Where to find wildflowers in Oregon and Washington
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
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
2. Camassia Natural Area
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
3. Cape Horn
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
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
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
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