\

Summer showers bring wildflowers! Colorado is one of the best places to view wildflowers and there are hundreds of varieties to look for! The flowers typically start emerging around late May to early June and stick around through August- peaking in July. Our guide will show you the most common varieties you will find around our home in Breckenridge. Stop and smell the flowers, and let us know what you find!

As tempting as it might be, please resist the urge to pick wildflowers; our environment depends on them! Leave them for the next person (insect or animal) to enjoy. We can all do our part to Leave No Trace.

Columbine

Aquilegia Caerulea

The Colorado Blue Columbine is the Colorado state flower! Growing in mountainous regions across the state, the Colombine will grow five, pointed outer petals and five, rounded inner petals with yellow stamens on the inside.

Fireweed

Chamaenerion Angustifolium

This flower gets its name for its tendency to be the first flower to return after an area has been affected by wildfire. It grows stalks up to six feet high with purplish-pinkish flowers. The fireweed tends to make its appearance in mid- to late-summer.

Chiming Bells

Mertensia Ciliata

Chiming Bells feature small blue flowers with a distinctive bell shape- they are also known as Blue Bells. They tend to grow lower to the ground and prefer semi-shady meadows.

Rocky Mountain Bee Plant

The Rocky Mountain Bee Plant is a show-off! Its beautiful pink flowers grow in bright, showy bunches on stalks that can be four feet high. You might have guessed by the name, but they are a favorite of bees and other pollinators.

Castilleja

Castilleja Linariaefolia

Also known as Indian Paintbrush, the Castilleja is a very common wildflower you will see around Breckenridge. It comes in a few different varieties, but sits low to the ground with a bright red or pink flower that looks somewhat like a paintbrush dipped in paint!

Larkspur

Delphinium Nuttallianum

A type of delphinium, the Larkspur has flowers with five blue or violet petals. Typically one petal points upward, giving the flower a starlike appearance. These flowers will be at lower mountain elevations from the foothills to montane regions.

Wild Blue Flax

Linum Lewisii

The Wild Blue Flax is very common in a variety of ecosystems throughout the state. The plant sits close to the ground but can grow up to two feet tall. The flowers are small and vibrant with five, blue petals.

Lupine

Lupinus Argenteus

Lupine will have stalks with small, nearly circular blue or purplish flowers. The large lupine plants that you see around town and resorts are cultivated, the lupine you will see while hiking will be smaller varieties.

Scarlet Gilia

Ipomopsis Aggregata

The Scarlet Gilia has many names- Trumpet Flower, Scarlet Trumpet, Fairy Trumpet, and more. But all of its names are inspired by the trumpet-like shape of its lovely, red flowers. The Scarlet Gilia is a favorite of hummingbirds.

Calypso Orchid

Calypso Bulbosa

The Calypso Orchid, also known as the Fairy Slipper, is one of a few species of orchid native to Colorado. This flower is very rare so keep an eye out! They like to grow in bunches in shaded, wooded areas.

One-Sided Penstemon

Penstemon Strictus

There are many, many varieties of penstemon that grow wild in Colorado, but the one-sided is one of the most common. Their stalks grow about one to two feet tall and their blue or violet flowers appear on one side of the stalk.

Old Man of the Mountain

Tetraneuris Grandiflora

The Old-Man-Of-The-Mountain is one of the common varieties of alpine sunflower that you will find while hiking. This plant prefers higher elevations and will be found in the alpine to tundra regions. They are bright, showy, and hard to miss with their vibrant yellow sunflowers!

Mountain Harebell

Campanula Rotundifolia

Mountain Harebell, a variety of campanula, has a long, dainty stem with a blue-ish, violet bell-shaped flower dangling off the end. You will find Mountain Harebell in subalpine regions and they grow all summer long!

Fleabane

Aster Alpinus

Fleabane, also known as Alpine Daisy Plants, grow all summer long and are very common in Summit County. Look for their pinkish, purplish petals and bright yellow center- they’re hard to miss!

Yarrow

Achillea Millefolium

Yarrow can be found in most lower elevations and prefer to grow in open meadows. They have long stalks with bunches of small, dainty flowers. The flowers are most commonly white, but can also be yellow or pink. Look for the fuzzy leaves along the stalks!

Oriental Poppy

Papaver Orientale

While the Oriental Poppy isn’t native to Breckenridge, they are famous in town! The plant grows in large bunches, and its long stalks end with an enormous red or pink poppy flower. Miners brought these flowers to Breckenridge, which is why you will find them around historic homes in the area!

Wild Rose

Rosa Woodsii

Wild Rose grow in large bushes that can grow several feet wide. The flowers are fairly small, only about one to two inches across, and are pale pink. Admire these beauties, but be careful- their stems are thorny!

Wild Iris

Iris Missouriensis

Wild Iris loves to grow in wet, marshy areas! Its large purple head, with floppy leaves and petals are nearly identical to the cultivated versions you will find in gardens. This flower tends to bloom in early to mid-summer.

Monkshood

Aconitum Columbianum

Monkshood is a unique flower with a hooded shape as the name suggests. The flowers are a deep bluish-purple most commonly but can be found in white or green as well.  These plants like to live in marshy areas or near a watersource.

Wild Strawberry

Fragaria Virginiana

The Wild Strawberry plant is common in our area and a favorite of the little critters that call this place home! The flower has small white petals and a yellow center. The plant grows long, trailing shoots and grows close to the ground.

Firecracker Penstemon

Penstemon Barbatus

Another variety of penstemon that can be found in Breckenridge, the Firecracker Penstemon has long stalks with red tubular flowers displayed on one side. Their flowers are super vibrant and very common all around Summit County- you’re sure to spot them!

Elephant Head

Pedicularis Groenlandica

Elephant Head are named after their distinctive shape- the petals look just like big elephant ears and trunk! They grow in bunches along a long stem with pinkish-purple flowers. Keep an eye out for this special wildflower while traveling through wet, marshy areas.

Alpine Phlox

Phlox Condensata

These little wildflowers grow at higher elevations in the subalpine and alpine regions. Alpine Phlox grows in small, ground cover plants and has delicate white flowers- usually with five petals.

Sky Pilot

Polemonium Viscosum

Sky Pilot, also known as Jacob’s Ladder, grows bunches of blue or occasionally white flowers at the end of long stems. They grow in the alpine region. Smell these flowers with caution, their strong musky smell has earned them their less appealing nickname- Skunweed.

Related Articles