Best 18 Hikes and Gardens to See Missouri Wildflowers

Last updated on March 22nd, 2024 at 06:45 am.

Are you looking for the best places to see spring wildflowers in Missouri? If you aren’t planting them in your own backyard, this guide will show you where (and when) to find the colorful beauties near you!

I love spring and one of my favorite things to do is plant native wildflowers in my yard as well as find the best hikes and fields to see wildflowers. Spring is my favorite season and the abundance of flowers is a big part of that for me.

Coneflowers in my front yard

This is a guide sharing where to see Missouri spring wildflowers, as well as a few of our favorite hikes with beautiful spring blooms. Let us know your favorite destination for wildflowers in MO!

Missouri Wildflowers: Trails, Hikes and Gardens

Various wildflowers in my backyard

18 places to see beautiful flowers and wildflowers near Kansas City, St. Louis and throughout Missouri. Spring wildflowers and blooms can be found in a wide range of locations from botanical gardens to hikes,

In addition, we have some useful tips for when to visit and how to hike responsibly.

It’s hard to beat spring and summer in Missouri. The days get longer, the rain brings tons of gorgeous flowers and wildflowers to enjoy. Whether it’s close to Kansas City or out on a mountainous hike in the Ozarks, we love seeking out all of the best flower-viewing spots.

Check out our top picks for exploring wildflowers! From easy strolls to challenging Missouri hikes, we’ve got diverse locations and flower varieties covered. Plus, we’ll help you plan the perfect time to visit each spot.

So, if you are wondering “Are There Spring Wildflowers Near Me” and you live in Missouri, we’ve got you covered!

Wildflowers In and Near St. Louis

If you’re near St. Louis, I recommend the below 6 gardens and trails to see the best wildflowers this spring.

Cliff Cave Park

There is a paved trail at the end of Cliff Cave road that is approximately a 5 mile loop.

You’ll find all sorts of wildflowers bloom along the Mississippi River bluff and rocky hillside. In fact, It was named the “wildflower capital of Missouri” by Only In Your State.

25 Minutes from St. Louis

Address: 806 Cliff Cave Rd, St. Louis, MO 63129

Whitmire Wildflower Garden & Wildflower Trail at the Shaw Nature Reserve

Grab your hiking boots and hit the Wildflower Trail at Shaw Nature Reserve (located next to the Bascom House) for a leisurely stroll. This short but sweet path, under a mile long, is a floral feast for the eyes with its bursts of tulips and daffodils. Feeling adventurous? Take the Overlook Trail next for breathtaking views from a bluff high above the reserve.

Don’t miss the Whitmire Wildflower Garden, a year-round haven for nature lovers. Wander through various plant communities—woodland, wetland, glade, savanna, prairie, and even a home gardening area. With over 500 Missouri native plant species showcased, it’s the perfect spot to soak in the beauty and learn a bit about natural landscaping.

Flowers you might see here include Indian paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea), pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida), and blue wild indigo (Baptisia australis), prairie wildflowers, Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), wood poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), and wild geranium (Geranium maculatum).

Located 40 minutes from St. Louis

Address: 307 Pinetum Loop Road, Gray Summit, MO, 63039

River Scene Trail at Castlewood State Park

Sweet William flowers
Sweet William

Castlewood State Park has wild sweet William, violets, as well as bluebells galore along the River Scene Trail.

The River Scene Trail offers the park’s most breathtaking views, starting with a forested hillside and ascending sharply to overlooks of the Meramec River valley from atop the bluffs. Nearby, the World Bird Sanctuary enriches visits with live birds and educational displays on birds of prey.

50 Minutes from St. Louis

Location: 1401 Kiefer Creek Road, Ballwin, MO 63021-7338

Rock Hollow Trail

Rock Hollow Trail, a hidden gem nestled in Missouri, is a must-visit for anyone craving a dose of nature’s springtime splendor. Celebrated for its dazzling display of bluebells along with a medley of other spring wildflowers, this trail promises a visual feast that’s hard to beat. If you’re wondering where to start this floral adventure, you’ve got two handy entry points.

Rock Hollow is a 2.3 mile walk and is a moderately challenging start with a steep incline for the first quarter mile. But don’t let that deter you—the path gradually evens out, allowing for a more relaxed exploration as you delve deeper.

50 Minutes from St. Louis

Location: 777 Ridge Road, Wildwood, MO 63040

Johnson Trail at Salt Lick Point Land and Water Reserve

celandine poppies
Celandine Poppies

Explore the Johnson Trail at Salt Lick Point Land and Water Reserve, a 3.2-mile out-and-back hike near Valmeyer, Illinois. The trail features steep climbs to the bluffs and a mix of roots and rocky sections. Exercise caution near bluff edges. It typically takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete. Enjoy views from the bluffs, learn about the area’s mining history, and see vibrant spring wildflowers. Spring brings a diverse array of wildflowers to the trail, enhancing the hiking experience.

Wildflowers you might see here: celandine poppies, Virginia bluebells, false rue anemonie, blue phlox, dwarf larkspur, various species of waterleaf, blue and yellow violets, Dutchman’s breeches, dogtooth violets, bloodroot, and jack-in-the-pulpit.

1 Hour from St. Louis

Location: The parking area for Salt Lick Point is located off of Bluff Road, near old-town Valmeyer. It’s just past the Little Creve Coeur Wetland, in an array of shallow wetlands and prairie named for Princess Memetonwish, you’ll find native prairie grasses and wildflowers.

Mastodon State Historic Site in Imperial

If you’re heading to Mastodon State Historic Site, don’t miss the Wildflower Trail. It’s a path that not only takes you back in time to where scientists first found proof of mastodons and humans coexisting 12,000 years ago but also through some pretty scenic spots. The trail dips down a series of stairs to the Kimmswick Bone Bed and winds through the Callison Memorial Bird Sanctuary, filled with wildflowers like blue phlox and butterfly weed.

You’ll walk past an old limestone quarry, down a bluff, and into a garden buzzing with native wildflowers, birds, and butterflies. There’s a small footbridge over a spring that’s particularly lively after a good rain. The trail eventually leads uphill through a thick oak woodland back to where you started, either at the museum or the bird sanctuary. It’s a loop full of natural beauty and a bit of a history lesson, too.

1 Hour from St. Louis

Address: 1050 Charles J, Becker Drive, Imperial, MO, 63052

Wildflowers In and Near Kansas City

If you’re near Kansas City, I recommend the below 3 gardens and trails to see the best wildflowers this spring.

Jerry Smith Park and Saeger Woods Conservation Area

Jerry Smith Park / Saeger Woods Conservation Area

Just a few miles from Kansas City is one of the few remaining remnant prairies in Missouri. Situated on 35 acres of now-restored prairie, Jerry Smith Park and Saeger Woods Conservation Area are great places to escape the city for a little prairie heaven.

Wind through the prairie in late summer and early autumn and gaze at blooming big bluestem, blazing stars and the largest known population in Missouri of eared false foxglove. If you walk on a clear night, you might come across birdlife like the American woodcock, a squat bird known to frequent the park that lays low in grasses before shooting into the sky and swiftly returning, singing its call.

The main hike is about 2.5 miles and the south loop provides a 1.5-mile hike.

Location: E 135th St. and Prospect Ave., Kansas City, MO (the park entrance is accessible from 139th St).

Snowball Hill Prairie

wildflowers in bloom at Snowball Hill Prairie
Photo Credit: Missouri Prairie Foundation

Snowball Hill Prairie stands as a precious remnant of the original prairies that once flourished in the Greater Kansas City area. Hosting a remarkable diversity of flora, the prairie boasts a staggering 213 native plant species. Among these treasures are five rare species, including the federally threatened Mead’s milkweed and the delicate auriculate false foxglove, alongside two grasses and a rush.

During butterfly season, lucky observers may catch a glimpse of the elusive prairie specialist, the golden byssus skipper. Moreover, bird enthusiasts from the Burroughs Audubon Chapter frequent the area to document the diverse avian population annually.

35 minutes from Kansas City.

Address: 19866 E 275th St, Harrisonville, MO 64701

Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s Botanical Garden

wildflowers alsong Powell Gardens’ Byron Shutz trail system
Photo Credit: Powell Gardens’ | Location: Byron Shutz trail system

If you want to visit a gorgeous garden with a paved path, there are an abundance of wildflowers in bloom at Powell Gardens in spring. You can see 100+ different wildflowers in their Nature Trail.

There are 175 acres of signature Midwestern landscape and iconic architecture by E. Fay Jones at Powell Gardens and numerous gardens to explore.

40 Minutes from Kansas City.

Address: 1609 NW US Hwy 50, Kingsville, MO 64061

More Place in Missouri to See WildFlowers

There are so many great places to find wildflowers throughout Missouri and this is a great map of natural areas with highly intact native habitats. In addition to this map resources, below are a few more of our favorite places to find spring wildflowers.

Bonnie View park in Columbia

Bonnie View park in Columbia is a natural prairie habitat with amazing flowers. Bonnie View Nature Area is the trailhead for the Scott’s Branch Trail and is a 93-acre property. The park is adjacent to the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary.

There are three trailheads; Scott’s Branch Trail is 1.7 miles, Prairie Loop Trail is paved and 0.30 miles, and Nature trails at about 1 mile.

This city park and has a spectacular field of native wildflowers every spring and fall.

No dogs are allowed on the trail in the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary.

Tip: There are ticks reported on this trail, so be careful!

Address: 3300 W Rollins Rd, Columbia, MO 65203

Prairie Garden Trust

garden and office at Prairie Garden Trust
Photo Credit: Prairie Garden Trust

The mission of the Prairie Garden Trust is to share the beauty of nature found in a variety of enhanced native habitats. Visitors can stroll through woods, prairie plantings, and along ponds and streams to see the ever-changing plants, birds, butterflies, mammals and more that live here.

Address: 8945 Co Rte 431, New Bloomfield, MO 65063

St. Francois State Park 

Swimming deer hike at St. Francois State Park has amazing bluebell flowers that usually bloom in April. Swimming Deer Trail follows Big River for approximately one mile and circles back along the hillside to its origin. The hike takes about 2 hours.

Address: 8920 US Highway 67 North, Bonne Terre, MO 63628

Three Creeks Conservation Area

If you’re in Mid-Missouri check out the fields at Three Creeks Conservation Area for upland prairie flowers. The nearby Gans Creek Wildlife Area in Rock Bridge State Park has some excellent oak-hickory forest flowers, including orchids.

Directions: From Columbia, take Highway 63 south 5 miles, then Deer Park Road west 1.75 miles.

Big Muddy National Fish And Wildlife Refuge

For wetland flowers check out the various units of the Big Muddy National Fish And Wildlife Refuge along the Missouri River.

Address: 18500 Brady Lane Boonville, MO 65233-3126

Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton

Camdenton is one of Missouri’s small towns where you can find the dogwood tree; the state’s official tree in abundance.

Ha Ha Tonka is one of Missouri’s best state parks. If you are looking for adventure; Ha Ha Tonka has sinkholes, caves, a huge natural bridge, bluffs, Missouri’s twelfth largest spring and wildflowers.

In March, forest flowers like Spring Beauties and Dutchman’s Breeches begin to bloom. Hiking the 15 miles of trails and Ha Ha Tonka will take you by fields of these beauties.

1 hour 20 minutes from Springfield | 1.5 hours from Columbia

Location: 1491 State Road D, Camdenton

Rudolf Bennitt Conservation Area near Columbia

For early spring blooms, explore the forests of Rudolf Bennitt Conservation Area near Rucker, at the junction of Boone, Howard, and Randolph counties. 75 percent of the 3,575 acres is forested. A highlight is the 12.5 mile Moniteau Wilderness Trail.

Location: The conservation area is about 25 miles from Columbia, Missouri, and is located on County Road 2930 West.

Twin Pines Conservation Education Center in Winona

Twin Pines Conservation Education Center near Winona is known for it’s pristine native wildflower gardens. The center offers native plant programs in the spring and summer months.

The native gardens at Twin Pines feature a nice variety of plants native to Shannon County and surrounding areas of the Ozarks.

2 hours from Springfield | 2.5 hours from St. Louis

Address: 20086 Hwy 60, Winona, MO 65588

Cape Girardeau Nature Center

Located within Cape Girardeau’s North County, there are two miles of nature trails that wind through rolling river hills with sinkholes, ravines, and deep hollows and native wildflowers along the hiking trails. There are wildlife-viewing areas and throughout you can see native plants and flowers.

Their Nature Center @ Night” series event for Friday, March 15, 2024 is Woodland Spring Wildflowers. It is free to attend and you can sign up here.

2.5 Hours from St. Louis

Address: 2289 County Park Dr, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

Prairie State Park in Mindenmines

 Prairie State Park hikers with purple gayfeathers wildflowers
Photo Credit: Prairie State Park / Mo State Parks

According to the park’s website, tallgrass prairies once covered more than a third of Missouri, and today, less than 1% remains. This last 1% is mostly located at Prairie State Park. The park itself has 4,000 acres of grasslands and woodlands and preserves much of the few remaining acres of tallgrass prairie in the state.

There are seven trails at the park and I recommend Path of the Earth People Trail to see gayfeather, Spring Beauties (Claytonia virginica) and white wild indigo wildflowers as well as big bluestem, little bluestem and cord grass. Download their wildflower check list!

2 Hours from Kansas City | 1.5 Hours from Springfield

Location: 128 N.W. 150th Lane, Mindenmines, MO

When do Wildflowers Bloom?

You’ll see most wildflowers in March and April and some through May. There are a handful of wildflowers that can bee seen from Spring through early fall such as Tall Bellflower and Jewelweed. A few varieties such as Great Blue Lobelia are found mostly in August and September.

Wildflower Hiking Etiquette 

When you see such a gorgeous field of wildflowers, it’s normal to want to capture that perfect photo. You’re just one person, right? Wrong! Remember that these locations are visited by thousands and thousands of people every season, and every action (no matter how small) adds up. Do your absolute best to leave no trace and preserve these gorgeous flowers for others to enjoy for years to come. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind: 

  • Do not park illegally at trailheads – consider visiting at an off time to avoid crowds when possible
  • Do not pick the flowers
  • Always stay on trail
  • Do not walk, sit, lay, or stand in the wildflowers 
  • Do not set up camp on meadows or wildflowers – use established campsites only
  • Pack out all of your trash, and pick up any trash you find from others if you’re able 

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