Wildflowers are in full bloom, which means it’s time to drop everything and hit the trails. Here are the tips you need to know before you explore the trails in North Idaho and Northwest Montana.
Best local hikes for wildflower viewing
Many of our native wildflowers love sunshine. That means you’ll find the most abundant fields of flowers on south-facing, sunny slopes. You can check out our trail map to plan your own adventure. But we also have some suggestions for you.
The first 1.5 miles of this trail follows a sunny, south-facing slope where you will enjoy fields of wildflowers and sweeping views of the Clark Fork River. Be aware that this hike is just as steep as the Scotchman Peak trail, so bring your hiking poles and sturdy shoes.
The first two miles of this trail is full of flowers this time of year! Despite the easy trailhead access from Clark Fork, this trail is seldom traveled, making it a great destination for anyone looking for some solitude.
Towards the end of this hike, you’ll travel through a miraculous little canyon where lupins and paintbrush thrive. And, of course, Little Spar Lake is quite the treat too!
You can hike all f these trails this summer with the Friends, check out our hiking schedule!
What you’ll need to bring
- Sun protection and water. These trails offer little shade and few sources of water.
- Bug Spray. It’s been a wet spring. That means the mosquitoes are going to be out to get you!
- Benadryl. Ground nesting bees are common in this region. Getting multiple bee stings in the wilderness can be dangerous, even if you aren’t highly allergic to bees. Benadryl is a must-have addition to your first-aid kit.
- Long Pants. Thorny, thick underbrush can ruin a great day outside if you’re not prepared with long pants and other protection.
- Trail Map
Respecting the trails
Since we’re on the topic of wildflowers, I can’t help but mention how to leave no trace. When hitting the trails, it’s important to remember to take only pictures and leave only footprints.
When hitting the trails, it’s important to remember to take only pictures and leave only footprints.
That means resisting the urge to pick flowers. These beautiful plants play an incredibly important role in our ecosystem. Bees and insects rely on them for pollination. They’re also food for the wild animals we love like elk and moose. Plus, by leaving the flowers in the ground, you’re ensuring that the next hiker can also enjoy the same beautiful scenery.
It also means sticking to the trail. Our local forest floors are fragile. Erosion and compaction from off-trail travel can wreak havoc on important habitats and cause a headache for volunteer trail-building [link] crews. So do your part to protect the trails you love and stay on the path, please!
Looking for a hiking buddy? Join us for one of our free, guided group hikes this summer! We have trips for beginners and expert hikers alike.