When winter begins to thaw and we see the first glimpses of spring- it’s a reminder of new beginnings and new journeys. One of the surest signs that spring has sprung is the blooming of the wildflowers. There are hundreds of varieties of beautiful flowers that grow wild in the meadows, on riverbanks, and in the mountains and valleys across the country. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best destinations for spring wildflowers in the US. If you’re chasing spring and want to surround yourself by these beautiful blooms- here are a few great places to go!
Destinations for Spring Wildflowers
1. Antelope Valley, California
The bright, colorful poppy is the California state flower and there’s no better place to see the poppies in bloom that in Antelope Valley. Antelope Valley became an Internet sensation in 2017 during the California super bloom- but you don’t need to wait for another super bloom year to find yourself surrounded by wildflowers here! The Antelope Canyon Poppy Preserve is located about two hours north of Los Angeles and peak bloom falls anywhere between mid-March and mid-May. The Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve is one of the most popular destinations for spring wildflowers in the whole country and it’s entirely worth planning a trip to California just to experience the blooms!
2. Ennis, Texas
Every Spring, much of the central and southeastern Texas is blanketed in blue… bluebonnets that is! While you will find giant patches of Texas bluebonnets all over the state, Ennis is the “Official Bluebonnet City of Texas” and is known for it’s densely packed flower fields and it’s Bluebonnet Festival. Ennis, Texas maps out over 40 miles of driving trails for viewing the flower fields that bloom during the month of April! Before planning your trip, you can visit the Ennis Bluebonnet Trail website to discover peak bloom times and the best trails to drive.
3. Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington
With Mt. Rainier towering in the background, the sweeping meadows full of wildflowers in Mt. Rainier National Park are simply breathtaking. Like a couple of other destinations on our list, the blooms at Mt. Rainier National Park occur later than most due to it’s higher elevations. You’ll want to plan a trip during the month of July or into early August to catch peak bloom here! There are numerous hiking trails that will lead you right through the gorgeous meadows, departing from both the Paradise Visitors Center and the Sunshine Visitors Center. If you know you can handle a moderate hike at a higher elevation, be sure to check out the Skyline Trail (5.4 miles) for the absolute best wildflower meadows and mountain views!
4. Asheville, North Carolina
Just south of the Appalachian Mountains and Great Smokey Mountains National Park is Asheville, North Carolina which is teeming with forests and meadows full of wildflowers. Drive along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway to see gorgeous displays of rhododendron and azaleas in the foothills. You can also visit the Biltmore Mansion, which holds the Biltmore Blooms festival during the months of April and May where you’ll find tens of thousands of blooming flowers of all kinds!
5. Sugar Hill, New Hampshire
Head east into New Hampshire’s White Mountains during the month of June to find the valleys blanketed in beautiful purple Lupine blooms. The quiet little hamlet town of Sugar Hill hosts the Sugar Hill Lupine Festival to celebrate the blooms. The festival includes an open air market, an art show, outdoor music concerts and even a town dance- all surrounded by the stunning backdrop of purple Lupines! Other small towns nearby also join in on the festivities as the blooms draw in large crowds of visitors and professional photographers- so plan on spending some time exploring the whole area!
6. Carlsbad, California
Located between San Diego and Los Angeles, Carlsbad is well known for it’s Flower Fields of Carlsbad Ranch. Giant fields (nearly fifty acres!) of Persian Buttercup flowers spring to life, usually between mid-March and mid-April. The ranch holds all kinds of events during peak bloom including wagon rides and a sweet pea maze! With California being such a hot spot for so many wildflower displays, it’s totally worth planning a trip that includes a stop at the Flower Fields of Carlsbad Ranch!
7. Crested Butte, Colorado
Better known as a winter wonderland, Crested Butte sits high up in the Rocky Mountains- meaning that wildflowers here bloom a bit later than at lower elevations. Crested Butte sits at just under 9,000 feet above sea level but come July, the wildflower blooms are incredible- dubbing Crested Butte the Wildflower Capital of Colorado! The Crested Butte Wildflower Festival is held every summer in the middle of July and features guided nature walks, photography classes, art workshops and much more. Be sure to check out the festival website before planning a summer wildflower trip to Crested Butte!
8. St. Francois State Park, Missouri
About an hour and a half southwest of Springfield, Missouri is St. Francois State Park. The park is over 2,700 acres of natural beauty that comes live in the first half of April with wildflowers blooming along the banks of the Big River which flows through the park! The riverbanks are home to beautiful bluebells as well as poppies, Queen of the Prairie and even some mountain mint. While you can drive through much of the park, hiking along the riverbanks the best way to immerse yourself among the blankets of blooming wildflowers. The Swimming Deer Trail is a 3.4 mile looped trail that offers fantastic flower viewing!
9. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Located about 75 miles outside of Washington, DC- Shenandoah National Park is well known for it’s springtime wildflowers. Of the 1,400 plants known to reside in the park, over half of those are different varieties of wildflowers! For spring blooms, stick to areas near rivers and streams that are at lower elevations such as the Hughes River, South River, and the Rose River. Later in the summer you can venture up to higher elevations where the temperatures are cooler and the wildflowers bloom a bit later! The National Park is quite large and deserves a few days worth of exploring if you want to maximize your wildflower viewing experience! The park publishes a Wildflower Calendar to help you know what is in bloom when so you can identify the flowers you see as you explore the many walking and hiking trails throughout the park.
10. Death Valley National Park, California
Most people don’t think of going to the hottest, driest location in the country to find wildflowers and it’s true that not every single year do the wildflowers in Death Valley put on a spectacular show. But when they do (usually correlating with an El Nino weather pattern), the blooms here are truly spectacular. At lower elevations, wildflowers will bloom from early February to early April while you’ll find blooms at the higher elevations in the park through mid-May. Because summertime temperatures are downright brutal in Death Valley National Park, the early spring is the perfect time to not only see the wildflowers but also to explore this incredible park when the temperatures are a bit more tolerable!
Have you been to any of these popular destinations for spring wildflowers in the US? If so- let us know in the comments!