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The Best Places to See Wildflowers and Where to Camp

by Kelsey FreyApr 12, 2022
The Best Places to See Wildflowers and Where to Camp

What’s the best part about spring? The wildflower bloom of course! Oh, and I suppose warmer weather, longer days, and continuous birdsong that reminds us it’s almost time for camping season. But back to the wildflowers. I don’t think I’m the only person that’s bloom-obsessed, as evidenced by the sheer numbers of floral photos that grace my Instagram feed every spring and summer. So if you’re as flower-obsessed as I am and you’re  wondering where the best places to see wildflowers in the U.S. are, I’ve got you covered! I scoured the ‘net and came up with some of the best spring wildflower destinations in the U.S., and even included nearby camping spots. Have at it, folks!

The Best Places to See Wildflowers in the U.S.

Please remember to practice Leave No Trace principles and stay on the trails to avoid trampling any delicate flowers. And I know it’s tempting, but refrain from picking so that others can enjoy the blooms too.

The Best Places to See Wildflowers in Arizona

Saguaro National Park

Three magenta wildflowers on a cactus at Saguaro National Park.

Saguaro (pronounced ‘suh-waa-row’) National Park is one of the best places to see flowering, you guessed it, Saguaros! These giant cacti’s iconic white flowers bloom every spring. Even if you aren’t in the park during the Saguaro bloom, you can also enjoy flowering ocotillos, prickly pear, cholla, hedgehog, and more. If you’re set on seeing spring wildflowers in the traditional sense, you’ll be pleased to find poppies, lupines, brittlebush, globe mallow, and more.

When to Visit Saguaro National Park for Wildflower Blooms

For wildflowers you can visit from March until the end of summer, with cactus blooms peaking in April and May. Saguaros flower in May and June.

Where to Camp Near Saguaro National Park

Sentinel Peak RV Park is located about 20 minutes from the park’s west entrance and 30 minutes from the east entrance.

Lost Dutchman State Park

Yellow flowers at Lost Dutchman State Park, one of the best places to see wildflowers bloom.

Check out Jacob’s Crosscut Trail with beautiful views of the Superstition Mountains if you want to see Arizona’s desert wildflowers along a relatively easy hike. Pro Tip: Go with a group so you can park one car at each end of the trail and only walk 6.5 miles instead of the full 13.

You can also go for a scenic drive to see more wildflowers on Apache Trail. You’ll see blooming chuparosas, poppies, fiddle necks, globe mallow, chuparosa, brittlebush, desert evening primrose, blue dicks, lupine, ocotillo, chicory, scorpion weed, skeleton weed, jojoba, Mormon tea, phacelia, bluebell, and more throughout this park. Check out the Arizona State Parks website first for current wildflower conditions!

When to Visit Lost Dutchman State Park for Wildflower Blooms

March and April are the best months to see blooms here.

Where to Camp Near Lost Dutchman State Park

Superstition Shadows is about 15 minutes from the park.

Picacho Peak State Park

Yellow flowers in front of a rock formation with a blue sky in the background.

If you love poppies, Picacho Peak State Park is the place to be. There are five trails in this park, ranging from difficult to easy. Check out the 0.7 mile Calloway Trail that leads to a beautiful overlook or the 0.5 mile Nature Trail. You can also see plenty of poppy blooms just by driving along the main road in the park. Pro tip: Before heading over, take a peek at the Arizona State Parks website with wildflower updates!

When to Visit Picacho Peak State Park for Wildflower Blooms

You’ll find the best blooms in this park from mid-late February to the beginning of March.

Where to Camp Near Picacho Peak State Park

Silverado RV Resort is 20 minutes from the park.

Catalina State Park

Golden poppies line a dirt path at Catalina State Park, one of the best places to see wildflowers bloom.

Try the 50-Year Trail in the back of the Equestrian Center for bright golden poppies or the Sutherland Trail for more variety. You’ll find lupine, fiddleneck, wild heliotrope, poppies, fairy duster shrubs, cream cups, desert chicory, and more wildflowers lining this trail after hiking for a couple of miles. For updates on wildflower blooms, visit the Arizona State Parks website!

When to Visit Catalina State Park for Wildflower Blooms

You’ll find the best blooms in this park in mid-March. They start later since this park typically experiences cooler weather than the other areas.

Where to Camp Near Catalina State Park

Sentinel Peak RV Park is only 30 minutes away.

The Best Places to See Wildflowers in California

Anza-Borrego State Park

Purple and white wildflowers with mountains visible in the distance at Anza-Borrego State Park.

Head to Borrego Palm Canyon Trail (a three-mile loop), the Cactus Loop Trail (0.7 miles), or along Henderson Canyon Road to see the spectacular California wildflowers! You can even call the wildflower hotline (760) 767-4684 to find out which plants are putting on a show. You may spot flowering sand verbena, mallow, fiddleneck, anemone, Indian paintbrush, yucca, and more. 

When to Visit Anza-Borrego State Park for Wildflower Blooms

March and April are the best times to see these desert flowers. They can also bloom in the summer, but hot daytime temperatures (up to 120 ºF) during this season may make for a very uncomfortable visit.

Where to Camp Near Anza-Borrego State Park

Lake Cuyamaca Recreation and Park District is about 40 minutes from the Cactus Loop Trail and an hour from the Borrego Palm Canyon Trailhead.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

Poppies at Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, one of the best places to see wildflowers.

There are multiple trails around Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, and all provide spectacular views of the bright orange sea of poppies. They also provide a number you can call for an update on the wildflowers: (661) 724-1180. Or, just check out their webcam. Know that the poppies may close in cold weather or on windy days.

When to Visit Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve for Wildflower Blooms

The poppy blooms peak from mid-March to mid-April. Late March may be the best time to visit just to be safe. 

Where to Camp Near Antelope Valley California

Los Angeles RV Resort is about 45 minutes from Antelope Valley.

Carrizo Plains

A field of purple wildflowers at Carrizo Plains with a mountain range in the distance.

You’ll find many trails and roads you can explore to find fields of flowers in Carrizo Plains. Try driving Panorama Road, Simmler Road, Pipeline Road to Quail Spring Road, Padrone Canyon Road, and the road to Travers Ranch. You’ll be treated to bright swaths of yellow, purple, and orange blooms of Hillside daisies, owl’s clover, goldfields, coreopsis, tidy tips, phacelia, and more.

When to Visit Carrizo Plains for Wildflower Blooms

Flowers are most abundant from mid-late March or early April, but you can see them from March until late May.

Where to Camp Near Carrizo Plains

Wine Country RV Resort is about an hour to Carrizo Plains.

The Best Places to See Wildflowers in Colorado

Crested Butte

Yellow and purple wildflowers line the hillside at Crested Butte.

You’ll find wildflower blooms of columbine, lupine, sunflowers, Indian paintbrush, larkspur, and more all around this mountain town nicknamed “The Wildflower Capital of Colorado.” Try the five mile Lupine Trail for, well, lots of lupine, the 6.5 mile Lower Loop Trail for bright red Indian paintbrush and brilliant purple larkspur, and 9-mile Rustler Gulch Trail for brilliant yellow sunflowers. You can even attend the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival in July.

When to Visit Crested Butte for Wildflower Blooms

Blooms are best from mid-June to the end of July.

Where to Camp Near Crested Butte

Campfire Ranch on the Taylor is about 25 minutes from Crested Butte.

The Best Places to See Wildflowers in Montana

Glacier National Park

Purple flowers on a green hillside, with a mountain and sunset in visible in the distance at Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park is a haven for wildflowers. Hike Hidden Lake Trail to see glacier lilies—a classic Montana wildflower—or the trail to Haystack Creek Falls for bright pink fireweed. You’ll find lupine almost everywhere throughout the park, in addition to beargrass, monkey-flowers, columbines, clematis, Indian pipes, alpine poppies, Indian paintbrush, and asters.

When to Visit Glacier National Park for Wildflower Blooms

Visit Glacier from late June through early August for the best views. The higher in elevation you go, the later in the season you’ll see wildflowers.

Where to Camp Near Glacier National Park

Glacier Campground is only five minutes from the west entrance of the national park.

The Best Places to See Wildflowers in New Hampshire

Sugar Hill

Lupines at Sugar Hill, one of the best places to see wildflowers bloom.

Sugar Hill is known as New Hampshire’s “Lupine Capital” and even hosts a lupine festival on the first or second weekend in June. Visit this small town to see purple, pink, white, and blue lupines all around the fields in town, most notable of which are next to Polly’s Pancake Parlor, St. Matthew’s Chapel, and the (now closed) Sugar Hill Sampler.

When to Visit Sugar Hill for Wildflower Blooms

June is peak lupine season in Sugar Hill.

Where to Camp Near Sugar Hill

Lost River Valley Campground is just 30 minutes from Sugar Hill.

The Best Places to See Wildflowers in South Dakota

Fort Pierre National Grassland

An aerial shot of green and brown fields within Fort Pierre National Grassland.

Drive along Forest Service Road 227 in this prairie habitat to look for purple coneflower, yarrow, spiderwort, daisy fleabane, and various goldenrods in Fort Pierre National Grassland.

When to Visit Fort Pierre National Grassland for Wildflower Blooms

Wildflowers bloom all throughout late spring and summer.

Where to Camp Near Fort Pierre National Grassland

New Frontier Campground & RV Park is just 30 minutes from Fort Pierre National Grassland.

The Best Places to See Wildflowers in Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A field of yellow flowers with woods in the distance at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hotspot for wildflowers. It’s even referred to as the “Wildflower National Park” because it has more species than any other North American National Park. These include the famous spring ephemerals that only appear for about two months, along with trillium, columbine, phacelia, purple violets, and more. Rich Mountain Loop is an 8.5 mile loop with a huge variety of flowers, while Porters Creek Trail has great blooms about 1.5 miles in.

When to Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park for Wildflower Blooms

Visit from February to April to see the spring ephemerals, although other flowers bloom until September. There really isn’t a bad time to visit during the spring and summer months. 

Where to Camp Near Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Grumpy Bear RV Park & Campground is just 20 minutes away from the entrance of this park.

The Best Places to See Wildflowers in Texas

Texas Hill Country

A field of blue bonnets in Texas Hill Country with a house in the background.

You’ll see in Texas Hill Country are bluebonnets (Texas’ state flower), Indian paintbrushes, purple tansy, ox-eyed daises, red poppies, and wine cup flowers. Visit Wildseed Farms all year round for blooms (and they even let you pick your own wildflower bouquet!), or drive the 13-mile Willow City Loop in Fredericksburg to see some stunning flower displays. You can also find blooms along the highways in Kerrville and fields around Brenham.

When to Visit Hill Country for Wildflower Blooms

Most wildflowers will be blooming from March-April.

Where to Camp Near Texas Hill Country

Yellowstone Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort: Fredericksburg is located right in Fredericksburg, and is only 30 minutes from the beginning of the Willow City Loop.

Read Next: The Best Campgrounds in Texas Hill Country

The Best Places to See Wildflowers in Virginia

Shenandoah National Park

Pink and white wildflowers at Shenandoah National Park, with mountains in the distance.

Skyline Drive is famous for a reason‚ and you’ll be impressed by its beautiful sweeping views of the Blue Mountains. It’s also a great place to look for wildflowers in the summer, and you’ll find mountain laurel, cow parsnips, columbines, and more. In spring, hunt for trilliums, violets, geraniums, and more along the Rose or South River.

When to Visit Shenandoah National Park for Wildflower Blooms

Blooms begin in late March and last until early fall.

Where to Camp Near Shenandoah National Park

Spacious Skies Shenandoah Valley Campground is less than 20 minutes away.

The Best Places to See Wildflowers in Washington

Mount Rainier National Park

A field of multi-colored wildflowers blooms in front of Mount Rainier, one of the best places to see wildflowers bloom.

If you’re looking for beautiful wildflower hikes, try the 1.8 mile Alta Vista Trail or the 6 mile long Skyline Trail to see some seriously stunning views and blooms, like lupine, paintbrush, mountain heather, aster, and more. Find out which wildflowers are currently blooming on the park’s website!

When to Visit Mount Rainier National Park

July and August are peak wildflower viewing months.

Where to Camp Near Mount Rainier National Park

Elkamp Eastcreek is located about 20 minutes away from the park’s entrance.

I hope this helps you prepare to see some epic blooms this spring and summer. I don’t know about you, but wildflower season is my favorite time of year. That’s a wrap! Happy wildflower hunting!

Read Next: The Best Camping Destinations for Spring

Kelsey Frey is a freelance writer and full-time traveler usually found exploring the mountains somewhere in Europe or the USA. She’s always looking for a fun hike, backpacking trip, or lake to jump into. If you’re curious about an honest account of life without a permanent address, you can follow her on Instagram @sightsbetterseen or pop over to her travel blog at Sights Better Seen to read more about her (mis)adventures.

Photo credit in order of appearance: Adobe Stock – TrekandPhoto, Kelsey Frey, Adobe Stock – Gene, Davelafontaine, Dennis, Sumikophoto, Sundry Photography, Graeme, Hale M. Kell, Bill45, Romylee, Jacob, Luis Sandoval, Nicholas & Geraldine, Kristina Blokhin, Diane