Colorful Hiking in Canyon Country

April showers bring May flowers – unless you ditch the norm and head to the red rock canyons of the Four Corners area.

Colorful claretcup. (Photo: M.Kopp)

Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah share more than just a common boundary – the lower elevation canyons in the area are almost always decked out in glorious wildlflowers in April.

Common paintbrush. (Photo: M.Kopp)

Lightweight backpackers seeking distance might nix the idea of packing a flower guide along on a trip, but for average hikers, a book such as Canyon Country Wildflowers is a little luxury that helps increase awareness and understanding of this unique environment.

Fremont's mahonia (Photo:M.Kopp)

The bonus about this guide is that it’s easy-to-use, even for non-botanical types. The flowers are grouped by colors, not by families. While the descriptions are detailed and slightly more technical, excellent photos make identifying your find simple if you’re satisfied with a “best guess” identification.

And even if you chose not to pack a field guide along with you, snap plenty of digital photos and use the book back at home to identify wildflower sightings.

Pricklypear. (Photo: M.Kopp)

Spring has sprung – even earlier than you’d think. What are you waiting for, load up your backpack (or even your daypack) and head out on a few Southwest trails for a little spring delight!

Did You Know?

  • The beautiful paintbrush is actually a parasite. Yup, it feeds on the roots of other plants when it’s particularly hungry!
  • Pricklypear flowers can be yellow, pink or purple in color. That’s where a little more than color-coding identification comes in handy.
  • The roots of Freemont’s mahonia can be crushed to make a yellow dye.

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