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Colorado Blue Columbine

The state flower of Colorado is the queen of the Rocky Mountains

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Colorado blue columbine (aquilegia coerulea) is one of the most beautiful wildflowers of the Rockie Mountains. Its lavender and white petals add colorful accents to the rugged landscapes of Colorado. This plant is quite rare, but at some places, you can spot hundreds of them. Columbines are often planted in the gardens where they bloom in April or May, however, the true beauty of this flower can be revealed only at Alpine meadows, aspen groves, and open forests of the Rockies. Columbines grow at elevations of 6,900 to 12,100 ft (2,100-3,700 m) and bloom from June through August, depending on elevation. The peak season is usually mid-July. You can see it grow quite tall: up to 24 inches (60 cm). The flowers are not just purple or blue. You can come across yellow, white, and pink columbines.

Montane and subalpine forests of Rocky Mountains National Park and Yampa Valley is where you can look for delicate columbine flowers. Flat Tops Wilderness Area near Steamboat Springs is famous for its wildflowers. Take a hike to Trappers Lake, and you will surely come across plenty of beautiful blooms.

Rocky Mountain columbine is quite abundant in the Gunnison area. Head to Crested Butte, which is famous for its wildflower hikes and the annual festival. You will be rewarded with plenty of columbine blooms on The Columbine Trail, which is just 4 mi (6 km) long. You can also find flowers on the Meander or Prospector trail or at the Crested Butte ski area.

San Juan Mountains and Durango is another great area with plenty of serene Alpine meadows and lakes. Ice Lakes is a must-see during the wildflower season. You will pass beautiful fields and meadows with especially vibrant blooms of the state flower. Also, Columbine Lake got its name for a reason. A turquoise lake surrounded by columbine blooms and 13,000-ft peaks is a quintessential Rocky Mountains landscape!

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen