Travel & Outdoors

Best WA Wildflower Hikes

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credit: David McNew/Getty Images

Little crocuses are beginning to bloom, giving away the first signs of spring. During spring and summer, Washington’s wildflowers are a beautiful sight for photographers, campers and hikers.

Klickitat Rail Trail
Lyle, WA 98635
http://www.wta.org

According to the Washington Trails Association, the Klickitat Trail is a pleasant walk along the nationally-designated Wild and Scenic Klickitat River and an old railroad bed that once went from the Columbia River town of Lyle to Goldendale. Enjoy the golden hills, the swift-flowing river that is a favorite of kayakers and spring wildflowers that begin bursting forth as early as February. To get there: Drive SR 14 east from Vancouver about 70 miles to the town of Lyle. Park just east of the Klickitat River Bridge on the north side of SR 14 at the Klickitat Trail trailhead, marked by a sign and a privy.

Mount Rainier National Park
55210 238th Ave E
Ashford, WA 98304
http://www.nps.gov

According to the US National Park Service, Mount Rainer’s renowned wildflowers bloom for a limited amount of time every year. The “peak” bloom for wildflowers is heavily dependent on weather and precipitation patterns, so accurate predictions are difficult. In most years, many flowers will be blooming by mid-July, and by the first of August the meadows should be very impressive. Frost can occur by late August, but even after light frosts the meadows continue to be very beautiful, thanks to changing leaf colors and seed pod development that take the place of colorful blossoms.

RainierVisitorsGuide.com suggests the Emerald Ridge Trail (17.2 miles). Starting from the Puyallup River trailhead (near the Nisqually entrance), the trail climbs over 2100 feet to Emerald Ridge, named for its emerald green subalpine meadows. During late July and
August the meadows showcase a variety of brilliantly colored flowers. The first 1.5 miles of trail climbs gradually through old-growth forest to the South Puyallup Camp.

Mt. Si
North Bend, WA
http://www.mountsi.com

Mount Si is a popular hiking destination located in North Bend, WA.According to SeattleBackpackersMagazine.com, about 4 miles up the trail from the parking lot, you’ll reach “a sun-filled summit basin that is brimming with wildflowers and rocky outcroppings, featuring views of the Cascades and the Eastside”.

Getting there: I-90 take exit 32. Turn left to pass over the freeway and drive .5 miles to North Bend Way. Turn left and in .25 miles turn right onto Mount Si Road. Continue along the road for 2.5 miles. The parking lot will be on the left.

Mount Constitution/Moran State Park
Orcas Island, WA
http://www.visitsanjuans.com

If you want the challenge of a steep hike and the reward of breathtaking views, grab your hiking boots and a packed lunch and head to Mount Constitution in Moran State Park, the highest point in the San Juan Islands — 2,409 feet, according to VisitSanJuans.com It’s not a hike to be rushed, however, as there is a lot to appreciate on the way up. Hike from the cool shade of old-growth forest to sunshine and wildflowers in alpine meadows.

Olympic National Park
600 E Park Ave
Port Angeles, WA 98362
http://www.nps.gov

According to the US National Park Service, in 1988, Congress designated 95% of Olympic National Park as Wilderness. The 1964 Wilderness Act directs federal agencies to manage wilderness so as to preserve its wilderness character. Mount Ellinor is the most easily accessible peak in Washington’s Olympic National Park. About a 3 mile hike to the summit will afford you views of old growth forests, and beautiful flora and fauna. Sub-alpine wildflowers dance in the wind during spring and summer. The USNPS estimates that thousands of folks will take a day hike along the trails of the Olympic National Park this year.

Getting there: Drive south to Olympia and access U.S. 101 there. Or cross the Puget Sound using the WA State Ferry System.

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