Wildflowers of Kimberley: Taking Time to Smell the Flowers in Southeastern British Columbia
Each spring, the hillsides of Kimberley explode in fiery spectacles of colour as our many wildflower species begin their annual blossom. Aside from adding beauty to our community, wildflowers also provide essential ecological benefits to the environment. They help to both attract and provide habitats for pollinators, can improve soil health and water quality, and their root systems help to trap carbon, which aids in improving overall air condition. When planning your spring trip to Kimberley, be sure to include a wildflower wander or two into your itinerary. After all, taking time to smell the flowers is strongly encouraged here!
The best way to enjoy the wildflowers of Kimberley? Grab some sturdy shoes, get outside, and get amongst them!
The Wycliffe Buttes
"The Butte” is located in the Wycliffe Wildlife Corridor just south of Kimberley, and protects some of the most ecologically significant grasslands in the southern Rocky Mountain Trench. Early-season flowers to spot here include the bright-blue, bell-shaped Mertensia Longiflora, which begin to dot the landscape during the early spring melt. Most notably, this area is known for its early to mid-May explosion of Balsamroot, which covers the hillsides in a thick carpet of yellow. Aside from beautiful wildflowers, common sightings here include migrating elk herds, as well as threatened wildlife species such as the American badger.
This 2.5 km out and back trail is perfect for all ages to tackle.
The Kimberley Nature Park
Aptly named for the sunflower-esque Balsamroot that explodes along the south-facing hillsides there each spring, Sunflower Hill is one of the most beloved spots in the Kimberley Nature Park to take in the brilliant wildflower wonder. Expect a sea of yellow to unfold each May, and don’t forget to take in the views of the Purcell Mountains and Canadian Rockies from the top of the trail.
Though Sunflower Hill is perhaps the most popular spot to view flowers in the Park, the Kimberley Nature Park is home to nearly 200 different species of wildflowers, such as Glacier Lily, Spring Beauty, Blue Clematis, and Paintbrush. With over 50 km of established trails to enjoy in this multi-use park, the Kimberley Nature Park is the perfect place to spend an entire day discovering our beloved blossoms.
Perry Creek Falls
Those interested in chasing waterfalls during the magnificent spring freshet will also be rewarded with wildflower viewing amidst the watery landscape. For a short and sweet hike that the entire family will enjoy, head to Perry Creek Falls - a hidden waterfall south of Kimberley. Each spring, the trailsides here are dotted with wildflower species such as Balsamroot and Pentstemon.
Hint: Word has it that Pentstemon has been used medicinally for centuries as a stomach remedy by the local Ktunaxa.
Know Before You Go
- Remember to practice Leave No Trace principles while viewing wildflowers. Enjoy the beauty of the flowers, but leave them in the ground where you find them.
- Tread lightly and keep to established trails to avoid damaging sensitive grasslands and encouraging the spread of invasive species like knapweed.
- Consider learning about the medicinal roots and historical significance of local plants. The Ktunaxa Ethnobotany Handbook is a great resource to start with!
- Be sure to head to the Kimberley Visitor Centre for all relevant trail maps, and don’t forget to freshen up your phone’s apps with tried-and-true favourites like Trailforks and AllTrails before heading out.
- Learn as you go with apps such as the B.C. Wildflower App - this is a great resource to identify species with!
While May is generally the best time to view our various wildflower species, subalpine flowers tend to bloom later, anywhere from mid-June to late July and onwards. The bottom line? There is boundless wildflower beauty to discover here any time during the warmer months. We can’t wait for you to discover the wonder with us!
Looking for more? Check out our specially curated spring and summer itineraries for more ideas on how to make the most of a long-weekend (or longer!) in Kimberley.