One of the pleasures of summertime hiking around Timbers Resorts’ Colorado properties, Dancing Bear Aspen, The Timbers Club in Snowmass, One Steamboat Place or The Sebastian – Vail, is the dazzling floral display you’re sure to encounter. Wildflowers usually present their colorful heads mid-summer, but with the mild spring conditions throughout the state this year, they’ve been blooming weeks ahead of schedule. Don’t delay your hikes in the high country to see gems in Mother Nature’s jewelbox. At each of our luxury resorts, Owners and guests can take guided hikes with naturalists who will point out all of the variations on the trails and hillsides such as these six wildflowers.
1. Birdfoot Violet (Viola pedata)
Dainty birdfoot violet flowers are pale to dark purple with a white splash in the center of the bloom. The plant gets its name from the fact that the foliage resembles a bird’s foot. Birdfoot violet is a clumping, low-growing plant, reaching just 4 to 10 inches high with leaves that are 1 to 2 inches long. Find this violet in dry outcroppings up to 8,500 feet.
2. Blazing Star (Liatris spicata)
The fuchsia-colored, tufted flower-heads of this wildflower sit atop 3- to 4-foot-tall stems. Blazing star is an erect grower with thin, medium-green leaves. Spy this wildflower in dry, open areas at 3,500 to 8,000 feet.
3. Colorado Blue Columbine (Aquilegia coerulea)
Colorado’s state flower grows 1 to 2 feet tall and features light green foliage and blue and white spurred petals that resemble eagle’s talons. Discover this beauty at elevations of 7,000 to 12,000 feet in a variety of habitats, from aspen groves, to open woodlands, to stream-side.
4 Monkshood (Aconitum columbianum)
Spot the bright purple flowers of this wildflower at a distance. The distinctive blooms sit atop 1- to 5-foot-tall, thin stems. All parts of the plant are poisonous, so just admire the flower — no touching. Find monkshood growing up to 8,000 feet in partially shaded areas.
5. Scarlet Paintbrush (Castilleja integra)
Reaching 6 to 16 inches tall, this plant sports striking, orange-red plumes that resemble a paintbrush. The plant’s silvery-gray foliage is narrow. Locate scarlet paintbrush in woodlands at 10,000 to 12,000 feet.
6. Winding Mariposa Lily (Calochortus flexuosus)
This exotic wildflower features white to lavender petals with yellow centers and pink stamens. The plant gets its name from the fact that its grass-like foliage naturally curls, and the stems tend to twine. Leaves may be present during flowering or have withered and fallen. The plant is commonly found in dry locations at 1,600 to 6,500 feet.
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