Summer, Summer Guides

5 Best Summer Wildflower Hikes

Want to experience the unrivaled beauty of the Rocky Mountains? You’ve come to the right place! Winter Park is a summertime destination for flourishing ecosystems, scenic views, and vibrant fields of wildflowers unique to the high alpine environment. While you can spot wildflowers just about anywhere, these five hikes are our favorite spots for flower peeping. Ranging from streamside strolls to rewarding treks, there’s a trail here for every crew.

1. Lower Roof of the Rockies & Fantasy Meadow

Wildflowers trail side in Winter Park.

This route is a Winter Park classic — and for good reason! Take a scenic ride on The Gondola before exploring meadows of wildflowers and gorgeous vistas on this 5.2-mile, round-trip hike.

How to Get There: Ride The Gondola up before walking the road behind Sunspot. The trail will be on your right.

2. Lower to Upper Roof of the Rockies

This is a more challenging version of Lower Roof. Hike at over 11,000 feet to experience wildflowers above treeline on this 3.4-mile loop. Plus, you can bring your pup!

How to Get There: Ride The Gondola up before walking the road behind Sunspot, follow the Lower Roof trail until it splits, and go left. 

3. Jim Creek

Jim Creek is a 7.5-mile, out-and-back hike with a stunning waterfall along the way. The hike runs parallel with Jim Creek, which creates the perfect environment for gorgeous wildflowers and wildlife sightings — moose included! Just remember to keep your distance and respect all the wildlife you see on your excursion.

How to Get There: The trailhead is across Highway 40 from the Vintage Hotel. Park in the lot and follow signs to the trail. Pups are welcome but must be on a leash.

4. Columbine Lake

Columbine Lake wildflower trail

A 6.8-mile round trip hike, this beautiful route will take you to a stunning, tree-lined lake in a basin on Mount Neva. Columbine Lake provides gorgeous views of wildflowers and a peaceful, high alpine environment where you can unplug and recharge.

How to Get There: You can access the trailhead northeast of Winter Park on County Road via CR 84/ FSR 129 in Tabernash.

5. Second Creek – Broome Hut

Second Creek on the trail to Broome Hut

This 17.2-mile round-trip trek includes 4 miles of hiking above treeline and incredible views of wildflower meadows. Stop at the Broome Hut for a mid-hike break before hiking back down to the resort for delicious pints and bites at Sundog Taproom!*

*You’ll need to drive back to the trailhead if you hike down to the Village. We suggest bringing two cars and parking one at the resort before heading to the trailhead.  

How to Get There: From the top of Berthoud Pass heading to Winter Park, the trailhead is located at the fourth hairpin turn. There is an obvious turnout with a sign for Second Creek Trail.

A Few Tips For Responsible Wildflower Enjoyment

We get it! It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when you’re viewing incredible sights like these. However, others want to enjoy these flowers as much as you do. In fact, wildlife rely on the pollen as a crucial part of their ecosystem. So, while you’re out hiking and snapping your best Instagram photos yet, please remember to:

  • Keep the flowers in the ground. The best souvenirs from your trip are photos.
  • Stay on the trail. While you might want to frolic through the fields, stay on the trail to prevent damage to natural habitats.
  • Give wildlife their space. If you see wildlife (including insects) on your hike, keep a respectful distance and admire them from afar. Remember, this is their home.

Now, Let’s Go Hike!

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