Best time to travel to Colorado

Lupines in Colorado

When summer comes to Rockies, it turns everything purple and blue

Best time: June–August

Lupines at the base of San Juan Mountains
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Lupines are blanketing the slopes of the Rocky Mountains every summer, coloring meadows and roadsides in blue and purple tones. Silvery lupine or Lupinus argenteus is the most common type in Colorado, although there are at least half a dozen other lupine species growing in the state. These flowers prefer sunny areas at foothills or subalpine elevations.

Lupines can grow up to 1-3 feet (0.4- 1 m) tall depending on the area. The flowers can be purple, lavender, grey, or white. On moist meadows, it can blanket large areas, while in dry soils, it doesn't grow that well. This member of the pea family can be spotted in large numbers in White River and Gunnison National Forests, especially around Crested Butte. Lupin Trail in Crested Butte is one of the most popular wildflower hikes in the area. It can be done on foot or by mountain bike. Near Silverthorne, lupines are found on Acorn Creek Trail, a moderate 3.7-mi hike with views of the Gore Range.

San Juan National Forest also boasts quite a few lupine sightings. There is a huge Lupine Meadow on the foothills of the Sneffels Mountain and more flowers near Wilson Peak.

Practical info

Where are the popular places to see lupines in Colorado?

Colorado is home to a variety of lupines, which can be seen all across the state. However, some of the most popular locations for lupine sightings include Crested Butte, San Juan National Forest, White River National Forest, and Gunnison National Forest. Additionally, a number of hiking trails, such as the Acorn Creek and Lupine Trails, offer particularly excellent sightings of these beautiful wildflowers. Show more

What is the best time to view lupines Colorado?

To see the breathtaking beauty of lupines in Colorado, it's best to visit from June through August. This is when the slopes of the Rocky Mountains are covered in blue and purple colors. However, the exact peak blooming period varies from year to year based on factors like local weather patterns, precipitation levels, and snowmelt. It is recommended that you check the local reports before planning your visit to ensure you have the best possible experience. Show more

What variety of lupine is most common in Colorado?

The silvery lupine (Lupinus argenteus) is the most common variety of lupine found in Colorado, but there are numerous other species as well. Each species has unique features and colors, and they grow well in different elevations and soil conditions. Their distribution throughout the state can vary significantly. Despite this, Colorado's diverse lupine population ensures that visitors can find beautiful ones growing in many parks, forests, and open areas. Show more

Which hiking trails show the best sightings of lupines in Colorado?

Hikers in Colorado should take advantage of the various trails that offer excellent lupine sightings. These trials include the Lupine Trail in Crested Butte, and the Acorn Creek Trail near Silverthorne. In San Juan National Forest, both Sneffels Mountain and Wilson Peak are great places to see lupines. Typically, lupines grow best in sunny areas at foothill or subalpine elevations. A hike within these environments should provide ideal viewing opportunities. Show more

What are the elevations preferred by lupines in Colorado?

While some species like the silvery lupine can grow at elevations between 4,000 and 11,000 feet, many lupines prefer sunny areas at foothills or subalpine elevations. Other species, such as the spicate lupine (Lupinus spicatus) and silky lupine (Lupinus sericeus), prefer higher elevations and grow above the treeline. Visitors to Colorado should consult the varied preferences of different species to find the best possible sighting areas of beautiful and wild lupines throughout the state. Show more

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen