Hop on the Silver Queen Gondola to explore miles of hiking trails atop Aspen Mountain, where wildflowers and views are breathtaking and abundant. For vehicle accessed-viewing, check out the backside of Aspen Mountain with a drive up Little Annie’s Road (a 4x4 vehicle with higher clearance is definitely recommended). The west-facing fields get plenty of sunlight, growing stacks of sunflowers and various species of Lupine. It’s an all-time spot to watch the sunset with a nice picnic basket.
Where to See Wildflowers Around Aspen Snowmass
Late May through August is the ideal time to experience the wildflowers in the Aspen Snowmass area.
Ralph Waldo Emerson quipped that “the Earth laughs in flowers.” And during the joyful months of June, July, and August in the Roaring Fork Valley, the ground sprouts with color.
There are over 500 wildflower species in Colorado, and plenty of hikes around Aspen Snowmass that make for perfect viewing opportunities throughout the summer season. Here are four of our favorite spots to cavort about in search of lupines, fireweed, columbine (Colorado’s state flower) and the rest of the rainbow.
If you really want to impress your hiking buddies, check out this app (with your purchase going to support the Colorado Native Plant Society). You’ll be calling out Tiny Trumpets, Fringed Gentian, and Orange Sneezeweeds in no time.
But, please—while photos are encouraged, it’s proper etiquette to be a respectful hiker stay on the trail, and to let the flowers be (it’s actually illegal to pick flowers on public land!). Happy hunting!
Little Annie's and Aspen Mountain
Aspen to Crested Butte
For the most in shape and adventurous, there’s nothing like the hike from Aspen to Crested Butte. This is around a six-hour journey, and a famed summertime stroll that could be the best wildflower viewing in the state. Clumps of Western Yarrow, Colorado Blue Columbine, Northern Paintbrush, Alpine Sunflowers, and more will guide your path from one town to the next.
With so many trails and open spaces in the Snowmass area and the Elk Camp Gondola running all summer long, it can be hard to choose where to go to see optimal wildflowers. Some of the best spots include Summit and Sierra Club Trails, Rabbit Run, Vista Trail, and Snowmass Way, all of which are riddled with Lupine, Indian Paintbrush, Wild Geranium, Columbine, Heartleaf Arnica, and even wild strawberry blooms in the wetter areas.
The way to Cathedral begins with Bluebell Bellflowers and Heartleaf Arnica under the aspen groves, but soon opens up into Alpine Forget-Me-Nots and Geraniums above the treeline and into the alpine, for a whole bouquet of viewing in different zones. There’s a lot of vertical to this hike, so be sure to get to it in the morning to avoid afternoon thunderstorms up high.
Tiehack on Buttermilk
Don’t be surprised if Lupine daydreams occur on this steep road hike under the Tiehack lift. The summit views are worthwhile in and of themselves, with a straight-line view of Pyramid Peak that you can only get from Buttermilk during the summer. The top of Buttermilk is also a fantastic spot to nosh a picnic sandwich by the picnic tables!