When warm temperatures and sunny days creep into the forecast following days of winter whites, seas of color burst forth in the hills and mountains surrounding Lake Chelan. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more adventurous hike, there are lots of opportunities to see the area’s wildflowers in all their beauty either just outside of Chelan or deeper into the North Cascades National Park near the village of Stehekin.
Blooms will usually appear first in the low laying valleys and on South facing slopes that receive a good amount of sunshine, then spread out from there as spring passes and summer comes into full swing.
The early season explorers can find flowers such as Yellow Bell, Desert Buttercup, Glacier Lilies, Spring Beauties, and Trillium, which typically bloom in early to mid-April, though some have been seen as early as mid to late-March. Bright yellow Arrowleaf Balsamroot shine by late April, followed by fields of purple Lupine and patches of red Indian Paintbrush in May, taking over in higher elevations in June. Also be on the lookout for several types of wild orchids and other wildflowers dotting the trail sides all around the lake.
Below are some of the most common wildflowers found in the Lake Chelan area, and the best place to view them? Try these suggested wildflower hikes.
Wildflowers to View around Lake Chelan
Perhaps the most stunning and ubiquitous of North Central Washington flowers but their commonality makes them no less spectacular when viewed in mass.
The Northwest is a great place to catch several types of paintbrush. They are known for their bright red color, although it can vary from orange to scarlet to purple to even white or yellow. Their color comes from dense, bright bracts that surround the actual flower.
There are over 20 varieties of lupine that grace the hills and mountains across Washington State with flowers ranging from light blues to deep dark purples.
A common roadside flower, vetch is in the legume family and is closely related to the garden variety sweet pea.
Blue Oregon Wildflower
This small blue flower is approximately an inch and a half across and belongs to the anenome family.
This native bush is covered in blossoms that will turn into bunches of white berries that are an important source of food for animals.
One of our most special of wildflowers, tweed’s lewisia only lives in a small geographic region, primarily in North Central Washington. Look for it growing in rocky outcroppings.