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Backpacker Magazine – May 2008

Trip Finder: Wildflowers

Trek the best spring blooms from the Ozarks to the Olympics with these two, three, and four day treks.

by: Jodi Helmer

Rocky Mountains |Southeast | Pacific Northwest

Pacific Northwest

rogueriver Rogue River, Photo by Jerry Pavia

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, OR
Pearly snowbrush and fuchsia shooting star crowd the High Lakes Trail, an hour from Ashland. Their hues look even brighter against a backdrop of ancient brown lava flows. Trek about six miles a day along the Cascade Canal through mixed conifers. Watch for eagles and views of 9,495-foot Mt. McLoughlin, the southern Cascades' highest peak.

Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
This 46-mile point-to-point cherry picks Rainier's best fields of delicate white avalanche lilies and pink lupine. From Mowich Lake, hike to Spray Park and follow the Wonderland Trail along 2,000-foot ridges to cross St. Andrews Park, Emerald Ridge, and Indian Henry's Hunting Ground, each famous for unmatched Sound of Music scenery.

Olympic National Forest, WA
Craggy 5,944-foot Mt. Ellinor, two hours west of Seattle, has sweeping surf-n-turf views of Puget Sound. The 12-mile out-and-back on the Mount Ellinor Trail is a popular winter climb, usually done in one day. But come June, the place explodes with bright white starry false Solomon's seal (no kidding, that's its name), wandering daisy, alpine pussytoes, and maidenhair fern. Camp atop the soft, thick cushion of pine needles.

Rocky Mountains | Southeast | Pacific Northwest

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