As the chills and snowstorms of winter give way to the climbing temperatures and rain of spring, something magical is happening.
People are starting to spend more time outside, the air is regaining its natural sweet smell and, yes, wildflowers are blooming. These incredible displays can be seen in many areas around the country, but some of the very best displays can be found in the national parks.
Unlike the curated and constructed beauty of organized gardens, wildflower displays have a strikingly haphazard appeal. Bunches of flowers scattered naturally throughout a field, with a mountainous backdrop is truly an amazing sight. The timing and quality of the blooms may vary from year to year, but that just makes their presence even more spectacular.
Check online or call a visitor’s center to get the scoop on the best bloom spots, as they tend to change quickly throughout the season and then visit one of these 11 national parks with amazing wildflower blooms.
Joshua Tree National Park—California
This park, larger than the state of Rhode Island, is home to both the Mojave and Colorado Deserts. Set at different elevations, these deserts have their own unique ecosystems with diverse species of plants and animals. The different elevation throughout the park cause flowers to bloom at different times, with the low elevation flowers blooming earlier than higher elevation flowers. Catch a glimpse of the Desert Five-Spot or the Teddy Bear Cholla at the low elevation of Pinto Basin from February to early April and head to higher ground to see blooms in April and May.
Acadia National Park—Maine
Rugged coastline, woodlands, mountains, lakes and islands—Acadia National Park has it all and while it’s not the biggest park around, it is home to a wide array of flora and fauna. Trekking through woodlands, you’ll likely come upon native woodland flowers like the Wild Lily-of-the-Valley, the Bluebead Lily (which is mostly yellow) and the Bunchberry. Visit in August and September to see the Asters and Goldenrods in full bloom and be sure not to miss the Wild Gardens of Acadia. The gardens have been curated for more than 50 years to preserve the natural flora and are now home to roughly 300 labeled plants and flowers.