The yellow carpets of calliopsis are moving up from Mormon Lake into Ashurst Lake, but still some great opportunities for elk and prairie sunflowers in the area for the next few weeks. The prairie sunflower bloom around the San Francisco Peaks has peaked so check on the higher elevations for best blooms. Though I didn’t have time to scout, be on the look out for flowers along the Mogollon Rim and White Mountains as well.
Hi everyone! Paul and I have been away from Arizona for almost all of the spring and summer seasons, so we apologize that we haven’t posted in awhile…
However, last weekend, we both were back in the Grand Canyon State to lead the “Wild About Wildflowers in the High Country” Arizona Highways Photography Workshop in the Flagstaff area. Generally, everything looks really green because of the recent monsoon rains, but the wildflowers we normally see at this time have yet to burst onto the scene. Mother Nature seems to be running about one to two weeks late…and that’s if the grasses haven’t choked the flowers out.
Awesome wildflower photo ops still exist out there though! Here’s what we found:
In Bloom Now:
- Arizona Snowbowl, at the top near the ski lifts. Predominantly lupine, larkspur, and Indian paintbrush. Some sneezeweed, but past peak.
- The Arboretum at Flagstaff (location #6 in our “Wild in Arizona: Photographing Arizona’s Wildflowers” book). Excellent bloom of columbine – yellow and Rocky Mountain. Penstamon generally past peak, but lots of other flowers in bloom.
- Lower Lake Mary, north of the dam. Gorgeous fields of calliopsis. Forest covering a good collection of butter and eggs (toadflax).
- Mormon Lake (location #12), at the far southern end. Entire south side is covered in calliopsis. The overlooks have a few sunflowers growing out of disturbed soil along the roadway and a handful of small Indian paintbrush.
- Hart Prairie (location #4). Near the Nature Conservancy turnoff, wild rose and a smattering of sneezeweed.
Not Happening (Yet??? Would keep an eye on in next two weeks):
- Bonito Park (location #7)
- Ashurst Lake (location #13)
Have you been photographing wildflowers in Arizona? If so, let us know what you’ve seen out there in the Comments section below!
P.S. If you’re on Facebook, be sure to “friend” Arizona Highways Photography Workshops at www.facebook.com/azhighwaysphotoworkshops and submit your best wildflower photo for their September Facebook cover contest! The winner will not only be showcased for the month of September on their Facebook page, but you’ll also receive a FREE copy of our book, “Wild in Arizona: Photographing Arizona’s Wildflowers!”
Colleen & Paul
Wow, what a difference a year makes! Some of you might recall last year’s report from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon: patchy and late. (See original blog post: wildinarizona.com/wordpress/?p=110.)
Not this year!
With the perfect mix of rain, sun, and cooler temperatures, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and surrounding Kaibab Plateau trees are showing off a brilliant palette of color and right on time. Get your cameras out for a spectacular mix of yellow, orange, and red aspen, rusty Gambel oak, red maples, yellow New Mexican locust, red holly, and red wild geranium all peaking together!
But things are moving fast. Like “limey-green-leaves-on-Monday-turn-a-rich-golden-yellow-by-Wednesday” and “Rich-golden-leaves-on-Monday-fall-to-the-ground-by-Wednesday” fast, thanks to below-freezing overnight temperatures in the meadows and valleys. The show should last another week, but probably not much longer, especially if the high country sees any high winds in the days to come. (Continues below photo.)
You’ll start to see color as you drive along Highway 67 from Jacobs Lake to the park entrance. A spin down any dirt road on the Kaibab Plateau will reveal seemingly endless photographic opportunities. Early this week, we specifically explored FR610 to Saddle Mountain, which showed crazy good color along the road, particularly as we drove closer to the trail head.
Inside the park, many of the previously burned areas have smaller aspens growing in between burned snags. The hardest part is finding a safe pull-out (look for paved or previously used gravel spots and walk). The “Y” turnoff for Point Imperial and Cape Royal along the North Rim Scenic Drive and numerous trails, including the Trancept, the Widforss, and Ken Patrick (towards Point Imperial), offer the best color right now.
Flagstaff – which I drove past en route to the Canyon – appears to be peaking at the higher elevations on the San Francisco Peaks. The lower elevations were about 50% green on Monday, but made much progress before I drove through again on Wednesday (estimate ~10-20% green) so places like Lockett Meadow and the Bearjaw Trail are likely starting to peak right now.
The Verde Valley area is still green as expected for this time of year, but start looking for color around Montezuma’s Well, Beaver Creek, and even Sedona in the next two weeks or so.
Just took a look at the west/south side of the San Francisco Peaks. The fields at Fort Valley and Shultz’s Pass intersection are now in full color. Fort Valley is now fair and the north side of the peaks are good. Also a large field of sunflowers on old route 66 past the Purina tower before the walnut exit I40. happy hunting, Paul
The wildflowers around Flagstaff are great on the east side of the San Francisco Peaks with Bee plant and sunflowers looking good. Most fields are private land with only two areas you can shoot in just south of Copeland Lane. Also a great bloom in Sunset Crater and looking promising at the Inner Basin. The Snow Bowl has a ok Larkspur bloom. Bonito Park and Fort Valley are poor at this time.
ASPEN CONE: Just off 151 past the 180 highway, there is a small jeep trail that takes you up into an old volcanic cone, north of Hart Prairie. The area was burnt but has recovered with 12-15′ young aspens now at peak color.
BILL WILLIAMS MOUNTAIN FR 111: A long, narrow, winding, dirt road to the summit of the mountain is now 1 week from peak. Oaks are 2-3 weeks away.