Traffic jams are rare in Utah, instead, celebrate the jam of flowers that pop each mid-summer. Or should we say late summer this year? 65 feet of snow fell in Utah this winter, surprisingly, all this snow makes for a unique and more dramatic wildflower show. Maura Olivos, Alta Ski Area’s Environmental Center Sustainability Coordinator confirmed that a big winter and wet spring makes for a shorter wildflower bloom season, yet hikers are rewarded as flowers can actually show off brighter colors than normal. While photographers can hope to capture these vivid pedals, expect over 200 different blooms at once. This is a phenomenon that doesn’t exist most summers because this year's shorter growing season promises to collide, early and late summer blooms.
Kicking off the blooms, Big and Little Cottonwood canyon celebrate the arrival of summer’s flowers this weekend with the Wasatch Wildflower Festival held July 29 - 31. If you miss the festival, no worries, as there is still plenty of time to catch the color. Joni Dykstra, Alta Lodge’s marketing director assures that “People are in for a treat this year because flowers should be out the entire month of August.” Olivos pointed out that the next couple of weeks will burst different varieties of the ever popular Indian Paintbrush and Penstemon.
Mountain Bluebell Indian Paintbrush Monument Green Gentian
Take away a few tips for packing in the most wildflowers on your summer hike:
- Stay at elevations around 8500 feet or lower to view flowers in early August.
- The second week to mid August will produce wildflowers above 8500 feet.
- Small children and grandparents will enjoy a low angle walk around Alta’s transfer tow.
- Enthusiastic hikers should head to Catherine’s Pass and Twin Lakes Pass between Alta and Brighton. Amazing views and bountiful colors await.
- Look for Lewis’ Monkeyflower near streams.
- Grab Saturday lunch or Sunday brunch at the Alta Lodge.
- Take time to smell the flowers, life moves slower in the mountains.
Please stay on trails and roads and do not pick the flowers. While it is tempting to take a bouquet of flowers home, only take pictures, as the flowers need to seed to reproduce for years to come.