Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 5, 2010

Best Sierra Nevada Wildflower Hikes

I haven’t been able to find comprehensive wildflower hiking lists for the Sierra Nevada on the web so what I have done is to create my own.  What I have done is taken my favorite Sierra Nevada hiking books; both wildflower and general hiking and put together my own list.  Hikes range from mountain strolls of less than one mile to shore backpacks.  I start in the south and work my way up north.  For books covering a large area,  I break the hikes down by region.  If you are going out, buy the books for directions, get a good map and be ready for serious mountain hiking.  I cover the Southern Sierra, Yosemite, Tahoe Region and Lakes Basin in this posting.

Best Short Hikes in California’s Southern Sierra by Karen & Terry Whitehill is an excellent hiking guide and my personal favorite for this area. Some of the better wildflower hikes they list include:

Huntington Lake area off Hwy. 168:

  • Dinkey Lakes
  • Twin Lakes

Sequoia National Park:

  • Heather Lake
  • Crescent Meadow
  • White Chief Canyon

Mt. Whitney Ranger District

  • Cottonwood Lakes
  • Robinson Lake
  • Kearsarge Pass
  • Tyee Lakes
  • Green Lake
  • Bishop Pass
  • Dorothy Lake
  • Chickenfoot Lake
  • McGee Creek
  • Fern Lake

Mammoth and Mon Lake Range Districts

  • Emerald Lake and Sky Meadows
  • Glass Creek Meadow
  • Parker Lake

Also check out the Natural History Wanderings posting for Eastern Sierra Nevada and White Mountain posted on May 26, 2010

Hiking Yosemite National Park (Falcon guide) by Suzanne Swedo

For wildflower trails at Yosemite she recommends:

Yosemite ValleyEast Valley Floor

  • West Valley Floor


South Rim of Yosemite Valley

  • McGurk Meadow

High Sierra Camps

  • Merced Lake High Sierra Camp

Southern Park

  • Wawona Meadow
  • Ostrander Lake

South of Tuolumne Meadows

  • Cathedral Lakes
  • Elisabeth Lake
  • Lyell Fork
  • Lyell Fork to Donohue Pass

North of Tuolumne Meadows

  • Harden Lake
  • Lukens Lake
  • Soda Springs and Parsons Lodge

Hetch Hetchy

  • Wapama Falls
  • Rancheria Falls
  • Lake Vernon
  • Jack Main Canyon

North Boundary Country

  • Lundy Canyon

Yosemite National Park website: Wildflower Walks

Also check out the Natural History Wanderings posting for Yosemite:

For the Tahoe Region I did find a wildflower hike list from the “Tahoe Vacation Guide”:

South Shore

  • Big Meadow
  • Frog and Winnemucca Lakes

East Shore

  • Marlette Lake

West Shore

  • Cascade Falls to Snow Lake
  • Eagle, Velma and Fontanillis Lakes

North Shore

  • Donner Lake Area
  • Donner Pass-Pacific Crest Trail
  • Mt. Rose
  • Squaw Valley

I would also recommend the entire book Lingering in Tahoe’s Wild Gardens by Julie Stauffer Carville.

Also check out the Natural History Wanderings posting for Carson Pass posted on May 30, 2010

For good recommendations for the Lakes Basin look at Toni Farver’s Wildflower Walking in the Lakes Basin of the Northern Sierra. Hikes she recommends are:

  • Long Lake
  • Bear Lake trailhead to Long Lake, Silver Lake, Round Lake and Helgramite Lakes
  • Grass Lake to Long Lake
  • Gray Eagle Lodge to Grass Lake
  • Round Lake trail from Gold Lake Lodge to Round Lake, The Pacific Crest Trail, Helgramite Lakes and Silver Lakes
  • Frazier Falls Trail
  • Upper Salmon Lake to Horse Lake, Deer Lake and Packer Lake
  • Sierra Buttes Lookout Trail

Also check out the Natural History Wanderings posting for Lakes Basin posted on May 23, 2010

Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section

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  5. Hi,

    Are you checking on the condition of wildflowers this season (Summer 2011)? I’m planning a trip to the Eastern Sierra at South Lake (near Bishop Pass) and wonder when peak wildflowers will be, given all the rain and late snow we are having. Thanks!


  6. I love the Lakes Basin area. Found tha this year, although the snow was still a bit of a problem in July.

    In the Carson Pass area, just across the highway is the Meiss Lake trail. It blooms earlier than Carons Pass/ Winnemucca Lake by about a week. I took that hike in early July this year:


    • Thanks for your comments and reading Natural History Wanderings. The Lakes Basin and Carson Pass are two of my personal favorites. I also find the Meiss Lake side of Carson Pass blooms about a week or so earlier than the Winnemucca Lake side.


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