One of the magical wonders of life in the Sierra is experiencing multiple wildflower seasons. The arrival of bright red snow plants signals the seasons have changed from winter to spring.

Sulphur cinquefoil

While those who study flowers have named more than 2,000 in the Sierra, the U.S. Forest Service says 49 of those are only found in aspen groves in these mountains.

Rocky Mountain iris

Warmer weather first brings an array of color to lake level. Purple lupine and yellow mules ear are often prolific, as this year has shown.

It’s hard to find a trail or meadow that isn’t sprouting some color. Sometimes this means looking down and not straight ahead. It is easy to miss pussypaws and Western buttercups. Consider it a treasure hunt to find as many flowers as you can.

American Bistort

July and August are prime months to seek out wildflowers at higher elevations. Winnemucca Lake in the Carson Pass area is one of the most popular trails, with it sometimes seeming like a convention of wildflower seekers based on the number of people.

Woolly mules ear

Showers and Fourth of July lakes are options that can be less crowded, but still provide a kaleidoscope of color.

Yellow salsify

No matter where you go, take only memories and photos; leave the flowers for the next person to ohhh and ahhh over.

Note: All photos by Kathryn Reed.

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