Wonderful Wildflowers Across the Country

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The first full week in May is National Wildflower Week. To celebrate, we’ve compiled wildflower images from Share the Experience photo contest participants. From fiery reds and oranges to majestic purples, these photos capture a rainbow of beautiful blossoms in forests, parks, and monuments across the country. If you’re inspired to explore the nation’s many diverse and colorful blooms within these federal lands, we’ve provided links to nearby camping locations.

Remember to practice Leave No Trace principles when you are exploring – leave what you find, stay on designated trails, pack out your trash, and respect wildlife – so that everyone can enjoy these incredible blooms for years to come.

Discover places to enjoy beautiful wildflowers this spring and summer

Shoshone National Forest


Vibrant red, yellow, and purple wildflowers bloom under the towering peaks of the Wind River Range.

Shoshone National Forest (Matt Meisenheimer, Share the Experience)

Just east of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Shoshone National Forest boasts grandeur and beauty with fewer crowds. Follow U.S. Highway 14/16/20 along the North Fork of the Shoshone River for some of the best wildflower viewing in the region. Visit the Buffalo Bill Historical Center to help plan your trip.

In the spring, look for glacier lily, spring beauty, and wild strawberry in the open meadows. Under the forest canopy you’ll find lupine and arnica. On the slopes you’ll find arrowleaf balsamroot, phlox, Wyoming paintbrush, and gentians. Other show-stoppers include yellow monkey-flower, Lewis’s monkey-flower, elephant’s head, blue penstemon, and small-flowered penstemon.

Carrizo Plain National Monument


Steep hills appear painted by yellow, orange, and purple wildflower blooms.

Carrizo Plain National Monument (Juergen Liebig, Share the Experience)

Carrizo Plain National Monument is one of the best kept secrets in California. Only a few hours from Los Angeles, the Carrizo Plain offers visitors a rare chance to be alone with nature. Some visitors say you can "hear the silence." The plain is home to diverse communities of wildlife and plant species including several listed as threatened or endangered and is an area culturally important to Native Americans.

There are two tours available for advance reservation to experience the curiously beautiful natural and human-made features of Carrizo Plain. Select from Painted Rock Guided or Self-Guided Tours, or the Saucito Ranch Tour, for a more in-depth experience of the area.

Share the Experience contestant Juergen Liebig took this beautiful shot of a “super bloom” that transformed these hills into a “carpet of colors.”

Navarro Mills Lake


Vibrant violet bluebonnet flowers on the shore of a lake.

Wolf Creek Campground (Casey Soper, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Looking to brighten up your late winter? Liberty Hill and Wolf Creek Parks are two of the favorite viewing areas for wildflowers at Navarro Mills Lake. The brilliant array of native wildflowers draws visitors from all over to the Navarro Mills Lake area during the spring. Bluebonnets, paintbrushes, and a myriad of other native plants transform the winter landscape into an incredible palette of colors.

Chugach National Forest


Vibrant purple and yellow blooms on the banks of a lake and glacier.

Chugach National Forest (Emily Traub, Share the Experience)

The Chugach National Forest is full of special places, from the Kenai Peninsula to Prince William Sound, to the eastern shores of the Copper River Delta.

Choose from among 51 cabins, campgrounds, or day-use areas that may be reserved on Recreation.gov, providing access to stunning scenery, abundant wildlife and unforgettable experiences.

Emily Traub captured this image of Portage Lake and Glacier after a tough hike from a nearby campground on an unusually warm July day.

Blue Ridge Parkway

North Carolina and Virginia

Purple and yellow wildflowers bloom in a green field.

Blue Ridge Parkway (Norman Lathrop, Share the Experience)

From spring until fall, wildflowers steal the show along the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway through the Appalachian Mountains. The Craggy Gardens area in North Carolina offers three great trails to stretch your legs along the Parkway. The Craggy Gardens Trail and Craggy Pinnacle Trail offer short walks but sweeping views of rhododendron, gnarled sweet birch trees, wildflowers, and the surrounding mountains. For a longer hike, the strenuous but rewarding Douglas Falls Trail (8 mi / 12.9 km) follows the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MTS) to the 70-foot (21 m) Douglas Creek Falls.

Norman Lathrop captured these gorgeous wildflowers in bloom along the Blue Ridge Parkway in late July near the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center.

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