Anza-Borrego State Park, California
Even locals are surprised when they find out there is a nearby state park nearly the size of Rhode Island. At 650,000 acres, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is California's largest. It's also a wildflower wonderland.
Flowers begin blooming early—around February—and recent rains mean the grounds continue to dazzle visitors, especially in the higher elevations. This is a true desert, with rugged rockscapes and cacti, and blooms spanning the spectrum from bright-red chuparosa and ocotillo to yellow brittlebrush.
The park has hundreds of miles of hiking trails that offer prime viewing. The most well-trod trail is the Borrego Palm Canyon Nature Trail, a moderate 3-mile loop that's accessible from the visitor center. Another manageable hike for viewing desert flowers is the Trail to Yaqui Well, an easy 2-mile walk.Read more about this park—and the Borrego Ranch Resort and Spa—at PeterGreenberg.com.Colorado's Forests
Colorado's mountains are abundant with bright flowers and ample hiking, biking and driving trails to experience nature up close. The blooms are more prevalent in summertime, so start planning now.
Gunnison-Crested Butte, home to the annual Wildflower Festival
in July, offers easy access to the 1.2-million-acre Gunnison National Forest. A few hours west, the Grand Mesa National Forest, near the town of Cedaredge, is awash in color every summer. At the Grand Mesa visitor center's garden, guests learn about the variety of flowering plants that are common in the area, with more than 50 species on display around an accessible path.Beauty comes bursting out of the desert