Best time to travel to Washington

Lupine Bloom

The main attraction of vast subalpine meadows and mountain slopes

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Last updated: by Olha Savych
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Every spring, the lupine bloom colors the meadows and slopes across the state of Washington purple. Large-leaved lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus) and canyon lupine (Lupinus latifolius) are among the most common of more than 20 varieties growing in the state. The first clusters of flowers appear on lower elevations in April, and the bloom continues through May and summer months. This native plant of North America belongs to the pea family and is known for enriching soils with nitrogen, improving their fertility. Lupine typically has purple or blue flowers and grows to 3.2 ft (1 m).

Native lupine in bloom on public lands east of Goldendale 2020
Native lupine in bloom on public lands east of Goldendale

Eight species of lupine are found in the Columbia River Basin on the border between Washington and Oregon. Lupines are especially abundant at low and mid-elevations of the Columbia River Gorge. Namely, plenty of flowers grow by Rowland Lake, Dalles Mountain Road, near the Dalles Bridge, and on the public lands east of Goldendale.

Mount Rainier National Park 2020
Mount Rainier National Park
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More scenic lupine fields can be discovered at Mount Rainier National Park in a 1.5 hours drive southeast of Seattle. One of the world's top wildflower watching spots offers many beautiful trails and lookouts with millions of flowers: Grand Park, Berkeley Park, Dege Peak, the Trail of the Shadows, the Rampart Ridge Trail, Skyline Trail, Reflection Lakes, and more. Keep in mind that on higher elevations flowers bloom later into summer.

Lupine of the Skagit 2020
Lupine of the Skagit

Scenic places to spot lupines in the state also include Olympic National Park, Skagit Valley, and the Fitzner/Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology Reserve (ALE).