You will see many more flowers on the hikes then I can possibly list. Be sure that the wildflower guide book you chose has good pictures of not only the flowers but the leaves. ~ Pat Berman
1. Tipperary Trail – Easy
Tipperary Trail is on CR 50, 5.3 miles from the corner of CR 5 and CR 50 to a parking lot on the right side of CR 50. Walk a few yards to the trailhead.
As you start the hike look for Green Pyrolas on the left side. These have dark green basal leaves and single stalks of nodding flowers. Ahead there are meadows stuffed with Corn Husk Lilies and Green Gentians (Monument Plants). Look for Aspen Sunflowers that usually face east, White Geraniums and Creamy Buckwheat.
2. Ranger Meadow and East Shore Trail Loop – Easy
5.0 miles, 200’
From US Hwy 34, head south-east on CR 66. Turn left at the Green Ridge campground. Turn right at the intersection. Cross over the dam to the kiosk, turn east to the Ranger Meadow trail.
The flowers begin right at the trailhead, look for Bog Orchids in the wetland. The flowers are white and very fragrant. Continue to a sunlit opening populated by Scarlet Gila (Fairy Trumpet), Blue Flax, Paintbrush, Mountain Parsley, White Geranium and Creamy Buckwheat. At the creek you may see Tall Chiming Bells, Monkshood, Bitter Cress (Brook Cress) and Brook Saxifrage.
3. Columbine Lake – Moderate
7 miles, 1,400’
From US 40 turn east of CR 83. Turn left on CR 84 to the Junco Lake Trailhead.
As you start the hike you will find Elephant Heads in wet meadows and near streams. Look closely at the flower for the “elephant trunk.” In moist woods look for Twisted Stalk. It is an easy flower to identify, the white flower is under the leaves. Parry’s Primrose are just above the waterfall that you will be passing by. Stop and admire them. When you reach the lake continue to the small stream and you will see an amazing array of flowers.
4. Devils Thumb Trail – Moderate to Strenuous
Approximately 6 miles, 1,800’
From US 40 turn east on CR 8 for 8 miles.
The alpine meadow is such a beautiful place I stop here to enjoy the multitudes of wildflowers. Look for Parry’s Primrose, Alpine Columbines, Alpine Avens, American Bistort and Sky Pilot. Immerse yourself in in Mother Nature’s garden.
5 miles, 1,240’
U.S. 40 to the Henderson Mine turnoff. Turn right at the fork. The trailhead is at a gate on the left.
As your start your hike look under the conifers for the Wood Nymph. The flower is white, single and saucer shaped. The leaves are in a basal rosette. Also, in the shade are Sickletop Louseworts with blossoms resembling the beaks of parrots. In the Alpine zone look for Kings Crown, Queens Crown, Parry Gentian, Moss Campion and Alpine Sandwort. This is a trail you don’t want to miss during peak bloom.