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Northern Idaho Flowers

Stop and Smell the Lilacs

If it’s spring in the Northwest, then the tulip fields are blooming from Washington state’s Skagit Valley to British Columbia and Oregon. Winter lasts longer in Idaho, so you might not see spring flowers blooming until late April. Paul Warnick, horticulturist at the University of Idaho Arboretum & Botanical Garden in Moscow, recommends visiting in mid-May for the sweet-smelling bloom of more than 200 lilac plants from about 100 varieties, with colors ranging from shades of purple to blue, pink and white. Personal tours are available at the garden, which is also known for its hosta collection. Moscow and its sister city across the border — Pullman, Washington — both have farmers markets where you’re sure to find fresh-cut flowers. Check out our Getaway guide to Moscow and Pullman for more details about visiting these twin college towns and the University of Idaho Arboretum & Botanical Garden.

A latticed pie crust, baked golden brown
Pie from the Pie Safe Bakery & Kitchen in Deary, Idaho (photo courtesy of Pie Safe)

Fields of Violet

Then drive northeast toward Deary to Vassar Meadows for its camas flowers. The bulbs of these blue-violet beauties are a winter staple still harvested by members of the Nez Perce Tribe. But don’t pick or eat these plants; save room for the Pie Safe Bakery & Kitchen in town instead.

Wildflowers along the trail on Tubbs Hill in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Tubbs Hill in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (photo by

Coeur d’Alene Wildflowers

For a scenic walk with wildflowers, head north to Tubbs Hill in Coeur d’Alene. This 2-mile hike loops through tall trees and signs of spring on the banks of Coeur d’Alene Lake. Dogs are allowed on the trail, but must remain on leash.

–Written by Meredith Metsker

This story originally appeared in the March/April 2020 edition of the AAA Washington member magazine, Journey.

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