Spring Wildflower Hikes
Spring has sprung, and wildflowers are blooming. I popped out for a quick "urban" hike with friend Jonathan and and his pooch, Jake, on April Fools Day. We drove to a northern trailhead of Forest Park, and hiked a loop along the Maple Trail and Lief Erickson Drive. We enjoyed a beautiful day, strolling through the fresh green spring growth and seeing the first flowers of the season. The trail can be popular, but we only saw six other humans and two dogs. It only lasted a few hours, but it felt like a world away. You'd never guess that such wildness could be found so close to the city.
Below are photos of some of the flowers we encountered.
Contact Next Adventure Outdoor School if you'd like to learn more about wildflower identification.
Trillium, Salmonberry, Coltsfoot, Oregon Grape and all the usual suspects were out, right on schedule.
The fern-covered hillsides were dotted with tri-lobed white Trillium - truly a harbinger of Spring.
White globes of Coltsfoot, also an early bloomer, greeted us at the gate.
Dangling clusters of Indian Plum flowers, one of the earliest bloomers, were already old won't be around much longer.
Oregon Grape - Oregon's state flower, (not really a grape, but develops edible berries) & Trillium.
Violet - Yellow, not violet colored. Toothwort - Usually whitish, this example has more lavender/pink to it.
Red Flowering Currant - more fuscia than red - very striking against a green background.
Hooker's Fairybells - Flowers just barely peeping out, not quite bloomed yet.
False Solomon Seal - Just budding out, will develop into big white plume.
Bleeding Heart - So exotic, that visitors can't believe that this grows wild here.
Highly invasive lesser celandine (NOT Marsh Marigold*) - This yellow bloom was in a ditch by the side of the road. Indian Plum bloom.
And it wasn't just flowers that we saw:
Orange Peel Fungus - Not much question about the name, is there? This was about an inch in diameter.
Oyster Mushrooms - These are beautiful specimens just emerging. No collecting in Forest Park!
Next Adventure Outdoor School has five scheduled Wildflower Hikes coming up. We explore different habitats to find the best blooms as the season unfolds. Guided tours include transportation from Next Adventure and natural interpretation along the trail.
Join us April 13, April 21, May 11, May 19 and June 15 to see the Northwest's wildflower season unfold.
Next Adventure is a fully-insured licensed Outfitter and Guide with the State of Oregon. Next Adventure is an equal opportunity Recreation Provider operating under special use permit on the Mt. Hood National Forest and Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, USDA Forest Service.
DAY HIKES visit Northwest natural wonders such as mountain views, waterfalls, old growth trees, spawning salmon, wildflowers and mushrooms. $50 per person. Transportation from Next Adventure, guided tour, hiking tips, and natural history interpretation included.
Greg Hill is a Next Adventure Outdoor School Lead Guide and Instructor.
*Note: This article was corrected on 3/5/14 - The yellow bloom pictured above had been incorrectly identified as a native marsh marigold, when in fact it shows the highly invasive, and undesirable, lesser celandine. Thanks to Dominic M. for the correction!