Favorite Places to Visit/Photograph Utah Wildflowers

Actual peak wildflower periods vary slightly year by year, so the
time periods mentioned are only a guideline and are subject to

This is only a partial list and are my personal favorites.
There are many other places within the state.

1. Albion Basin - end of Little Cottonwood Canyon at approximate 9400 South east of Salt Lake City

The Cecret (not a typo) Lake trail is a favorite as is the road from Alta to
arrive early as parking is limited to the small parking area adjacent to the
Albion Basin campground and a larger parker lot further down the road near some
lift equipment.  During peak wildflower viewing times a free shuttle is also available that
leaves from the parking lot below the dirt road that goes to Albion Basin.

Weekends are packed, so if you wish to avoid the crowds visit during the week, but
I found solitude going on some of the branch trails off the Cecret Lake trail.

If you can be on the mountain by 7 AM or earlier there is a good chance
you will encounter moose along the Cecret Lake trail.

Peak period - late July and early August

2. Tony Grove Lake area - inside Logan Canyon a seven mile road branch goes to the small Tony Grove Lake

The trail that surrounds the lake is a good start to finding wildflowers.
Another favorite is the White Pine Lake Trail that has some wonderful displays.

Other trails in the area along with the road to Tony Grove Lake itself are also nice.
There are several pull outs that are available.

Peak period - late July through early August

3. Capitol Reef National Park - south central Utah south of  I-70; nearest town is Torrey, Utah and the park is along Route 24

Probably the best two places to find wildflowers is along the Scenic Drive and the Capitol Gorge.
I like the Capitol Gorge, but be aware that biting insects are aplenty in the gorge and so long pants are
suggest despite the warmer temperatures.  The gorge is in shade in the morning, so I suggest arriving after 10 AM or
thereabouts because earlier than that the gorge will often be in full shade.  Because of this I like going up and down the
Scenic Drive using the many available pull outs as safe spots to park first thing in the morning from about 7 AM to 10-10:30 and then
heading south to the Capitol Gorge area.  The gorge has limited places to pull out so you may choose to hike the full length of the
gorge which is about 2 miles.

Other places to go are along the eastern edge along the Waterpocket Fold.  Some wildflowers can be found in the
Cathedral Valley portion of the park.  A 4x4 is highly recommended and always check with the Visitor center on road
conditions into this somewhat remote area of the park.  There is a nice driving guide for the Cathedral Valley available in the
bookstore in the vistor's center.

Peak period - late May through early June

4. Canyonlands - Needles District - south of Moab about 60-90 minutes driving time

There are some trails in this southern portion of Canyonlands, but I find riding along the road back and forth to be a
quick way to cover the most amount of ground and find the most amount of wildflowers if your time is limited.
Some areas as you come into the park are nice as well.  Just prior to the park are some dirt roads that go to
various places.  There is also the Dugout Ranch.  Stay to areas that have BLM signs.   
Along these routes wildflowers can often be found, but be wary if the weather is threatening as
flash floods can turn a perfectly smooth dirt road into a mosh pit in no time at all.

For additional tips on places to find wildflowers inquire at the visitor center.

Peak period - First part of May

5. Arches National Park - just north of Moab, Utah

There are some wonderful displays just along the roads, but be careful not to trample the
fragile cryptobiotic soil.  To do this jump from rock to rock or walk along dry washes.

Inquire at the visitors's center just past the entrace for the best places to find wildflowers.

Peak period - End of April - First part of May

6. Big Cottonwood Canyon - east of Salt Lake City

Above Solitude Ski Resort are several trails.  Search the web for Big Cottonwood Canyon trails.
One place I like to go is Silver Lake.  There is a small lot, but fills up quickly, so arrive early.
From here you can go around the lake for some wildflowers, but trails like the Lake Solitude offer
better variety and numbers.  The Lake Solitude Trail begins on the far side of Silver Lake.

Lower down the canyon there are several places with some displays.

Peak period - First part of July

7. Zion National Park - southwestern Utah

I like the Riverside Trail at the end of Zion Canyon, which begins just past the last shuttle stop.
Another favorite area is the trail that heads east at the bottom of the hill before the switchbacks begin prior to the Zion Tunnel.
It is easily spotted by the somewhat decorative bridge and the large pull out area opposite of where
the trail begins.  It is just beyond the Zion Canyon junction.

Peak Perod - mid July - mid August

Another place of interest is the Snowbird Ski resort in late July-early August.  There are many
trails, but be advised many are very demanding.  One way to beat the heat is to take the tram to the top
of Hidden Peak and enjoy the displays on top.

The Monte Cristo area in mid-late June or later depending upon the snowpack is nice.
The Monte Cristo area is east of Huntsville along Route 39.

I also like the Old Snowbasin Road from route 39 to Showbasin Ski Resort and along the way there are
some trails in the National Forest that offer several opportunities mid May through June.

US Forest Service Suggestions for Utah Wildflowers (includes maps, directions, photos)

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