Blue, yellow, purple, pink, gold, white, green, stripes, swirls, multicolors and hues beyond description….
The Pryor Mountains have rolling carpets of flowers, isolated pockets of floral jewels, meadows to dazzle the eye and a dyer’s vision of rainbow colors.
There are flowers in the Pryor Mountains from early spring to late fall – blooming times vary with elevation and habitat. They range from purple Pasque Flowers, braving late snows, tiny pink five-petalled flowers of Kelseya, yellow Fritillaries and Spring Beauties (Claytonia) in the spring, to pink Bitterroot, blue lupines, red Striped Coralroot, purple Shooting Stars, dark blue larkspur, red and yellow paintbrushes of early summer. Explorer’s Gentian and Fawn/Glacier Lilies grow near snow melts and wet spots.
Elegant yucca with large creamy flowers stand here and there. Tiny white Prairie Starflowers twinkle in patches of mixed grasses. White, blue and purple penstemon sway in the mountain breeze. Carpets of phlox create islands of white in the green meadows while blue Forget-me-nots grow low to avoid the cold winds. Dusty pink Long Stemmed Avens nod in the shade and wild blue Iris stand by the road. Green gentians display green flowers. White Canada Violets revel in damp, shady spots. Asters such as Arrowleaf Balsamroot announce high summer. Golden Prince’s Plumes parade across the hillsides. Blue flax, yellow and red Gallardia (blanket flowers), and flowering cactus bedeck ridge and slope. A visual feast.
Visit our Botany page for more information on the diverse, unique and rare plants of the Pryor Mountains – and more flower photos.
Click on photos below to enlarge, identify species and view slideshow.
Contributions of new photos for this gallery are welcome. Send photo to Contact Us.. Include description of location of photo and ID if you can.
Where to Go for Pryor Mountain Flower Watching» Want to learn about flowers?»
A good first trip is along Pryor Mountain Road in the north Pryors. (directions and map) Once you enter the National Forest the road begins climbing steadily. Spring moves up in elevation during May, June and July. Just drive up until you see flowers. Stop at an open slope. Get out and walk – not far. Take a lunch, take pictures. Smell the flowers but please don’t pick them. One good stop is near the junction of Crooked Creek and Pryor Mountain Roads. Take a break and wander through the multitude of flowers. Check out Commissary and Cave Ridges (south of Big Ice Cave) and continue on to Dry Head Overlook if road conditions permit.
Higher clearance vehicles are better, but, with care, most vehicles can drive this road when it is dry and after the snow melts. If there have been recent rains, even 4WDs can have trouble.
You can enjoy wild flowers without identifying them, but many people appreciate them even more when they know flowers by name.
- Visit the Montana Native Plant Society website. Consider joining.
- Get a flower identification guide, such as
Wildflowers of Montana, by Donald Anthony Schiemann, Mountain Press Publishing Co.
Wildflower Guide to the Central Montana Rocky Mountains, Andy Kukolax, Diamond Springs
Central Rocky Mountain Wildflowers, H. Wayne Phillips, Falcon Publishing