historic mines and cabins. Stop by Saratoga for food, lodging and local advice.
Clay Butte Fire Tower, northwest of Cody
Located along the Beartooth Scenic Byway, this visitor center used to be a working fire tower, but now it’s the perfect place to encounter wildlife and wildflowers. From bell-shaped blooms like mountain harebells and bluebells, to jutting flowers like shooting stars and elephant head, this detour promises up-close glimpses of indigenous plant life — and chance encounters with grizzly bears.
Locate your headquarters for this trip in Cody.
Pole Mountain Area, between Cheyenne and Laramie
Get ready to unload your mountain bike or lace up your hiking boots for a day of outdoor recreation amid colorful wildflowers. Located in the Medicine Bow National Forest, this area boasts an array of multi-purpose trails like Turtle Rock Loop and Happy Jack, as well as plentiful displays of kitten tails, Indian paintbrush and Simpson’s ball cactus. Folks in Cheyenne and Laramie will be happy to help you with food, lodging and advice.
Cloud Peak Skyway, Northwest
Wyoming is known for its scenic byways and relaxing stretches of road, so leave behind the hiking gear, and enjoy peaceful sights from the driver’s seat. This scenic route winds along U.S. Route 16, through the Big Horn Mountains, over Powder River Pass and through Ten Sleep Canyon, offering spectacular vistas of mountain meadows, limestone canyon walls and prime specimens of hot pink shooting stars, Indian paintbrush and blue lupine.
Stop along the way in “Ten Sleep or Buffalo for dining, lodging and directions.