Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Desert marigold in Snow Canyon State Park. Maria Werner/Utah State Parks
Southern Utah deserts bloom in spring
Wildflowers » April is prime season to soak up the colors in Utah.
First Published Apr 06 2013 01:01 am • Last Updated Jul 07 2013 11:31 pm

Too often people associate the southern Utah desert with sand, snakes and cactus. There’s nothing wrong with those things, but the drier climates also get a blast of color from wildflowers this time of year.

"The peak month for viewing wildflowers is April, though they can be enjoyed usually starting in late March through mid-May," said Jenny Stucki, a naturalist at Snow Canyon State Park near St. George.

At a glance

Wildflower trackers on the web

DesertUSA has a page dedicated to wildflower reports and pictures for Nevada and Utah.

The U.S. Forest Service has a page for places to see wildflowers in Utah, but most Forest Service wildflower viewing takes place in the late summer in Utah.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Stucki says early season flowers in southern Utah include spectacle pod, desert marigolds. Fiddleneck, elegant lupine, Palmer penstemon, firecracker penstemon, sego lily, yellow evening primrose, pale evening primrose, globemallow, desert 4 O’clock, purple sage, indigo busg and desert willow. Blooms on prickly pear cactus and purple torch plants will come a little later in the season.

While the entire park offers opportunities to see Spring wildflowers, Snow Canyon’s Hidden Pinyon and Whiptail trails are usually sure bets, Stucki said.

But Snow Canyon isn’t the only place in southern Utah that is blooming. Zion National Park, Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and other low-elevation environments in that corner of the state get colorful wildflowers as well.

Wildflowers get started a little later in Moab and the rest of southeastern Utah.

"Peak wildflower season varies slightly, but it is usually around the very end of April and the first three weeks of May in Arches National Park and all of May in much of Canyonlands National Park," said Mary Moran, with the National Park Service’s Southeast Utah Group. "There is some variation in bloom time from one year to the next, but it is relatively minor. Most species respond well to a relatively wet winter and early spring, with no dry spells during that time."

There are some distinctive wildflowers found only in Arches or Canyonlands, but generally the same flowers can be seen in both parks.

To find sego lilies — the state flower — look in the area around the Wolfe Ranch structure near the Delicate Arch trailhead, Moran said. Fans of claret cup cactus, larkspur and Utah penstemon should walk the trail to the Delicate Arch viewpoint.

Mules ears can be spotted along the main park road between Windows and Delicate Arch. Drive on the Salt Valley dirt road for a bright orange show of globemallow — the show is best during wet years. The Park Avenue Trail in Arches also is a good place to look for cliffrose.


story continues below
story continues below

For more information, visit the park’s website and look for the Arches Flower Guide link.

The White Rim Trail in Canyonlands has narrowleaf yucca, blue-purple scorpionweed, pink and white sego lilies and cliffrose.

The flowers described by Moran also can be seen in at Dead Horse Point State Park and Bureau of Land Management lands in southeastern Utah.

Viewing wildflowers is typically easy from well-established trails, roads and parking areas. When viewing wildflowers, park officials ask that you follow these two rules of etiquette:

• Don’t go off the trail to get a better look or to take photographs. The desert soil is a living organism and critical to the ecosytem; walking on it can kill it.

• Don’t pick the wildflowers, leave them in the ground for others to enjoy.

brettp@sltrib.com



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.