Posted by toby | Friday, July 15, 2016
Wildflowers are the crowning glory of Breckenridge summers. They line the roadsides and trails and color the landscape. While they hit their peak in late July, different variations can be seen throughout the spring and summer.
Wildflower hikes are a great summer activity for the whole family. Here are a few you are likely to see and where you can find them.
This flower is Colorado's state flower and pride and joy. No matter how many times you see it, its unique shape and coloring continues to impress. It grows to about 12-24 inches tall and prefers shaded areas. There is nothing more lovely than a patch of delicate columbines in the shade of an aspen grove.
In the wild, it is most commonly found in purple and white but many other colors exist in gardens and the wild alike. Coloradans love their columbines, so the best place to see them is in the gardens in town.
This flower grows almost anywhere in Breckenridge, taking over whole hillsides and cropping up along the roads. You have likely already seen it, cheerfully greeting visitors that drive into town. The tiny pea shaped flowers are actually bluish-purple but have white on the underside, giving it a silvery appearance from a distance. To see this flower in detail, hike the Dickie's Trail around Lake Dillon. This trail sports several varieties of wildflowers and is perfect for beginners.
The wild roses are much simpler than their domesticated cousins with only 5 petals. They are most commonly found in magenta, pale pink and white. They grow in scraggly bushes along the sides of the road and trails and are recognizable by their bright yellow centers. To see this flower, hike the Boreas Pass trail. A few are already beginning on Boreas Pass Road!
This bold yellow flower can be found in almost all wooded areas. You can't miss it. Look for the triangular pointed petals in the shaded forests around Breck.
Fireweed is a tall plant with magenta flowers. It gets its name from its ability to return quickly after a wildfire. This flower blooms in ditches, meadows, gardens - anywhere! It blooms a bit later than other wildflowers and is known as a herald to the coming winter.
Scarlet Gilia, Fairy Trumpet
This flower is shaped like a tiny reddish orange trumpet. At closer inspection, there is often white or yellow spotting inside the flower. You'll see it in drier areas, roadsides and open meadows. It's very tiny, so can be hard to spot.
Calypso Orchid Fairy Slipper
The Fairy Slipper Orchid is a rare occurrence and you should count yourself lucky to find it. It is found in forested, well shaded areas, and is usually in small groups of 1-5 flowers. This particular photo was taken on the Illinois Gulch trails and was the only flower of this type in the area.
Whether you are hiking or driving, wildflowers can be found in abundance in all of Breck. If hiking, don't forget to bring the necessary provisions such as water and rain gear. The high altitude climate is known to change weather with little notice, especially in the afternoons. Hike safe!
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