Category Archives: Wildflowers

Spring Flowers Beginning to Bloom in Zion

Went up Angels Landing twice this last week, so I thought I’d report on how spring is coming along in Zion Canyon. From a bloom point of view, things are getting ready to start. A few plants are currently flowering, but not too many. On the lower switchbacks, I saw a few flowers including: • Zion Milkvetch (purple pea-type flowers, low to the ground, most prominent flower at the moment) • Western Wallflower (cluster of yellow, four-petaled flowers, mostly isolated individuals, some in clumps, second-most prominent at the moment) • Slickrock Paintbrush (red paintbrush, close to the ground. A few here and there) • Yellow sweet clover (I think. Spreading leaves, small yellow flowers pea-like) Driving, on the side of the road near the Museum, there was: • Cliffrose (flowering bush, LOTs of white blooms. Very strong “rose” smell). Then it snowed on Sunday evening, so… Tom

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Cedar Breaks Wildflower Festival Blooms July 8th – 24th

Spend a day of your Zion visit exploring the cool climes of our close neighbor to the north, Cedar Breaks National Monument. Just over 7,000 feet above Zion, Cedar Breaks only recently melted out of its deep winter snow cover, setting the scene for what promises to be a tremendous wildflower bloom in the coming weeks. To celebrate the bloom, consider participating in the 6th Annual Wildflower Festival, July 8th thru 24th. In addition to the festivities sponsored by the Monument staff, Zion Canyon Field Institute offers three great classes during the Festival: • Wildflower Photography: Cedar Breaks, with instructor Michael Plyler ($85, July 8th) • Cedar Mountain Wildflowers, with instructor Walt Fertig ($60, July 9th) • Wildflower Journaling at Cedar Breaks, with instructor Sandy Bell ($60, July 11th) For those excited to get started learning the alpine desert wildflowers of Cedar Breaks, download this Common Wildflowers of Cedar Breaks guide to get your feet wet. And remember, Cedar Breaks isn’t just for wildflowers lovers. Aside from its lush meadows, Cedar Breaks also features some lovely Bryce-esque amphitheaters of dramatic red sandstone, along with rim-side trails to view them. The alpine air here is typically 30 degrees cooler than Springdale, often with … Continue reading

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Cedar Breaks Still Under Snow at 11,000 Feet

Here’s the latest on conditions high up at Cedar Breaks. This is the snow feeding the Virgin River and The Narrows, which is why we expect The Narrows to continue to be closed through June. As this news release mentions, however, the water is great for the local ecology, and the summer wildflowers in the high country should be in top form. Deep Snow Further Delays Opening Date for Cedar Breaks National Monument CEDAR BREAKS NATIONAL MONUMENT, UTAH. Opening the park road and visitor facilities at Cedar Breaks National Monument has been delayed at least one to two more weeks. The slow melting rate and the vast amount of snow yet to be removed from roadways, parking lots, and facilities have hampered efforts to open the park. The new target date is June 17. “Visitor safety is our number one priority for deciding when to open the park ,” said Park Superintendent Paul Roelandt. “The scenic road through the park still has areas where lanes are partially blocked by snow or where visibility around curves is hampered by drifts of ten feet or more.” The Cedar Breaks Visitor Center will open for the season after the road through the park … Continue reading

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May Courses Still Open at Zion Canyon Field Institute

Zion Canyon Field Institute still has some great course offerings for the month of May. On May 13, ZCFI travels up the plateau to enjoy the Wildflowers of Kolob Canyons with instructor, Walt Fertig. We stay in Kolob the next week to learn the geology with Dr. Mark Colberg (Southern Utah University) in our Kolob Geology course. On May 20, and again on the 28th, we do an extended hike on Zion’s East Rim in Rim to Floor. And there’s more botany on May 21 with Walt Fertig in the Hanging Gardens of Zion. So, “Come Hike in Our Classroom.” All classes meet at the Zion Human History Museum on #1 Museum Drive in Zion National Park OR at the Kolob Canyons Visitor Center, 3752 E. Kolob Canyon Rd., New Harmony. Zion Canyon Field Institute is the educational arm of Zion Natural History Association and all classes are fee-based.  For more information or to register contact Michael Plyler (435 772 3264 or plyler.zcfi@ yahoo.com) or visit our website and click on Field Institute.  

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Wildflower Fans Predict Bountiful Desert Blooms This Spring

I once heard Navajo culture characterizes summer’s thunderous, pounding, here-and-gone summer rains as the “male” rains, while winter’s softer, longer, more consistent rains are the “female” rains. I don’t know whether Navajos actually do talk or think about rain this way, but such characterizations make a lot of sense to me. While summer rains get all the press, with their ominous cumulus clouds and their brash flash-flood inducing comings and goings, winter rain is what nurtures and propogates our plants, animals (including homo sapiens). Just like a real momma. Winter in the desert carries a big question mark, and that question mark belongs to precipitation. How much will fall? When will it fall? Will it fall as water, or as snow? How much water we receive, and the quality of that receipt, is perhaps the most significant factor in the desert year. While the hot, hard, baked earth of summer can’t hope to absorb the torrential blasts of the monsoon season, winter’s supple, porous soils soak up the water it receives to feed the plants, animals, and water table for the remainder of the year. One of many special interest groups focused on winter precipitation is the “wildflower lobby”. These … Continue reading

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