Apr 24, 2023 - Things to Do

Where to find wildflowers in Oregon and Washington

Two hikers walk along a dirt path along a hillside covered in yellow and orange wildflowers. In the distance there's a river cutting through with clouds hanging above.

Hikers and balsamroot on Dog Mountain Trail. Photo: Greg Vaughn/VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Portland's months of gloom and near-constant drizzle have at least one payoff: wildflower season.

Driving the news: Our region's wildflowers begin to break through wet soil and illuminate mountainsides and meadows in vibrant yellow, blue, purple and pink in April and early May.

  • Where to find peak blooms varies. Here's where, and when, to hike to find the perfect petals.
1. Tryon Creek
A three-petaled white flower sits on a bed of green leaves.
A western trillium. Photo: VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Home to the annual Trillium Festival, Tryon Creek is the perfect place to spot the vivid white, three-petaled "unofficial harbinger of spring" without ever leaving the city.

Peak bloom: Late April, early May

Length: Paved 3-mile bike trail, fully accessible 0.35-mile Trillium Trail and other trails of varying lengths

Difficulty: Easy

2. Camassia Natural Area
A meadow of purple, pink, yellow and white wildflowers break through patches of green grass and boulders.
Photo: Courtesy of Greg Lief/Oregon Wildflowers

Travel down the Willamette to West Linn to find the park's namesake star-shaped flower: the common camas. The park's wetlands and meadows also make perfect grounds for the powder-pink rosy plectritis and western saxifrage rosettes.

Peak bloom: Mid-March to early June

Length: 1-mile loop

Difficulty: Easy

3. Cape Horn
Dozens of golden yarrow burst through tall, weeded grass.
Golden yarrow can also be seen on the Cape Horn Trail. Photo: Jeremy Drey/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Across the Columbia River in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, you'll find sweeping views of the Gorge as well as concentrated pockets of the drooping beauties Hooker's fairy bells, Pacific bleeding hearts, and heart-shaped fringecups.

Peak bloom: May through mid-June

Length: 3 miles to viewpoint, 6.8-mile loop

Difficulty: Hard; 800-foot elevation gain

4. Silver Falls State Park
The trunk of a Douglas Fir tree sits beside a shrub of rosy pink rhododendrons.
Rhododendron and a Douglas fir tree. Photo: Greg Vaugh/VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Known for its 10 waterfalls, Silver Falls — Oregon's largest state park — is also a great place to spot wildflowers. Find pops of pink with the Pacific rhododendron, flashes of yellow with the Oregon sunshine, and the delicate white beads of oceanspray. Don't miss the Mother's Day Birding and Wildflower Festival on May 13, with guided birding and wildflower walks.

Peak bloom: April through May

Length: 7-mile loop and other trails of varying lengths

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

5. Dog Mountain
A hillside of wildflowers sit above the Columbia River.
Photo: Courtesy of Greg Lief/Oregon Wildflowers

There's a reason why hikers brave Dog Mountain's 1,000-foot elevation gain: hillsides of bright Puget balsamroot and Indian paintbrushes as far as the eye can see. This Washington hotspot is packed during the spring months, and even requires a permit to hike on Saturdays and Sundays through Juneteenth. So it's best to visit on a weekday.

Peak bloom: May through June

Length: 3-mile loop with 1,600 feet of elevation gain and a 6-mile loop with a 2,800-foot elevation gain

Difficulty: Hard


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