Utah’s Best Wildflower Walks and Hikes

July brings peak wildflower season to the high alpine meadows of Utah. What more can make your heart want to sing than strolling through fields bursting with the colors and scents of these wild blooms? Whether you prefer an easy stroll or miles of hiking in solitude, you’ll find just the right place to take in all the wildflowers your heart desires. This post will cover Utah’s 7 best wildflower hikes and walks starting from the north to the south.

Tips for your best visit

Visit at Peak Bloom Times

To ensure the best peak blooms, I use two tools as a guide to help me to determine the best time to visit. First are the dates of the Wasatch Wildflower Festival. This free event offers guided hikes in both Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons near Salt Lake City. The festival dates vary by year, determined by the weather patterns of that year. Second, consult the comment section of your favorite hiking app to see what people are saying about local conditions. Generally, you’ll want to plan for about mid-July for peak blooms.

Observe Leave No Trace Principles

Alpine meadows and trails are fragile environments. Wildflower fields and meadows take many years to establish and thrive. Observing all seven principles of leave no trace will ensure that everyone can enjoy these blooms for years to come, and the ecosystems that thrive off them can stay healthy. Most importantly, don’t pick the wildflowers. In some places, it is even illegal to do so. Stay on the trails, so we don’t trample the flowers. Learn more about leave no trace.

Be Prepared

The weather in high alpine environments can change quickly. Always check the forecast before you go and be prepared for rain as thunderstorms can move in quickly, especially in the afternoons. As with any hiking adventure, always carry your 10 essentials. As to what to wear, I typically like to wear a tank top, bike shorts, and hiking shoes. I always carry a rain jacket and long sleeves in my pack in case the weather changes.

In some places, cell service can be spotty to nonexistent; if you are planning more than a roadside stop, do your research so you are familiar with the trail, or better yet, bring a map, either paper or downloaded from an app such as OnX (my personal favorite), Alltrails, or Gaia GPS.

7 Best Wildflower Hikes and Walks

Wildflowers nestled by the cliff surrounding Tony Grove Lake

Tony Grove Lake

Opening July 1st with wildflower peak season, usually around mid to late July, the Tony Grove Lake day-use area hosts 6 picnic sites and multiple trailheads. Come up and spend an afternoon enjoying your picnic (no campfires in the day-use area), floating on the water, fishing, and hiking the trails. Dogs are permitted on leash. $10 Fee or free with your National Parks Pass.

Wildflowers abound by Utah’s Alpine lakes

Recommended Trails:

Tony Grove Lake Nature Trail (easy) 1.3 miles loop with 59 ft elevation gain.

This family-friendly adventure is just bursting with wildflowers at peak season. The trail is a little rocky and trickier to negotiate for a short section on the far side of the lake.

White Pine Lake (moderate) 7.9 miles RT with 1,391 ft elevation gain.

This hike is the one that made me fall in love with Logan Canyon. You cross stunning fields of wildflowers before you descend down to the lake nestled below Mt. Gog and Magog is the perfect place to spend an afternoon in a hammock in the shade of some trees.

Powder Mountain

Powder Mountain Ski Resort bursts with blooms at peak season

This ski resort offers some great wildflower meadows with top-of-the-world views with a fraction of the crowds you may see at the other locations. All the hiking trails at the resort are free.

Recommended trails:

Paper Airplane Trail (easy) 1-mile loop with 246 ft. elevation gain

Enjoy views of the valley below, and take in the wildflowers and fun installation larger than life paper airplane sculpture.

Brim Trail (moderate) 6.5 miles with loop with 511 ft elevation gain

A perfect mix of flower-filled alpine meadows, aspen and fir groves, and of course, views!

Big Cottonwood Canyon

Wildflower meadow at sunset

The Solitude and Brighton Ski resorts host one of the weekends of the Wasatch Wildflower Festival each year, and for a good reason! There are many trails here of many ability levels that have spectacular bloom displays of many varieties. You can register for free for a guided hike and learn about all the blooms you see here. However, I prefer to always hike one of the local trails here so I can go at my own pace. My favorite trail here is Lake Catherine (4.5 miles) will take you by 4 lakes (if you take the quick pop over to dog lake, too) with a large chance of seeing some moose. Please keep in mind that this canyon is a watershed which means no dogs are allowed (not even in your car) and no swimming or wading in the lakes and streams.

Hillside blooms by Lake Catherine

Recommended trails:

Lake Solitude trail (easy) 3 miles RT with 495 ft elevation gain

Contrary to the name, this hike is popular for a good reason. It’s a beautiful, family-friendly hike.

Brighton Lakes Loop (moderate) 7 miles RT with 1,830 feet elevation gain

Seven lakes in just as many miles. Yes, please. Enjoy the wildflowers among the lake and peak views. You’ll hike through forests, climb rocky paths, and cross boulder fields.

Broads Fork Trail (hard) 5.6 miles RT with 2,041 ft elevation gain

Shares the same trailhead as the iconic Lake Blanche hike but sees a fraction of the visitors. Make sure to get to the trailhead early, and you’ll be rewarded for your climbing with the rushing creek, aspen groves, and fields of blooms nestled under O’Sullivan Peak.

Little Cottonwood Canyon

If you could only choose one place to enjoy wildflowers in Utah, make this your destination. Year after year, the Albion Meadows in Alta, Utah, is just bursting with blooms, not just in quantity but in variety. It’s a rare opportunity to experience these types of blooms with so little effort.

A hike in the Albion Basin of Little Cottonwood Canyon provides the best Wildflowers hiking.

Recommended Trails:

Albion Meadows Trail (easy) 3.6 miles RT with 744 ft gain.

Sound of Music worthy fields with a kaleidoscope of color encircled by the peaks of Big and Little Cottonwood canyons. Extend this adventure by another 1.5 miles to enjoy Cecret Lake (no, that is not a typo).

Mountain reflections and fireweed blooms at Cecret Lake

Mount Wolverine via Twin Lake Pass (moderate) 5.2 miles RT with 2,047 ft elevation gain

This more challenging trail sees a fraction of the visitors of the Albion meadows because of the steep, sometimes loose rock terrain but the rewards of not just the wildflowers but bagging to mountain peaks with views of the Wasatch range and beyond are so sweet.

Mount Timpanogos

Red and Blue blooms thrive in the shadows of Mount Timpanogos

This iconic peak along the Wasatch Front can be accessed by the Alpine Loop Road (Highway 92) which is 20 miles of eye-popping views via some hairpin turns, but you wouldn’t want to rush this drive anyway because of the views. Recreation opportunities abound with Timpanogos Cave National Monument, Tibble Fork reservoir for paddling away from the summer heat, picnicking, camping, off-roading, and of course hiking. There is a $6 fee to use this recreation area. Dogs on leash are permitted.

Recommended trails:

Mount Timpanogos can be accessed by two trailheads. Both offer spectacular displays of wildflowers, waterfalls, and if you are lucky enough mountain goats. If you choose to hike past the falls on either of the below hikes you can hike all the way to the summit or here for 15 miles with 4,425 ft elevation gain or 16.8 miles RT with 5,613 ft elevation gain. Even if you don’t want to hike all the way to the summit, I suggest going a mile or two past the falls for the best displays.

Scout Falls via Mount Timpanogos Trail (moderate) 3 miles with 833 ft gain.

Timpanogos Lower Falls (moderate) 2.4 miles with 774 ft elevation gain.

Big John Flat

Trailside blooms

Most Utah natives haven’t even heard of the Tushar Mountains outside of Beaver, Utah. This is mostly a local’s playground. High above the valley floor up Utah Highway 153 and then 4 miles down forest road 123 you’ll find the meadows of Big John Flat with all their beautiful flowers. The area has dispersed camping, UTV trails, horseback riding, and of course hiking.

Recommended trails:

Mud Lake to Blue Lake (hard) 8.8 miles RT with 2,073 ft gain.

This hike has incredible views, then you descend through fir forest to this incredibly blue water. The climb back out is hard but so worth it. You need bear spray for this one.

Delano Peak (hard) 3 miles RT with 1,650 ft elevation gain.

Enjoy the wildflower meadows at Big John Flat, then get top-of-the-world views from this county’s high point peak.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks is like a mini Bryce Canyon at 10,000 ft. They hold their own wildflower festival for two weeks, typically around the last week in June and the first week in July. So after you enjoy the beautiful hoodoos and rare ancient bristle cone pine trees in the amphitheater at the Point Supreme overlook head over to the Alpine Lakes Trail for fireweed and other beautiful blooms. $10 per person or free with your America the Beautiful national parks pass. (Credit cards only)

Wildflower blooms abound around the Alpine Pond trail

Recommended trails:

Alpine Pond Trail (easy) 2.2 miles figure-eight loop with 196 ft gain.

Amphitheater views, wildflowers, and of course the pond views.

Bartizan Arch Trail (moderate) 5 miles RT with 1.148ft.

Ok, you will see a few wildflowers on this one, but the real star of this trail is the amphitheater and bristlecone pine views, Shooting Star waterfall (it thought this was an overstatement), and of course the arch itself. You don’t want to miss this one if you’re already here. Just keep in mind this is a backcountry trail so make sure you have downloaded an offline map.

Do you have plans to see some wildflowers this season let us know where you’d like to go or if you have any questions in the comments.

Other posts you may enjoy

Top Fall Hikes and Drives in Utah

Day Hiking in the Uinta Mountains

The 8 Best Frozen Waterfall Hikes in Utah

Miriam Explores and Hikes is a participant of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate programs designed to provide a means to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to their specific platforms.

The Ultimate Orcas Island Adventure Itinerary

Overlook from the Mount Constitution trail.

In this Itinerary, you will find all you need for the ultimate travel adventure in the San Juan Islands. I will cover our 5-day Itinerary, but you can easily customize it to fit your time constraints and adventure level.


Day 1: AM: Ferry to Orcas Island, Eastsound village shops, and farmer’s market

PM: Hike to Twin lakes and kayak on Mountain Lake

Day 2: AM: Whale Watching Tour

PM: Hike Turtleback Mountain and visit Orcas Island Pottery.

Day 3: AM: Kayak tour of Sucia Island State Park

PM: Hike Cascade Falls trail and Obstruction Pass State Park

Day 4: Ferry to San Juan Island and explore beaches, farms, and lighthouses by Ebike

Day 5: AM: Explore Cascade Lake and lagoon by kayak

PM: Summit Mount Constitution, Sunset and Full Moon Kayak tour of Salish Sea

Now for the details:

Day 1: Ferry to Orcas, Eastsound, and Moran State Park

Enjoying the ferry ride from Anacortes to Orcas Island is an adventure in and of itself. We chose to take one of the first ferry rides of the day so we could maximize our time on the Island. This had the added benefit of the beautiful early morning light over the Puget Sound. Get your camera out and head out to the decks for optimal picture-taking opportunities. You may even see harbor seals, eagles, or Mount Baker!

Make sure to check the ferry schedule and make a reservation well in advance so you can guarantee your spot if you are bringing a car. We opted to rent a car and bring it with us. You can also walk on the ferry and then rent a car on the island.

Ferry Ride to Orcas Island
Early morning light over the Puget Sound and Cascades.

Once our Ferry arrived at Orcas Island, we headed over to Eastsound to explore the village with its quaint shops and restaurants and enjoyed the Saturday Framer’s Market. This little market is flush with farm-fresh produce, the most amazing flowers, and local goods.

Next, we headed over to what I consider the crown jewel of Orcas Island, Moran State Park. With almost 40 miles of hiking trails, 5 freshwater lakes, and 4 waterfalls, you could easily spend the entirety of your visit just at this state park. If you plan to spend more than one day visiting the park like we did, make sure to get Washington’s state parks pass called the Discovery Pass. It’s well worth every penny and is good for an entire year at any park in Washington state.

On this day, we hike around Mountain Lake to Twin Lakes. We traipsed through old-growth forest with moss, ferns, and foxglove wildflowers, then hiked up the easy grade to Twin Lakes to enjoy our lunch with a view of Mount Constitution and lily pads over the still waters.

Twin Lakes Moran State Park
Lunch Spot at Twin Lakes in Moran State Park

After we enjoyed our lunch, we headed back down to Mountain Lake and set up our pack rafts. These are lightweight inflatable kayaks that you can travel and backpack with. However, Orcas Adventures at the Mountain Lake campground and Cascade lake rents canoes and kayaks. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the coves and islands on the lake.

Kayaking on Mountain Lake
Cove on Mountain Lake

Day 2: Whale Watching Tour, Hike Turtleback Mountain and Visit Orcas Island Pottery

Day two was probably my favorite day of the whole trip. Observing Orcas in the wild has been a bucket list item for as long as I could remember, and the Orcas sightings around the San Jauns are practically guaranteed. As a matter of fact, many companies do guarantee sightings, or you can book another trip for free. As luck would have it, we observed these magnificent creatures for an hour on our tour. You can watch a short video of our adventure here. There are many companies you can book for this adventure. We used Deer Harbor Charters.

Orca swimming by Obstruction Pass State Park

After we grabbed a late lunch back at our cabin, we headed out to hike Turtleback Mountain. Some argue that the views from Turtleback Mountain are the best in all the San Juan Island as you have the best views of the island archipelago. There are two options for Turtleback Mountain. The North trailhead to Orcas Knob is a 6 mile out and back with a 1,322 ft gain. The hike from the south trailhead is a 6.6-mile loop (1,640 ft. gain)or 2.7-mile loop (859 ft. gain) if you just want to hike to Ship’s Peak. I recommend Ship’s Peak or Orcas Knob for the best views.

View from Ship’s Peak on Turtleback Mountain

After we enjoyed our hike to stretch our sea legs, we head over to Orcas Island Pottery. This pottery studio is located on West Beach, just outside the village of Eastsound. To get to the studio, just follow the signs. Even the drive there is like entering a fairyland as you drive through old-growth cedars and Douglas firs. They sell pottery from 7 local artists in their beautiful gardens surrounded by the forest and overlooking the Salish Sea. It was enchanting. Learn more here.

Day 3: Kayak Tour of Sucia Island State Park, Cascade Falls and Obstruction Pass State Park

Today we took a Sea kayaking tour with Outer Islands Excursions to explore the waters and shores around Sucia Island. We met our guide on the dock and took a boat ride over to the island where we hopped into our sea kayaks to paddle around this beautiful place. We saw harbor seals (and their pups!), sea otters, eagles and explored remote beaches. I was pleasantly surprised that the paddling felt just like being on a lake. The water was that calm. While I know that they aren’t always as glassy as they were on this day, the waters of the Salish Sea are typically calm and easy to paddle. Although the outfitters we used did a great job, I feel like if I were to do this again, I would just rent the kayaks and do the self-guided tour. This would give us the freedom to take the time at the places we wanted to and even go a little faster than the group did so we could see explore more places around the island.

We returned to Orcas Island at three which left us enough time to boogie back over to Moran State Park to hike the Cascade Falls trail. Cascade Falls is the largest waterfall in all the San Juan Islands at 40 feet tall. This short hike is only 1.5 miles with minimal elevation change where you can see four waterfalls (Cascade, Hidden, Rustic, and Cavern falls) in the ravine surrounded by ferns, moss, and old-growth forest.

Finally, we headed over to Obstruction Pass State Park to hike the Obstruction Pass trail. This 1.4-mile loop takes you through the highland forest with intermittent balds (meadow-type areas covered with moss) to a rock-strewn beach. Here is where you can observe more wildlife and enjoy a picnic by the lapping water. Ironically, this is where we saw the Orcas just offshore during our whale watching tour just the day before.

Day 4: San Juan Island by Ebike

Orcas Island is the largest of the San Juan Islands and we feel has the most to offer in terms of outdoor adventures but on this day we planned to walk on the inter-island ferry (free!) to explore the most populous of the archipelago, San Juan, with its popular town of Friday Harbor. The ferry between Orcas and San Juan Island runs about every four hours. Make sure you consult the schedule to ensure you have as much time as you want to maximize your visit to San Juan.

After we arrived at Friday Harbor, we explored the town and shops by foot before grabbing a picnic from Spring street Deli and popping in next door at Gilligan’s Island Style Ebikes. This was definitely the way to go considering the size of the island, the hills, and the wind. We still got a great workout but were able to cover more of the island and have the energy to do some short hikes as well.

There are many different routes you can take to explore the island and Gilligan’s has maps with directions that come with your bikes so you can be confident in your exploration. I recommend either an island loop out to Lime Kiln State Park with its beautiful lighthouse and whale watching from the cliffs or the route to South Beach and Cattle Point with the beach, lighthouse, and wildlife. On both routes, you can plan on passing scenic farms (many with farm stands selling local produce and flowers), coastal views, and potential wildlife sightings.

We opted for Cattle Point which has a better shoulder and less traffic for riding. We loved enjoying the coastal views of the Olympic mountains and the waves crashing on the shore at South Beach as we enjoyed our picnic. After our picnic, we continued on to Cattle Point where we took the short hike out to the lighthouse. We saw foxes in the meadow and coastal birds soaring above the shore. On our return trip, we added on the short loop to Pear Point with its forested country roads and Jackson’s Beach.

After a full day riding, we hopped on the five o’clock ferry and got back to Eastsound in time for a lovely dinner at Kingfish overlooking West Sound watching the sunset. A positively dreamy end to our day.

Day 5: Summit Mount Constitution, Explore Cascade Lake and Lagoon by Kayak, Sunset and Full Moon Kayak Tour of Salish Sea

We had a final action packed day on the island. We began the morning by heading back to Moran State Park to kayak on Cascade Lake over to its freshwater lagoon. Cascade Lake has a small beach area, playground, picnic area, snack shop, and Orcas Adventures which has all you need to get out on the water for the day if you don’t have your own boat to paddle. Not only was Cascade lake a great place to paddle but there is a trail around the lake that many use to access the bridge between the lake and lagoon for bridge jumping. The lagoon’s still water made the perfect location for lily pads and all sorts of waterfowl to observe on the water.

After we had our fill of the lake we drove part way up Mount Constitution and began our hike at the Little Summit trailhead. This hike allows for views both at Little Summit and at the top of Mount Constitution. This hike is 5.9 miles round trip with almost 1,000 feet of elevation gain. It’s a gorgeous hike through an old-growth forest with occasional breaks in the trees for views. Mount Constitution has a tower on the summit. Don’t miss the views from this point with the interpretive signs to tell you everything on the horizon.

We ended the day with a sunset and full moon kayak tour out of Deer Harbor with Shearwater Kayak Tours. I can’t think of a more perfect way to end our time on the island watching the golden sunset over the glassy waters and the full moon rise. We got to see a ton of harbor seals and their pups on the shores of some of the tiny islands we paddled around, in addition to the sunset. Watch a short video here. This was the dreamiest, so if you are fortunate enough to time your visit with the full moon run, don’t walk, to make a reservation. I promise you won’t regret it.

Sunset over the Salish Sea

Are you ready to book your trip to Orcas Island? Hopefully, you have all you need to plan your perfect adventure. Feel free to reach out in the comments or by sending me a message. I’m always happy to help craft your perfect itinerary!

Day Hiking the Uinta Mountains

Northern Utah has so many amazing trails to hike and explore, but when the summer temperatures soar, that’s when I like to escape to the Uinta Mountain Range. With only a short 90-minute drive from downtown Salt Lake City, you can enjoy temperatures 20 degrees (or more) cooler than in the valley. The Uintas are the tallest mountain range in Utah and boast high elevation hiking, over 1000 alpine lakes, wildlife including Utah’s largest population of mountain goats, and the tallest peaks in the state. It’s the perfect place for those looking to bag a few peaks, catch some fish, or paddle to your heart’s content after enjoying some time on the trails.

The Uintas have trails for just about every ability and interest level. Here are 8 trails located off the Mirror Lake Highway (150) for a great day of exploration out of the heat.

Ruth Lake

2 miles RT, 285 ft. gain

Kayaks on Ruth Lake

Ruth Lake is the perfect hike for families. At only two miles roundtrip, everyone can enjoy the satisfaction of reaching a destination after only one mile of hiking. Once you reach the lake, you can enjoy the day on the water, fishing, floating, hanging in your hammock, and even a picnic before heading back to your car blissed out by your afternoon spent by this alpine lake.

Bald Mountain

2.9 miles RT, 1,198 ft. gain

Views from the top of Bald Mountain

I can’t think of a more perfect first-timer peak to bag. It’s challenging enough that you feel like you really accomplished a hike but approachable enough that you can hike it in a few hours. And the VIEWs. This peak has major wow factor, and you’ll have bragging rights with your friends and family. After all, the peak of this mountain is just under 12,000 feet.

Haystack Lake

5.3 miles RT, 387 ft. gain

Haystack Lake in front of it’s namesake mountain.

This hike is really one of the easiest hikes you can do for the distance because there is so little elevation change. For the first mile or so, you hike along the shore of lake Washington enjoying its beauty and the scenic view of Haystack mountain. Next, the trail begins to climb slightly to Shadow lake. For the last mile, you descend down to Haystack lake. Whenever we visited, we had the picturesque lake practically to ourselves. Aah.

Lofty Lake Loop

4.7 mile loop, 981 ft gain

Views From Lofty Pass

Arguably one of the most popular day hikes in the area. The lofty Lakes loop is well worth the hype and not to be missed. You’ll have more elevation gain than on some others, but the views you gain as you crest Lofty Pass to peer down at Cutthroat Lake are well worth the effort. If you have the desire, your can even summit Lofty Peak from the pass. Just follow the “trail” up the boulders to the peak. (I only recommend this part to experienced hikers.)

Fehr Lake

3.9 miles RT, 617 ft. gain

Lily pads on Maba Lake. My favorite on the Fehr Lake Loop

This is another great short hike, but unlike Ruth Lake, you descend down to Fehr Lake on the way in. This means you’ll need to climb back out. The cliffs on the side of Fehr lake are just stunning. If time and energy allow, you can continue on to Shepard (yes, that is the spelling), Hoover, and Maba lakes which are quieter and scenic.

20 Lake Loop

7.3 mile loop, 780 ft gain

Front to back: Twin Lakes, Wall Lake, and Trial Lake

This is one of my favorite hikes in all the Uintas! Not only do you have the mentioned twenty lakes, views of many of the surrounding peaks, but the elevation gain is a mere 780 feet over seven miles. The hike is long enough to give you a great workout or push the little ones, but the relatively little elevation gain helps the miles sail by. It can make for a great backpacking trip, and if you’re really feeling like it, you can bring something to float on the enjoy the serenity at one of the many lakes. Wall or Crystal lakes are popular choices with their proximity to the trailhead, but my personal favorites are Cliff and Three Divide lakes.

Clegg, Notch, and Bench Lakes

6.5 miles RT, 653 ft. gain

Bench Lake

This hike shares the same trailhead as Bald Mountain, and like the Fehr Lake trail, you descend down to the lakes, but with the incredible scenery and gentle grades, as you climb back out, you will hardly notice. I also really enjoy this hike because it is quieter than Lofty Lakes or the 20 Lakes Loop. Most people stop at Notch Lake, but if you continue on to Bench, you’ll have greater chances of having this beauty all to yourself.

Lake Country Trail

4.4 miles-8.4 miles RT, up to 1,107 ft gain.

Weir Lake
Weir Lake

This one is on the long side, but you can choose how many lakes you want to visit and how many miles you’d like to tackle. If you head all the way to Island lake, you’ll be in for 9 miles roundtrip, but you can choose to go only 4-6 miles by visiting either Long or Weir lakes. Weir Lake even has a few hidden waterfalls nearby you can enjoy.

Before you go:

Unlike much of the Wasatch Front, the Uintas are dog friendly, so feel free to bring Fido along.

There is a $6 per day use fee. Bring cash or a check. If you have an America the Beautiful pass, you can use this instead. They do ticket at the trailheads, so make sure to pay the fee and display your receipt to avoid a hefty fine.

As always, when out on the trail, you always want to pack your ten essentials. Mosquitos can be prevalent in June and July, so wear bug spray.

July through September is Utah’s monsoon season, and storms can approach quickly at higher elevations. Stay off the peaks in the afternoons to avoid lightning and hail. It’s a good idea to bring layers such as a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt or a waterproof jacket 

Other posts you may enjoy

Top Fall Hikes and Drives in Utah

Utah’s Best Waterfall Hikes

The 8 Best Frozen Waterfall Hikes in Utah

Miriam Explores and Hikes is a participant of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate programs designed to provide a means to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to their specific platforms.