Spring and summer at Lake Tahoe mean wildflowers, with species blooming in meadows and forests around the lake, and blooms marching up into the mountains as the season progresses. Tahoe has no shortage of wildflowers to discover, from common species like yarrow, lupine, phlox, and mule’s ears to rarer flowers like the phantom orchid, Tahoe yellow cress, and Tahoe draba. With summer here, flowers are filling meadows, lining streams, popping out of the ground in shady pine forests, and spanning vast mountainsides in the high country.

Pinemat. Photo by Tom Lotshaw.


One of many species of ceanothus in California, pinemat can be a common sight in Lake Tahoe’s forests in May and June, its unique and fragrant purple blooms carpeting the ground, logs, and even small boulders.

Yellow Monkey Flowers. Photo by Tom Lotshaw.

Monkey Flowers

Yellow monkey flowers are a common sight in meadows at Lake Tahoe, and can also be found in wet areas in the high country. They are just one of several species of monkey flower that can be found at Lake Tahoe.

Blue Camas. Photo by Tom Lotshaw.

Blue Camas

This species of camas, unmistakable with its beautiful blue flowers, grows in meadows and along streams in the Lake Tahoe Basin, sometimes turning entire meadows blue and purple with its blooms.

Western Blue Flag Iris. Photo by Tom Lotshaw.

Western Blue Flag Iris

These native irises are a common sight in wet areas around Lake Tahoe and in the high country.

Lupine. Photo by Tom Lotshaw.


Several species of lupine at Lake Tahoe grow in wet meadows, forest openings, and can carpet the ground at beaches and in the high country. Most lupine have palm-shaped leaves and dense clusters of purple or blue flowers on tall spikes. Common species at Tahoe include silvery lupine and broadleaf lupine.

Bog Saxifrage. Photo by Tom Lotshaw.

Bog Saxifrage

Found in wet meadows and along streams at Lake Tahoe, bog saxifrage is one of several saxifrage species that can be found in this region, easily recognized by its tall height, large flowerheads, and thick stems.

Remember to help protect Lake Tahoe’s sensitive environment while you’re out enjoying wildflowers this summer. Don’t pick or trample flowers or other vegetation. And please consider sharing some of your favorite wildflower photos and stories from this summerhttps://www.facebook.com/trpatahoe.