Things to do at Buffalo River State Park

What are the best places to see wildflowers in Minnesota? 2024

Minnesota has some of the best views and every spring the trails come alive with amazing Wildflowers all over Minnesota. One of the reasons I love Minnesota is all the wildflowers that bloom throughout the spring and summer months. 

From the vibrant purple lupines to the delicate pink lady’s slipper, Minnesota is home to a variety of native wildflowers. 

Whether you’re an outdoor junkie like me, a photographer, or just looking to see something new, here are the top places to see wildflowers in Minnesota.

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What are the best places to see wildflowers in Minnesota?

Minnesota is home to many beautiful landscapes, including all the beautiful wildflowers that bloom. Here are some of the top places to see wildflowers in Minnesota:

The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden | Minneapolis

The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Minneapolis is the oldest public wildflower garden. It’s home to a wide variety of native wildflowers. This 15-acre site is in the Theodore Wirth park and is a great place to view native wildflowers in the spring and summer.

The North Shore Scenic Drive

The North Shore Scenic Drive, which runs along the Lake Superior shoreline, comes alive.

Every June the roadside if filled with Lipins! If you get out of the car to explore you can even spot the wild pink lady slipper.

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum | Chaska

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska has a wildflower garden that features over 200 species of native Minnesota wildflowers.

The Arboretum is a 1,200-acre site with trails, gardens, and even a 3-mile drive. It’s the base place in the state to see Wildflowers.

Whitewater State Park

Whitewater State Park in southeastern Minnesota has a diverse range of wildflowers. This includes trillium, wild ginger, and bloodroot.

This park has over 2,000 acres of restored prairie and forest. It is a great place to view wildflowers in the spring and summer.

Wildflowers in Minnesota

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge has several wildflower growings at different locations along its hiking trails.

Some species you may find include Prairie Smoke, Wild Columbine, Butterfly Weed, and Shooting Star.

Wild River State Park

Wild River State Park is a great place for wildflowers during the spring and summer months.

Some of the common flowers that bloom here include Wild Geranium, Spiderwort, Wood Lily, and Goldenrod.

Tettegouche State Park

Tettegouche State Park is home to several wildflower meadows that bloom in late spring to early summer.

You’ll find include Wild Rose, Wild Columbine, Virginia Bluebells, and Purple Coneflowers.

Maplewood State Park

At Maplewood State Park, you can find a mix of wildflowers growing in its oak savannas, prairies, and hardwood forests.

Keep an eye out for Wild Geranium, Bluebells, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and Wild Lupine.

Itasca State Park

Itasca State Park has several wildflowers growing in the park’s tallgrass prairie and wetland habitats.

Some species you can find include Black-eyed Susan, Swamp Milkweed, Rattlesnake Master, and Wild Bergamot. This is one of my favorite places to find wildflowers in Minnesota.

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is well-known for its spring wildflower carpet, where a wide variety of species blooms from April to May.

Some flowers you may spot include Virginia Bluebells, Dutchman’s Breeches, Wild Columbine, and Bloodroot.

Jones Mill Trail

Quarry Hill Nature Center

Quarry Hill Nature Center offers visitors several trails to explore for wildflowers, including the Prairie Loop Trail and Pine Loop Trail.

Some species you may find include Prairie Smoke, Wild Sunflowers, Butterfly Milkweed, and Blue Flag Iris.

What are some of the most common types of wildflowers found in Minnesota?

Minnesota has a variety of wildflowers native to the state. Some of the most common ones include:

Minnesota’s State Flower, the Lady Slipper (Late June and Early July)

Minnesota’s state flower is the pink and white lady’s slipper (Cypripedium reginae). It is a native orchid that grows in swamps, bogs, and damp woodlands throughout the state.

The best time to see the lady’s slipper in bloom is typically in late June and early July.

Some popular places to view the lady’s slipper include the Tamarack Nature Center, the Chippewa National Forest, and the Itasca State Park.

The lady’s slipper is a protected species in Minnesota, so it’s illegal to pick or disturb them in any way. Wild Lupine: This blue and purple flower blooms in late May and early June.

Lady Slipper

Wild Lupin (May and June)

Wild Lupine is a wildflower native to Minnesota that blooms in late May and early June. The flowers are typically blue and purple and grow in tall, spiky clusters. The leaves of the Wild Lupine are palmate, meaning they have several leaflets that radiate from a central point. 

Wild Lupines can grow up to three feet tall and are usually found in open, sunny areas. They are an important plant for many pollinators, including bees and butterflies, and are also a host plant for the endangered Karner Blue butterfly.

Wild Lupin

Prairie Smoke (May and June)

Prairie Smoke, also known as Geum triflorum, is a unique and beautiful flowering plant native to North America. This plant is part of the rose family and is characterized by its striking appearance. 

The Prairie Smoke has feathery, fern-like leaves that grow in a basal rosette and produce a tall stem that can grow up to 30 cm in height. 

The stem of the Prairie Smoke plant bears a single nodding flower head that is a stunning shade of pink and blooms in the late spring to early summer. 

The flower head is surrounded by a cloud of wispy, smoke-like hairs that give the plant its name. These hairs eventually turn into feathery, silver-pink seed heads that can remain on the plant well into the fall season. 

Prairie Smoke wildflower

Wild Bergamot (June and July)

Wild Bergamot, also known as Monarda fistulosa, is a beautiful lavender flower that typically blooms during June and July. 

This perennial plant with its unique color and fragrance is a favorite among gardeners. Its delicate petals and striking appearance make it stick out

Wild Bergamot is known for its medicinal uses, including its ability to soothe sore throats and ease digestive issues.

Wild Bergamot

Black-eyed Susan (July and August)

Black-eyed Susan, also known as Rudbeckia hirta, is a beautiful yellow flower that blooms in the summer months of July and August. adding a vibrant splash of color to any garden or natural setting. 

Its bright petals and dark center make it a popular choice for gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike. 

Black-Eyed Susan attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies, making them not only aesthetically pleasing but also beneficial for the environment.

Black Eye Susan

Butterfly Weed (July and August)

Butterfly Weed, also known as Asclepias tuberosa, is a stunning perennial plant that produces beautiful orange flowers. 

Not only is Butterfly Weed visually appealing, but it also serves as an important source of food for butterflies and other pollinators. 

Butterfly Weed

Shooting Star (May and June)

The Shooting Star is a beautiful and unique flower that is known for its pink and purple hues. This stunning plant typically blooms during May and June, adding a burst of color to gardens and natural landscapes alike. 

Aside from its aesthetic appeal, Shooting Star is also a popular choice among gardeners because of its ability to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies, making it a great addition to any garden or outdoor space.

Shooting Star

When is the best time to see Wildflower Bloom in Minnesota?

The best time to see these wildflowers in bloom varies depending on the species but ranges from May to August. Some species may have shorter bloom periods, while others may bloom later in the season. 

Also, take into consideration the climate of the area. North Shore is cooler and blooms later in the season, while southern MN blooms first.

It’s always a good idea to check with local nature centers to make sure they are blooming when you arrive.

Are there any restrictions or permits required for picking or harvesting wildflowers in Minnesota?

You cannot pick wildflowers in most Nature Reserves, State Parks, and private property. On public land, you can definitely pick them. I prefer to leave them be so others can enjoy them too.

How can I identify different types of wildflowers found in Minnesota?

Aside from the rundown on flowers above, you can also bring a guidebook with you. A great guide is the Wildflowers of Minnesota Field Guide. If you have an internet connection on your phone, you can also use Google Lens. 

Photography Tips for Capturing Wildflowers

Here are some tips for capturing stunning wildflower photos:

  1. The best time to photograph wildflowers is during the “golden hour” which is the hour after sunrise and before sunset. During this time, the light is soft and warm, which makes the flowers look more vibrant.
  2. Get creative with composition. Instead of shooting straight-on, experiment with different angles and perspectives. Try shooting from above, below, or even from behind the flowers.
  3. A tripod is essential for getting sharp, well-composed shots. This is especially true if you are shooting in low light or using a slow shutter speed.
  4. A macro lens is ideal for capturing close-up shots of wildflowers. A wide-angle lens can be great for capturing the flowers in their natural surroundings.
  5. Sometimes, the best shots require waiting for the perfect moment. Be prepared to spend some time waiting for the light to be just right, or for the wind to die down.

Some examples of stunning wildflower photos include close-up shots of individual flowers with blurred backgrounds and wide-angle shots of a field of flowers with a landscape in the background. 

The key to capturing stunning photos is to experiment with different techniques and perspectives and to be patient and persistent in your efforts.

Start Planning Your Next Adventure

Minnesota is a beautiful state that is home to a diverse range of wildflowers.

Whether you are an avid photographer or simply want to admire these flowers, there are many places to explore and discover these blooming marvels. 

From the Lady Slipper to Wild Lupine, each flower has its unique charm and story to tell. 

Grab your camera, and immerse yourself in the best part of spring wildflowers in Minnesota. You never know what beauty you may find.

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