Peak & Prairie

Rocky Mountain Chapter's
Online Newsletter
August / September 1999


Walking Through Rainbows of Color: 

Equip your hikes with great wildflower books

Reviewed by Mary Romano, Chapter Communications Coordinator

Colorado’s Best Wildflower Hikes: The Front Range
By Pamela D. Irwin, David Harlan Irwin (Photographer)
Paperback-240 pages (May 1998)
Westcliffe Pub: ISBN: 1565792742
List price: $19.95 price: $15.96 plus S&H(20% savings)


Guide to Colorado Wildflowers: Plains and Foothills
By G. K. Guennel
Paperback-336 pages Vol 1(December 1995)
Westcliffe Pub: ISBN: 1565791185
List price: $24.95 price: $19.96 plus S&H(20% savings)


Guide to Colorado Wildflowers: Mountains (Guide to Colorado Wildflowers, Vol 2)
by G. K. Guennel
Westcliffe Pub: ISBN: 1565791193
List price: $24.95 price: $19.96plus S&H(20% savings)



The wildflower season in Colorado—with all its glorious colors—graces our landscapes from May until mid-September. If you want to get out and enjoy these fabulous colors before it is too late, you will need to know where to go and what to look for. These three books will not only help you locate and identify those flowers; they will inspire long before you hit the trail.

The where and when knowledge is amply supplied by Pamela Irwins’s Colorado’s Best Wild flower Hikes—The Front Range. This book covers the area east of the Continental Divide, from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs. Irwin discovered her love of wildflowers during her as a volunteer naturalist at Roxborough State Park and the Denver Botanical Garden’s Alpine Gardens.

The book applies color coding in the text to have a quick way to reference the habitat categories: plains, foothills, montane, sub-alpine and alpine. A general overall map shows specific hike locations, which helps one plan the hike. Other helpful features include the hike rating and length, the elevation gain, and the directions to get there. The author gives the blooming season range for a particular area, and when you can expect the peak-blooming season. The hike descriptions tells the reader the species one can expect to find, highlighted in bold-faced text, thus giving pretty solid clues to finding those special treasures.

The wonderful companion set by G. K. Guennel assists in identifying the flowers. Again, there is the helpful technique of color coding the pages edge to quickly locate the information. For example, the green section primarily covers grass and tree blooms. The easy-to-use format features capsulated text that gives basic descriptive properties. These features include common and formal names, when they bloom, and in what type of special climate they inhabit. Also, on the same page, the reader will find a close-up photo accompanied by a sensitive watercolor that imparts the overall character of the plant.

These books will life-long companions to wildflower enthusiasts. They will guide you to beautiful flowers such as the exquisite fairy slipper, also known as the calypso orchid. These books will also be perfect for that wildflower aficionado on your holiday gift list.

Buy these books from by visiting the RMC websit e at

August 1999 Online Newsletter - Peak & Prairie Home Page - Rocky Mountain Chapter Home Page