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Backpacker Magazine – August 2001

Utah's Best Wildflower Blooms

Follow the hummingbirds in the Mt. Naomi Wilderness to the best high-country wildflower show in all of Utah.

by: Eric Hansen

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My campsite was bustling with more hummingbirds than I had ever seen—I stopped counting at seven. The hummers had come to Naomi Peak's north ridge for the same reason I had: the phenomenal wildflower show, which many bloom aficionados consider the best in Utah.

The mellow crest of the Bear River Range allowed me to wander along the ridgetop for miles, amid flower-studded meadows with broad views of the twin summits of Mts. Gog and Magog. It was a scene straight out of The Sound of Music. And here's the clincher: Even during a summer holiday weekend, I found solitude along the ridge north of Naomi Peak.

My favorite wildflower-viewing route begins at Tony Grove Lake, where blue columbine, scarlet paintbrush, and yellow mule-ears paint the meadows with a rainbow's worth of colors. After this brilliant start, it's a 3-mile ascent to Naomi Peak and a panoramic view that stretches from Idaho to Utah's Uinta Mountains. To spend more time in the high country, hike north along the crest toward Doubletop Mountain, off-trail over easy terrain, for continual vistas and memorable campsites.

When you're ready to come down, return to the Naomi Peak Trail, which quickly plunges to the broad, flowery meadows at the junction of the Cherry Creek and High Creek Trails. Just below is High Creek Lake, a gem of a small alpine pond, and the beginning of a splendid trek through a lush, north-facing drainage. Snow lingers late in the cliffs above the lake, while verdant swaths of wildflowers, gushing springs, and small waterfalls fill the valley.

As you drop below the lake, Cherry Peak comes into view. The sheer sweep of rock soars more than a thousand vertical feet. Four more miles of downhill hiking take you past ponds, through meadows checkered with moose tracks, and along the rushing current of High Creek. Don't be surprised if the urge to yodel lingers long after the smell of wildflowers fades away.


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