Story by LORETTA PARK and MATILYN MORTENSEN • Photos by LORETTA PARK • Standard-Examiner Staff
Searching for wildflowers in Utah can turn into a short day trip or even an extended weekend adventure.
Some can easily be seen from vehicles while others require hiking. A poppy field at Box Elder Campground in Mantua is easily visible from a car, but in order to view wildflowers at the top of he North Ogden Divide, you’ll have to hike.
Botanists Stephen Clark and Jana Leinbach both agree the best places to find wildflowers are where people aren’t. And both said you don’t have to be a botanist to enjoy the wildflowers.
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Clark is a botany professor at Weber State University, and Lienbach is the south zone forest botanist with the U.S. Forest Service.
Clark said wildflowers in Utah start blooming as early as March and different types bloom into September. He said the best time to see the flowers is usually in May or June, but the flowers follow the seasons — not the calendar. The late spring this year may cause later blooming. Additionally, the higher the elevation, the later the flowers bloom.
Clark also said he likes to hike or go horseback riding in Middlefork above Snowbasin where all types of wildflowers are in bloom from now until August.
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“It really doesn’t matter where you are because wherever you go you will find amazing stuff, different things,” Clark said.
Here are locations in Utah where wildflowers can be viewed throughout the state. Most of this information is from the Forest Service's website.
Due to the nature of these locations, many of the addresses are not exact. More details about directions can be found on the forest service website link in the name of each location. Call the ranger office that oversees the specific sight if you have additional questions or to confirm road accessibility.
Albion Basin is located in the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon. Wild flowers usually bloom here in July and August. This high-elevation meadow contains fields of over 120 species of plants including paintbrush, columbine, lupine, Jacob’s ladder and penstemons.
Tram rides are available through Snowbird Ski resort. Once you have arrived at Albion Basin Campground, you can choose from a variety of easy to moderate hikes or view wildflowers from your car.
Address: Albion Basin Campground, Albion Basin Road
In the Manti-La Sal National Forest, Skyline Drive crosses the Wasatch Plateau. The wildflower viewing site Bob’s Garden is just off of this road for a 2.5-mile stretch.
Address: Skyline Drive in Fairview
Boulder Top on Boulder Mountain offers the only alpine wildflower viewing in Dixie National Forest. Access the mountain from State Road 12 south of Torrey.
Located in the Alpine loop, this is an easy walk across boardwalks through the viewing area. The best time of year to view flowers is June and September. A handful of flowers can be viewed on trail, but the more showy flowers are in the uplands.
Find Cascade Springs in the Uinta National Forest on Cascade Scenic Drive, east of American Fork Canyon and west of Wasatch Mountain State Park.
The site is located at the Greendale overlook near the historic Swett Ranch and Flaming Gorge Lodge in Ashley National Forest.
Find it just off U.S. 191 on State Road 44.
This is an official Utah State Scenic Byway. The best time to see wildflowers is in late July. The drive beings at the mouth of Ogden Canyon.
Drive along State Road 39 through the canyon, around the shores of Pineview Reservoir, past Huntsville, toward Monte Cristo Campground, which is located at 45 S. 100 West in Woodruff.
This is a 35-mile paved road through the Uinta National Forest. There are multiple campgrounds, trailheads and scenic view pullouts along the byway.
Best viewing times vary each year, but are typically mid to late September, however wildflowers can be scene along the byway from June to September.
To access the south end: From Interstate 15 at Nephi, take exit 225 to travel east on State Route 132. Five miles from the Interstate, turn left onto Forest Road 015, which is the scenic byway.
To access the north end: From I-15 take exit 248 in Payson, heading east on 800 South. Turn right onto 600 East, which becomes the Nebo Loop Road into the mountains.
This flower garden surrounds the Mt. Terrill Guard Station in Fishlake National Forest. Driving along Gooseberry Road provides a view of wildflower fields during the right time of year. The best time year is early July through early August.
The guard station is about 30 miles east southeast of Richfield just off Interstate 70.
Mount Timpanogos is located in the Wasatch Mountain Range. Two different hikes, the Aspen Grove trail and the Timpooneke trail, lead to Emerald Lake which has some of Utah’s most incredible wildflower displays. Peak wildflower viewing times are late July and early August.
The Aspen Grove trailhead can be found on State Road 92 about 7 miles past Sundance Mountain Resort. The Timpooneke trailhead can be found on Forest Road 056, just off State Road 92.
North Ogden Divide
Small purple flowers bloom on the north side of the road.
Access the North Ogden Divide — also known as North Ogden Canyon Road from State Road 162 in Liberty or from 3100 North in North Ogden.
Powder Mountain Road
On the north side of Powder Mountain Road yellow, white, and blue flowers are often in bloom.
From Ogden, take State Road 39 and State Road 158 to reach Power Mountain.
In Dixie National Forest, Powell Point is found on the far south Table Cliff Plateau. There is not a trail, so be careful to tread lightly. The rare limestone soil here allows certain species to grow that are specific to Southern Utah.
The Red Canyon Botanical Area is located in Garfield County, just past the Red Canyon Visitor Center. There is not a trail, so be careful to tread lightly. The unique limestone soils here allow rare plant species to grow here that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
This ridgeline forms the southwestern border of the Uinta Basin and is located south of Duchesne. This scenic byway runs along Forest Service Road 147.
A variety of wildflowers can be seen here including penstemon, wild hollyhock, elderberry, columbine, wild forget-me-not, mint and wild rose.
This lakeside trail is about one mile long, and most of it is a wheelchair accessible boardwalk. The Silver Lake Visitor’s Center has wildflower guides for sale.
Wildflowers are in bloom from mid-July through late August. Some of the flowers that bloom here include shooting stars, white bog orchid, and elephant heads.
Silver Lake can be found just off Guardsman Pass Road just outside Brighton.
This is a wet meadow where an uncommon, small moonwort plants emerge between mid July and late August. This tiny fern grows just one leaf and one branch of spores per plant. They are best found mixed in with the pink elephant head flowers.
Find Silver Meadow off of State Road 35 about 25 miles south of Kamas.
The peak wildflower season here is late July and early August. Wildflowers of a variety of colors are found here, including blue, yellow, red and white blooms.
Snowbasin Resort can be forund at 3925 Snowbasin Road in Huntsville.
Driving on Big John’s Flat between Marysvale and Beaver provides views of wildflower fields in late July and August. There are at least 170 different plant spices that can be found.
Find Big John’s Flat just off State Road 153 past Eagle Point Resort in Beaver.
Located in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, the area surrounding Tony Grove Lake offers displays of wildflowers from mid-July to mid-August.
There are trails at the lake to the Mt. Naomi Wilderness or to White Pine Lake in addition to a trail around the lake. Each hike provides wildflower viewing opportunities.
Find Tony Grove Lake on Forest Service Road 3, which is north east of Logan on U.S. 89.
This area east of Ogden is covered in fields of the yellow Northern Mules Ear flower. Trapper’s Loop is considered State Road 167 from Huntsville to Mountain Green.
This area is also located in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Wildflowers can be viewed around the Whitney Reservoir and along Mill City Creek and past the reservoir turnoff along Meadow Creek Road towards Moffitt Peak.
Peak viewing time is July through Early August.
Coming east on Highway 150 from Kamas, turn onto Forest Service Road 32 and drive 9 miles to Whitney Reservoir.