These are my choices for easy, kid- and family-friendly hikes to make the most of the wildflowers you'll see on the trails this week.
Obviously, this isn't an exhaustive, all-encompassing list, so don't be upset if I miss your favorite place — wildflowers are ubiquitous in Colorado, the higher elevations are just starting to bloom. The following hikes are all kid- and family-friendly — check each site for dog rules — and I have done all of them within the past week to be able to offer the most up-to-date information.
Any trail inside the park will give good results, but the Yucca and Mesa Trails on the Mesa, at the northwest corner of the park, has prickly-pear cactus, spiderwort, salsify, Paintbrush, Morning glory and more.
Red Rocks Canyon Open Space:
Like Palmer Park, almost any trail is good here, but my favorite for wildflowers is the Sand Canyon Trail, especially towards the far south end. Prickly-pear cactus, Paintbrush, Mariposa Lily, Morning Glory and Golden Pea are all in bloom.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park:
On a recent hike on the Talon, South Talon and North Talon trails (about 7.5 miles if you do all three), I observed Prickly-Pear cactus, Mariposa Lily, Spiderwort, Mountain Harebell, King's Crown, Chiming bells, wild Roses, wild geraniums, Paintbrush, asters, thistle, Morning Glory and more. Also one of the most scenic trail routes in the area and not nearly as crowded at most city parks. Entrance fees do apply.
Aiken Canyon Preserve:
The 3.5-mile loop trail has a little bit of everything. Prickly-pear cactus, Mariposa Lily, Morning Glory, Paintbrush and fields of various white and yellow wildflowers. Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday only.
Rainbow Gulch/Rampart Reservoir:
Often overlooked, but also often one of the best places to see a wide variety of wildflowers, Rainbow Gulch is my
top choice for wildflower viewing this weekend. On a hike there a few days ago, I saw Irises, wild geraniums, wild roses, Columbines, Salsify, sunflowers of various varieties, paintbrush, shooting stars, cinquefoils, harebells, Mariposa Lily and many other flowers.
Happy trails and flower viewing!
Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for over 24 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you've no doubt noticed, wildflowers are popping up all over the Pikes Peak region. I've been watching the wildflower conditions and I think this is the perfect weekend to take a wildflower hike. Many varieties of flowers are in bloom, and some, such as sunflowers, are just starting to show up.