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Pacific Northwest Wildflowers

Nathan's Photo
There's a narrow window of time in which wildflowers flourish: sometime between the receding snows and the scorching sun of high summer. At their height, wildflowers add a welcome wash of color to the familiar gray-green-brown palette found on the west side of the Cascades. Over the last few months we've managed to capture dozens of wildflowers on our hikes. Here's a few of the best.

We're not experts, so special thanks to www.pnwflowers.com for all the details.

yellow glacier lilly erythronium grandiflorum mcclellan butte hikingwithmybrother

Yellow Glacier Lilly (erythronium grandiflorum)

We found these lining the trail on our way to the top of McClellan Butte. A bit on the delicate side, they appear shortly after snowmelt and are quickly gone. They're usually found en masse, adding a bright swath of yellow to the trailside.

red columbine aquilegia formosa mason lake mt defiance hikingwithmybrother

Red Columbine (aquilegia formosa)

We found this guy in the middle Mason Creek, just a few feet shy of the shore of Mason Lake, while on our way up to the summit of Mt. Defiance. The red-yellow combination is eye-catching as is the complex structure of the flower itself, seemingly all towers and crenelation.

cliff paintbrush castilleja rupicola hall point change creek trail hikingwithmybrother
Cliff Paintbrush (castilleja rupicola)

These sharp looking flowers were located in the crags along the Iron Horse trail. Snowmelt and rainwater were running down the mossy rock and the Cliff Paintbrush was having a fine time soaking it all up. We'd noticed them on the way up when we were hiking the Hall Point - Change Creek Trail, and made sure to get a couple of good shots on the way back down.

fireweed chamerion angustifolium kendall peak hikingwithmybrother

Fireweed (chamerion angustifolium)

Fireweed is fairly common. Most hikers have run across it at some point. It is often some of the first plantlife to recolonize a burn area after a forest fire, which is likely where it got its moniker. We find these on the eastern slope of Kendall Peak, and couldn't resist a shot with Mt. Rainier and Mt. Catherine in the background.

columbia lily tiger lily lilium columbianum mt defiance hikingwithmybrother

Columbia Lily a.k.a Tiger Lily (lilium columbianum)

This Tiger Lily was just off the trail in one of the vast alpine meadows that blanket the upper reaches of Mt. Defiance. Tiger Lilies are on the solitary side, a dollop of speckled orange floating on a sea of green.


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