Unique Wildflowers of the Eastern Sierra

Oct 20, 2020

The Eastern Sierra Nevada hillsides come alive with bright hues of yellow, orange, red and purple wildflowers in the spring and summer. Buy a wildflower field guide at the Mammoth Welcome Center and learn more about the local fauna, and take a walk along one of our favorite trails for wildflower viewing. Because of the range in elevations and diverse geologic soil, there is a wide variety of flowers that bloom throughout the season. These are a few of our favorite and unique wildflowers in the Eastern Sierra.


Native to Western North America, lupine (lupin) is a flower that likes moist climates. Look for this tall spike of purple flowers growing in microclimates like Coldwater Creek.

Giant Indian Paintbrush

The bright scarlet red and sometimes orange leafy flower resembles a paintbrush. The native North American plant stands about 1-foot tall and thrives in full sunlight.


Large white or yellow flower heads grow to about 3-feet tall on the yarrow. The plant likes dry soil and part sun and shade and is abundant on the trails around Mammoth.

Common Monkeyflower

The common yellow monkeyflower thrives in a variety of habitats and can be found growing in alpine meadows or along streams and creeks. The snapdragon-like flower is delicate and beautiful.

Wild Iris

When the wild iris is in full bloom, Snow Creek Meadow lights up in purple. The tall purple-blue, white, and yellow flower grows in drier climates, but once the flower blooms it does not last for long.

Sierra Tiger Lily

Native to the Sierra Nevada, the Sierra tiger lily is a vivid orange flower with darker red or maroon spots. The delicate flowers are smaller than other lilies. The flower thrives in moist climates and shade and can be found between 7,000 and 9,000 feet.

Desert Evening Primrose

Native to southern and western North America, the Desert Evening Primrose can be found in dry desert climates. The large white four-petal flower sits low to the ground and grows in dry sandy and rocky soils.

Crimson Columbine

The delicate red and yellow-crimson columbine flower hangs at the end of tall branches above the bushy plant. The flower thrives in moist rocky soil, but will also grow in dry, nutrient-deprived soil between 4,000 and 9,000 feet.


The bright magenta-colored fireweed flowers cluster on the top of tall leafy stems and often grow in dense patches creating an attractive and colorful display. The flower thrives in the mountains and in burned areas, which explains its name. Look for fireweed in the Red’s Meadow area along the Rainbow Falls trail.


Commonly known as skyrocket, or scarlet gilia, is a delicate trumpet-shaped scarlet red flower that is one of the most common Western wildflowers. The flower thrives in dry, sandy soils requires little water.

Monica Prelle

Monica Prelle is an outdoors, wine, and travel writer who would rather be running, climbing, or mountain biking. See more of Monica's posts here, read more of her work at monicaprelle.com and connect on twitter @monicaprelle

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