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Stories from the valley

Four Spectacular Sierra Wildflower Hikes

Contributed by Carl Gwyn

It’s time! Last winter’s abundance of snow has finally retreated, and the high country is exploding with color. Now is the time to head off on your favorite wildflower hike. You will beat the heat and experience a visual feast that is unequalled at any other time of year.

If you don’t have a favorite wildflower hike, let me suggest a few. I recommend the last three if you wish to avoid some of the crowds. I also recommend arriving early, since the parking lots can fill up quickly.

Carson Pass to Lake Winnemucca

I’ve mentioned this trail in previous blog posts because it’s a favorite of many hikers. Along the 2.5-mile hike, you will pass through an abundance of wildflowers, especially during the last ½ mile. At that point, there’s an area where the flowers are chest high, offering a seemingly unlimited variety.

This trail takes off at the Carson Pass Station and goes by beautiful Frog Lake on the way. The lake is only 200 feet or so off the trail and makes a scenic stop.

Woods Lake to Winnemucca

The 1.7-mile trail starts at the Woods Lake Trailhead about one mile off Highway 88. After you travel through a beautiful wooded area, the trail climbs and takes you past a hillside that is covered with an abundance and variety of flowers.

Meiss Meadows Trail

The trailhead is located on the north side of Highway 88 about ½ mile before Carson Pass. A roughly 2.5-mile hike takes you into Meiss Meadows, which is a large, lush meadow area teeming with wildflowers.

Schneider Camp to Meiss Meadows Trail

This hike is for folks with a little more adventurous nature and a four-wheel drive vehicle, since the road to the trailhead is unpaved. To get to the trailhead traveling east on Highway 88, you will turn left at the Cal Trans Maintenance Station about ½ mile past the second Caples Lake Dam. Follow the road through the station, and continue to the trailhead. The 1.0-mile trail to Meiss Ridge takes hikers through a basin filled with wildflowers.

Now is the time to escape the heat and enjoy the beauty. However, don’t wait too long, or the peak wildflower-viewing season will pass. Happy hiking!