11 Best Wildflowers In Glacier National Park To Spot On Your Next Adventure

Glacier National Park is a 1,500 sq-mile wilderness area in the Rocky Mountains.

Featuring diverse wildlife, plant life, and glacier-carved mountain peaks, it is by far one of the most naturally beautiful places in America.

11 Best Wildflowers In Glacier National Park To Spot On Your Next Adventure

Popular with nature lovers, hikers, and climbers, Glacier National Park is one of the best places to go if you want to enjoy the great outdoors.

With more than 700 miles of hiking trails, you’ll see and learn so much as you explore.

One thing you’ll notice about Glacier National Park is its abundance of wildflowers.

The park is covered with vibrant, unique, beautiful, and strange wildflowers. So much so, you might not know what you’re looking at.

To ensure you know what you’re looking at, we’ve listed 11 of the best Glacier National Park wildflowers in this post.

If you want to learn more about plant life in Glacier National Park, stick around!

1. Bear Grass

Let’s kick things off with bear grass. Bear grass is a popular sight in Glacier National Park.

It carpets the subalpine landscape, bringing vibrance, wildlife, and beauty wherever it grows. Despite its name, bear grass isn’t actually a type of grass. Nor do bears like it.

Instead, bear grass is a species of plant that belongs to the corn lily family. Found all over North America, this plant is also known by the names soap grass, and Indian basket grass.

Growing up to 59 inches tall, this plant produces fragrant white flowers that emerge at the tip of the tall stalks.

Only small, these elegant white flowers cluster together tightly to form what looks like a ball.

2. Glacier Lilies

Another wildflower that covers the Glacier National Park landscape like a carpet is the glacier lily.

Also referred to as the yellow avalanche as a result of how it covers alpine terrain, this species of flower belongs to the lily family.

Therefore, it has a typical lily-like appearance and scent. The flowers grow from a deep bulb that’s just 1.9 inches wide.

Each plant produces one stalk that can grow to be 11 inches tall. 

The top of each stalk is adorned by 1 to 3 bright showy flowers. Usually, the flowers that adorn the glacier lily plant have lemon-colored petals, white stamens, and red anthers.

3. Arctic Lupine

One of the oldest flowers in Glacier National Park is the Arctic lupine. This is a bright purple flower that grows on a tall stem.

Each Arctic lupine stem features a head of bell-shaped flowers that attract native bees, honey bees, and other pollinators. 

This species of wildflower isn’t just native to Glacier National Park. It can also be found in Canada, where a 10,000-year-old frozen lupine was once discovered. 

Thanks to its vibrant color and stunning appearance, you’ll have no problem spotting this flower when it blooms in May and June.

4. Indian Pipes

The next wildflower on our list is one of the strangest we’ve ever seen.

Also referred to as the ghost plant or ghost pipe, Indian pipes are herbaceous perennial plants that can be found in North America, Asia, and South America.

Found in dark, shady woods, where they belong, the Indian pipes plant has an almost alien appearance.

Growing up to 12 inches tall, they have a white, ghost-like appearance that makes them look an awful lot like saliva.

Flowering in early summer, the flowers don’t look much better. Each stem bears one white pistil. 

5. Purple Asters

Scientifically, the purple aster is known as the Aster puniceus. It’s a clump-forming perennial that grows from underground rhizomes.

When it blooms, the plant produces stiff red and purple stems with the most amazing flowers.

Bright purple and orange in color, the purple aster flower is often used to symbolize love, faith, and wisdom.

It’s arguably the most beautiful flower on this list. Each purple aster flower features small and thin petals and a large disc floret. 

It is common for aster flowers to have well over 15 petals.

6. Butterwort

One of the less common wildflowers you can spot in Glacier National Park is butterwort.

This is a protected plant in the national park that little is known about. It was only in 1970 that its location was researched.

Having said that, it is still possible to spot butterwort across the national park and the rest of Montana.

Your best chance of finding it is in damp, nutrient-poor soil, crevices, and swamps. It usually blooms between the months of May and July.

As far as the butterwort’s flower is concerned, it blooms a solitary purple flower that has 5 long petals. Each petal is only 0.5 inches long.

7. Fireweed

The lush green meadows of Glacier National Park are often covered in the warming colors of the fireweed wildflower.

These flowers are one of the easiest species of wildflower to spot in Glacier National Park.

While most people would assume that this is because of their bright pink color, it is actually because of their size.

You can see this flower from some distance because it grows up to 9 feet tall. 

This, along with the fact that fireweed carpets the national park’s meadows makes it impossible to miss.

Interestingly, the name fireweed comes from the plant’s ability to grow quickly in areas that have suffered forest fires.

This flower can be seen between June and September.

8. Bunchberry

The next Glacier National Park wildflower on our list is the bunchberry. Bunchberry is a small shrub that can be easily identified by its small flowers.

The plant primarily grows in shaded forest areas and in the hills around Bowman Lake.

They are an important plant for the national park as various animals like moose, deer, and grizzly bears use them as a food source.

The flowers that grow on this plant are tiny. They bloom in bunches and feature four small cloves. In terms of color, they are bright white.

Bunchberry flowers start to show in spring. 

9. Monkey Flower

Monkey flowers get their name from their pink petals that take the shape of a monkey’s face.

This may sound ridiculous but you’ll agree when you see them. This is a rare type of wildflower that tends to grow at higher altitudes. 

More often than not, monkey flowers will sit near streambeds. You will struggle to spot the monkey flower but their size can help.

Some monkey forest plants grow to be three feet tall. This gives you a better chance of spotting them.

Aside from being a pretty flower, the monkey flower also has some handy uses for native Americans. This includes medicinal tea that relieves stomach pain.

10. Pasque Blossoms

If you find yourself adventuring along Glacier National Parks eastern slopes in late May, keep your eyes open for pasque blossom.

This is a unique, showy flower that can be found in abundance along a number of Glacier National Park meadows.

One of the earliest blooming flowers, pasque blossoms can even survive at high altitudes.

In fact, it isn’t uncommon to see the head of this plant sticking through the snow at 10,000 feet.

When in full bloom, this blossom has 5 to 7 sepals that look like petals. The flower can be white, lavender, pink, or yellow in color.

On a side note, this is a famous native American flower too.

Native Americans used to write legends and songs about pasque blossoms.

11. Yellow Columbine

The final Glacier National Park wildflower on our list is the yellow Columbine.

Yellow Columbines are one of the rarest yellow wildflowers in this national park. Therefore, you’ll have to be on it to spot one.

They can grow anywhere between 3,000 and 10,000 feet, and are most commonly found in areas that are wet and forested.

They can also be found alongside creeks. This plant can reach heights of 4 feet tall. 

It has dark green leaves, a thin stem, and bright yellow flowers that feature 5 petals. Yellow Columbine flowers also have 5 white spurs that grow behind the flower.

Final Thoughts

Glacier National Park is home to a staggering range of different wildflower species. In this post, we’ve looked at 11 of the best.

We’ve looked at common flowers you’ll see easily, unique flowers that will blow your mind, and rare flowers that you’ll have to search hard for if you want to catch a glimpse.

All of the wildflowers on our list can be found in Glacier National Park.

While not all of them can be found very often, you have a very good chance of spotting most of them as you explore the park.

Now you know what to look out for, we hope you manage to identify some of the wildflowers from this list on your next adventure.

Diane Peirce
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