Beautiful wildflowers surrounding an alpine lake in southwest Colorado. Photo Credit: Dean_Fikar (iStock).

Beautiful wildflowers surrounding an alpine lake in southwest Colorado. Photo Credit: Dean_Fikar (iStock).

Spring is in full swing in Colorado and many outdoor recreation enthusiasts are starting to wonder when wildflowers will dot the landscape.

It all depends on the snowpack and the snowmelt.

Big winter snow often means big summer blooms, though late snowmelt can delay a bloom. As the snowpack starts to melt, the wildflower season will unfold as the spring and summer months hit.

"The deeper the snow, the longer the time until snowmelt was complete and the later the date of first flowering," according to the University of Colorado Boulder. "In addition, the deeper the snow, the greater the number of flowers."

There are three bloom seasons in Colorado: April to June, June to August (which tends to be the peak), and August through October.

Wildflower season fluctuates each year. There are many factors to consider such as precipitation and elevation. High elevation blooms occur much later in the season, typically around July and August. 

Data below from the United States Department of Agriculture shows the current snowpack conditions.

The snow-water-equivalent is at 87 percent of norm in the Laramie and North Platte basins. The Arkansas, Upper Rio Grande, and South Platte basins are at or above 92 percent of the norm. Conditions are much lower in the Yampa and White, Upper Colorado Headwaters, Gunnison and San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan basins, all under 80 percent of normal.

Map courtesy of United States Department of Agriculture.

Map courtesy of United States Department of Agriculture.

Despite recent snow, the majority of Colorado continues to experience some level of drought, with an estimated 4,633,536 residents living in drought areas. These conditions could present a challenge for plant growth, including wildflowers.

While it may not be the most promising year for a super bloom, the wildflowers are still likely to appear in levels worth seeking out.

Crested Butte is known for its wildflowers. The mountain town is referred to as the official "Wildflower Capital of Colorado," bursting in color from wildflower species of columbine, lupine, sunflowers, Indian paintbrush, and larkspur.

For big beautiful blooms, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is another spectacular area for catching the colors. 

Breanna Sneeringer writes about news, adventure, and more for OutThere Colorado as a Digital Content Producer. She is an avid adventure seeker and wildflower enthusiast. Breanna joined OutThere Colorado in September 2018.


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