8 Campgrounds for Spring Wildflower Viewing
By Jessica Sanders
It's never too early to dream of spring flowers peeking out of the ground and scattering color on a gray winter landscape, especially if you want to plan a trip to view wildflowers. For an unforgettable display, plan ahead and pitch your tent at one of these eight campgrounds, where you can see a variety of colorful plants, both in the park and nearby.
In the spring months, bright wildflowers are contrasted by mysterious black volcanic buttes that jut into the bright blue sky. For the best view of these spring flowers, take a peaceful walk along nature trails that wind through the blue oak woodlands. Bring your horse and trek through the nearby equestrian trails at Burris Creek where wildflowers are also abundant.
Look for: California poppies, baby blue eyes and fiddlenecks
Take a trip to this desert state park in the early spring months, February and March, for stunning views of wildflowers across the park. During the day, dirt trails are aglow with flowers along the side of the path. In the evening, purple and pink flowers blend into the bright sky, lit with the last few bits of sun.
Look for: Pincushion, whispering bell and wishbone plant
Come in late April to get the best view of spring wildflowers and take part in Wildflower Weekend. Not only will you camp for a discounted rate, but you can also take guided wildflower walks through the park and learn about what you're seeing.
Look for: Rue violet, Kentucky bluets and pawpaw
Head to the Grayback Meadows for a scenic walk along trails lined with late spring flowers, standing tall in the afternoon sunshine. Take a hike up Grayback Mountain to see more wildflowers and a stunning summit view. These late spring flowers can be seen after May 1, when the campground reopens for the year.
Look for: Rockslide yellow fleabane, twinflower sandwort and dwarf clover
Come to the Great Smoky Mountains for wildflower viewing, considered to be some of the best in the country. Take the 6.5-mile Smokemont Loop trail, which leads to the Bradley Fork trail, where wildflowers are sitting on the forest floor in February and March. Late spring flowers, such as umbrella leaf and rue anemone, bloom at higher elevations.
Look for: Hepaticas, violets and foam flower
This campground is located on the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway, which is known for its abundance of wildflowers in the spring. With a four-wheel drive car, travel along the rugged roads, and watch wildflowers blend in with the passing scenery. Be sure to get out and walk around, so you can explore the beauties up close.
Look for: Tufted hairgrass, Colorado blue columbine and Jacob's ladder
This large Texas park is home to a variety of spring wildflowers that brighten up the drab desert landscape. Come between February and May, and cruise along the Maxwell Scenic Drive for the best views.
Look for: lavender cenio blossoms, Ocotillo ruby and bluebonnets
Come to Brown County in late April to enjoy the Wildflower explosion. Take part in a number of hikes, walks, birding adventures and more with fellow outdoor enthusiasts.
Look for: Lady-fern, adder's-tongue and spleenwort
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Jessica Sanders is the Associate Online Editor for ReserveAmerica.com. After many years of camping and hiking in the Northeast, she's exploring what the West has to offer and sharing all of her knowledge with you. She's a s'mores master, campsite connoisseur, writer, runner and lover of all things outdoors. Follow her on Google+.