Well, Fresh Air Fort Collins readers – wildflower season has come to an end. I’ve spent the entire 2015 wildflower season observing bloom patterns at different elevations on different trails all around Northern Colorado. I’ve taken hundreds (actually, thousands) of wildflower photos, and while I’ve not taken a photo of every flower that blooms, I feel like I’ve captured a big chunk. I also feel like I know exactly where you should go to find wildflowers and what kind of flowers you can expect to find.
After a whole year of documentation and identification, I’m not an expert, but I’m pretty damn knowledgeable about wildflowers in Northern Colorado.
August and September mark the end of the wildflower season. Gone are the speckles of blue and pink on the mountain sides; now they are replaced with sunny yellow and orange bursts of color from wild sunflowers, asters, and black-eyed susans. It’s still beautiful when you find them, especially with the golden aspen in the background, even if they are only going to be there for a short time. You may find some color at the top of Cameron Pass, but it won’t be much, and mostly on the sides of the roads or the cliffs – not the trails.
The majority of the remaining flowers are going to be in lower elevations in Poudre Canyon and in the Natural Areas within Fort Collins, like Pineridge Natural Area that snugs up next to Horsetooth. And even then, we’re gradually fading into natural grasses as the flowers have gone to seed. The change from August to September seems to happen just as fast as peak season sprung – one minute we have flowers on every trail on every mountain side, and the next minute they’re gone.
In August I found flowers everywhere – American Lakes, Trap Lake, State Forest State Park, Dadd Gulch, Pingree, and Rocky Mountain National Park.
September’s flowers are mainly alongside the roads and in the fields rather than trails.
You can check out the gallery to see the variety of flowers that I’ve seen in August and September. Feel free to reference this post along with Part 1: Early Season and Part 2: Peak Season to plan your own wildflower hunting adventures in 2016.
In conclusion, here’s a Wildflower Bloom Cycle infographic that wraps up what I’ve observed on the trails – high and low in Northern Colorado.
Until next spring with the pasque and daisies bloom!