Welcome to our first wildflower hike of spring—the “M” Trail. You can expect to discover a wide variety of early spring flowers starting the last week of April, depending on the year. Snow covered the “M” Trail in April and much of May in 2008 and most flowers were two to three weeks late. Expect to see yellow bells (Fritillaria pudica), Wyoming kittentails (Besseya wyomingensis), bluebells (Mertensia spp.), larkspur (Delphinium bicolor), Western springbeauties (Claytonia lanceolata), prairesmoke (Geum triflorum), and shooting stars (Dodecatheon pulchellum). In May you will begin to see arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) covering the hillsides with fields of gold, Oregon grape (Mahonia repens), Rocky Mountain iris (Iris missouriensis), field pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta), field chickweed (Cerastium arvense), sticky geranium (Geranium viscosissimum), and lupine (Lupinus spp.), just to name a few. By June, you may still see many of these same flowers in addition to blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata), Wood’s rose (Rosa nutkana), and common yarrow (Achillea millefolium). There are flowers all summer; however most of the showier displays are in May and June.
In July, more of the summer flowers are seen including bluebells (Mertensia spp.), bladder campion (Silene vulgaris), wild hyacinth (Brodiaea douglasii), fern-leaved lovage (Ligusticum filicinum), fuzzytongue penstemon (Penstemon eriantherus), wallflower (Erysimum asperum), and others.