Thursday, July 18, 2024

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6 Vancouver Area Hikes For Incredible Wildflowers

Wildflower meadows in Garibaldi Provincial Park. Photo: Taryn Eyton/HappiestOutdoors.ca

Summer in the mountains is short but incredibly colourful. As the snow melts, the sub-alpine meadows come to life with a rainbow of wildflowers. Since the best blooms are above the treeline, you’ll have to put in some sweat to see them. Here are our picks for six Vancouver area hikes that have incredible wildflowers.

 

Safety First

AdventureSmart recommends bringing a backpack with essential safety and first aid gear on every hike. Check the forecast and pack extra clothing for the weather. Leave a trip plan so someone knows where you are going and when you will be back.

 

Wildflower Hiking Tips

  • Stay on the trail. Wildflowers are very fragile and can take years to produce a blossom. An errant footstep can be enough to kill the whole plant.
  • Please don’t pick the flowers. Leave them for other hikers to enjoy, as well as for wildlife like bees, deer, rodents, and birds who depend on them for food.
  • Late July and early August are the best time to see wildflowers in the mountains, but the peak bloom changes each year with weather and snowpack conditions. Check trail reports and social media posts to see if the flowers are in their prime.
  • When you’re on the trail, the best places to look for wildflowers are subalpine meadows or alongside streams.
  • Download a plant ID app like Seek or iNaturalist, or bring a wildflower book to help you identify the wildflower species you spot.

 

Elk Mountain, Chilliwack

The steep trail to Chilliwack’s Elk Mountain is primarily in the forest. But the effort to get to the summit is worth it – you’ll enjoy incredible views of the surrounding mountains and Chilliwack farmland. And the ridge stretching from the summit of Elk Mountain to nearby Mount Thurston is covered in gorgeous wildflowers. More info: Outdoor Vancouver

 

Flora Pass, Chilliwack

You’ll find Flora Pass high above Chilliwack Lake in Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park. To get there, ascend the switchbacks on the Flora Lake Trail. About 2/3 of the way up, you’ll break out of the trees and cross several avalanche slopes, dotted with wildflowers. Keep climbing towards the pass for even better wildflower meadows and panoramic views. More info: Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park

 

Heather Trail, Manning Park

Manning Park’s Heather Trail starts at a high elevation parking lot, so you get into wildflower meadows almost immediately. The entire trail is 21 kilometres one-way, which is too far for most hikers. Instead, aim to turn around at Buckhorn Campsite or the summit of Three Brothers. This is a very popular trail in peak wildflower season, so try to visit midweek if possible. More info: E.C. Manning Provincial Park

Wildflowers on the Heather Trail in Manning Park

Wildflowers on the Heather Trail in Manning Park. Photo: Taryn Eyton/Happiestoutdoors.ca

 

Mount Strachan, West Vancouver

Most of Vancouver’s North Shore peaks are rocky, which isn’t great for wildflowers. But the upper slopes of Mount Strachan in Cypress Provincial Park have a few patches of sub-alpine meadow with lots of pink and white heather. The moderately challenging 10.5 km loop trail requires a bit of route-finding, so be sure to read the trail description carefully. More info: Vancouver Trails

 

Taylor Meadows, Squamish

Most hikers in Garibaldi Provincial Park make a bee-line for Garibaldi Lake. But head up the hill to Taylor Meadows instead to enjoy the wildflower show. You can walk through a nearly continuous meadow from Taylor Meadows campground all the way to Helm Lake nearly 4km away. More info: Garibaldi Provincial Park

 

High Note Trail, Whistler

Ride the lifts up to the top of Whistler Mountain to hike the High Note Trail. The trail makes a 7km loop around Whistler Mountain and Piccolo Summit. The first half of the loop has stunning views of Black Tusk and Cheakamus Lake. The second half travels through lush meadows with notable wildflower displays around Symphony and Harmony Lakes. More info: Whistler Blackcomb

Wildflowers near Symphony Lake on the High Note Trail

Wildflowers on the High Note Trail in Whistler. Photo: Taryn Eyton/Happiestoutdoors.ca

 

By TARYN EYTON
Source Inside Vancouver



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