Wildflowers of the Yosemite High Country along Tioga Pass Road from Crane Float to Lee Vining. It is not a great wildflower year. There are not large displays and many flowers are less profuse than last year. That being said there are plenty of things to see in bloom right now. If you like to see wildflowers and enjoy photographing close-ups and small groups of flowers there is plenty to photograph.
Crane Flat had quite a few flowers in bloom but was not nearly as flowery as last year. There were a lot of Cone Flowers but only a few Corn Lilies, which was disappointing after last year’s great display. Also in bloom were Alpine Lily, White Rein Orchard, Western Columbines, Yellow Monkeyflowers, Jeffrey’s Shooting Star, Meadow Lotus, Bistort, Selfheal, Coyote Mint, Horse Mint, Cow Parsnip, Sierra Stickseed, Gooseberries (some were already in fruit) and Checkerbloom.
The highlight of the day was the meadow that is .9 miles east of Crane Flat. When you enter this meadow head to the left side and you will come to a fairly good wildflower display. There were Sneezeweed, Shooting Stars, White Rein Orchids and Coneflowers. There were also many butterflies including Zerene Fritillaries.
Other stops to consider:
- A half-mile west of Merced Grove (before you get to Crane Flat) there is a pull over where there are Washington Lilies in bloom and bud.
- 3.8 miles east of Crane Flat is a pullover with a large Jeffery Pine. There are displays of the tiny pink Gilia lepalea. There are also some Horkelia and Prettyface. On most years there are other flowers as well.
- 4.8 miles east of Crane Flat by a sign that says “T4” there were good specimens of Mariposa Lily (Calochortus leichtlinii)
- 13. 7 miles east of Crane Flat is a little lake with Yellow Pond Lilies, Kalmia and Shooting Stars.
Tuolumne Meadows was much drier than usual this year. Although I didn’t see any large displays there were a number of flowers in bloom including Whorled Penstemon, Lupines, Yarrow, Pussytoes, Bistort, Alpine Goldenrod, a tiny Buckwheat, a dark pink paintbrush, Elephant Heads, Asters. There was also a damper area across the road in the woods (near a half mile to the visitor’s center sign that is seen when heading west on 120), where there were some nice patches of Primrose Monkeyflower and Shooting Stars (and mosquitoes).
Flowers are in bloom all along highway 120 but again less than last year. Most prevalent were Mountain Pride Penstemon, Numerous Lupines, Naked Buckwheat, Showy Penstemon, Pussy Paws, Paintbrush, Mariposa Lily, Groundsels, Mariposa Lily (Calochortus leichtlinii), Asters, Alpine Goldenrod, Shieldleaf, and Elderberry.
East of the eastern park entrance there were some color spots on the north side of the road consisting of Rein Orchids, Paintbrush, Monkeyflowers and Evening Primrose. Also east of the park were Prickly Poppies and Blazing Stars.