Wildflower viewing at Rendezvous
Visit Winter Park, Colorado
Wildflower Viewing at Rendezvous: Blink and you’ll miss it
Summer is always a magical time in the Rocky Mountains. After a long winter that oftentimes stretches from October to the waning days of May (this past year in particular), those sunny, 70-degree days of June and July enter the forefront of any daydreaming local’s mind. To be fair, anyone who calls a Rocky Mountain community like Winter Park home has to be a fan of winter, but if they happen to be one of those transplants who came for the skiing and ended up here full-time, you can bet they’ll comment at some point or another that they actually “came for the winter and stayed for the summer.”
Maybe it’s the short season – starting in mid-June and lasting through August or maybe, just maybe, early September, that makes it all the more enjoyable. It’s the fleeting sense that encompasses every sun-soaked day. The long-lit hours are numbered; the weather is perfect (minus those 20-minute-long afternoon showers), and the result is a tour de force of camping, biking, hiking, mountain climbing, kayaking and a million other activities that just need to be squeezed in.
And one of those activities is surely wildflower viewing – an even smaller window within the already thin frame of summer.
Prime wildflower season typically begins around late June or early July, and like the Aspens’ grand, yellow-and-orange-fueled finale of the fall, if you blink (or sleep in on those summer days) you’ll surely miss it.
So, as the calendar has just rolled over to the month of July, it’s important to get out and take advantage of it – and what better place to do so than the easily accessible trails of the Rendezvous community.
Connecting the communities of both Winter Park and Fraser, the Rendezvous network of trails is just hitting stride in terms of its wildflower blooms. All the moisture that the Fraser Valley received this spring has made for an expansive palette of colors against a vibrant green backdrop. Groves of Elephant Flowers paint the trailside with brilliant hues of purple, while the scattering of Columbines, Alpine Sunflowers, and Wild Rose Flowers offer contrasts of blue, yellow, pink and red hues, resulting in a spectacle that only feeds the magic that is a Rocky Mountain summer.
Options such as the Chicadee and Hawk trails are already lined with countless wildflowers, making the views of the Continental Divide and Byers Peak all the more breathtaking. The only issue that may arise is that your hike or mountain bike ride may be constantly interrupted as you keep pulling the camera or iPhone from your pack.
And as tempting as it may seem, just remember to hold yourself back from the urge to pluck those striking flowers from the ground. They’re yet another cog in our mountain environment, plus everyone else wants to enjoy them too!
For the most optimal and rewarding experience, plan on hitting the trail bright and early or even later in the day, keeping your fingers crossed for one of those epic Rocky Mountain sunrises or sunsets. Just be sure to let someone know where you’re going, and keep an eye out for the plethora of wildlife who share the trails.
So what are you waiting for? Don’t let the wildflower window close, and get to the trails of Rendezvous before it’s too late!
An East Coast transplant, Tyler grew up just north of Baltimore, Md., where he studied Journalism and New Media at nearby Towson University. He moved to Grand County in the fall of 2011, and aside from a brief stint in Bozeman, Mont., has called the Fraser Valley home ever since. Currently, he is a freelance writer and photographer who spends the majority of his free time snowboarding, cycling, and hanging out at the local skatepark.