Jul 16, 2023 - Things to Do

5 beautiful hikes to see wildflowers in Colorado

Aster flowers on a hike near Rustler's Gulch outside Crested Butte in 2021. Photo: John Frank/Axios

On hikes this time of year, you spend more time looking down than at the mountain peaks above.

What's happening: The color of wildflowers carpets the trail and fields around you with purple penstemons, blue columbines and red paintbrush.

Where to go: Here are five of John's favorite wildflower hikes.

  • Brush Creek trail outside Crested Butte: Mostly flat, this trail winds through seemingly endless meadows and hillsides covered in yellow Mule's Ears Sunflowers. It's four miles roundtrip but you can turn around whenever you run out of memory on your camera.
  • Willow Creek trail in Roxborough State Park: A great hike not far from the Denver metro, this trail is just 1.5 miles out and back, and leaves from the visitor's center. It's filled with wildflowers and birds.
  • Staunton State Park in Jefferson County: Wonder what a particular purple flower is called? The rangers at this state park near Pine can tell you on their guided wildflower hikes at 10am Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Mount Zirkel Wilderness near Steamboat Springs: You'll find plenty of trails in this area to choose from, and you'll find a bounty of wildflowers whether you do the Zirkel Circle or the hike to Three Island Lake.
  • Granite Lake outside Basalt: Off the beaten path but worth the drive, this six-mile trail traverses hillsides teeming with columbines set against high mountain ridges.
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