By Michael Lanza

On a sunny, spring afternoon, we hiked through lush, quiet forest up the steep Dog Mountain Trail, on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. After climbing more than 2,000 vertical feet (the trail ascends a calf-pumping 2,800 feet in three miles to the summit), we broke out of the shade of trees onto slopes carpeted with one of the best wildflower displays you’ll see anywhere. Climbing higher still, we got sweeping views across the gorge to the snow and glaciers of Mount Hood. But the wildflowers stole the show.

List your top five favorite attractions you hope to see on a hike. Are blooming wildflowers on your list? They’re on mine. Wildflowers breathe life into a stunning landscape. They signal the serendipity of our timing, because they flower for such a brief time every year. And beautiful wildflowers sure can make a photograph pop.

I’ve assembled this slideshow of my favorite wildflower photos, from places like Mount Rainier, Grand Teton, Glacier, ZionJoshua Tree, Glacier Bay, Olympic, and North Cascades national parks, the Glacier Peak Wilderness, Oregon’s Eagle Cap Wilderness, the Columbia Gorge in Washington and Oregon, New Hampshire’s Presidential Range and Carter Range, Mount Hood’s Timberline Trail, and Idaho’s Sawtooths, Smoky Mountains, City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park. I’ve included photos from as far off as Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park and as close to my home as the Boise Foothills.

I hope these photos inspire you to visit one or more of these places, most of which you’ll find a story about at The Big Outside by searching on the place name or clicking links in the above paragraph; other stories will follow. See also my All Trips page for ideas for your next adventure.

 

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