Wildflowers in Stealey Mountain Trail Complex

I (re)explored the ATV double-track* trails in what I call the Stealey Mountain Trail Complex. I found wildflowers galore. Here are pictures. Update: see here for description of my new wildflower book. I’m going back through the wildflower pictures to see what I can identify.

red flower

Here one I haven't seen before. Reddish, but with a different shape. Update: can't find anything like it in the wildflower book.

Here are more. If you can help me identify these, I’d sure appreciate the input.

tiny purple flowers

I've seen flowers similar to this that are white, but these have a distinct purple cast. They're barely bigger than a fingertip. Update: these appear to be Three-Nerve Fleabane, a form of Aster.

purple flower

This seems to be the day for purple. Here's a tiny little thing with clusters of purple bells. Update: I can't find in the wildflower book. Next time I need a picture of the leaves too.

purple flowers on a stalk

For purple flowers, this time on stalks. That's my gloved hand there. Update: the wildflower book seems to indicate these are Tall Penstemon, a form of snapdragon.

tiny white flowers

Here are some tiny little white flowers clustered together. The set on the left is nearly all in bloom, the set on the right is getting ready to bloom. Update: Argh! If I'd only known what I had in my hand! The wildflower book says these are Poison Hemlock! (And, to be more interesting, they're part of the carrot family!) Good think I had gloves on—even tiny amounts can be fatal.


I nearly zoomed by these, but the odd shape caught my eye. Update: the wildflower book suggests these are Orange Sneezeweed, part of the Aster family.


Here a columbine reaches out to kiss an aspen tree. Update: the wildflower book further identifies these as Alpine Columbine, part of the buttercup family.

Dave and bush

I set the camera on timer and posed near this bush with purple flower stalks, hoping I could catch some reflected glory. Update: I think these are another example of Tall Penstemon, a form of snapdragon.

Ferns as undergrowth

The forest floor is alive with ferns and other undergrowth. Here, white flowers join the ferns. It reminded me of Descanso Gardens in La Canada-Flintridge in California. Update: I think these are Common Yarrow, a member of the Aster family. Next time I go up I'll have a closer look.

Aspen forms canopy over double-track trail.

That's not a Jeep road there—a Jeep wouldn't fit. That's a double-track trail made by 4-wheelers. And it's narrow enough that the aspen canopy closes overhead, giving me the feeling that I'm in the forest, rather than in a slot through the forest.

*Double-track means a track for an ATV (all terrain vehicle). These paths are much narrower than Jeep tracks. I enjoy these trails because with the motorcycle, I can pick which of the two tracks I find more convenient.

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5 Responses to Wildflowers in Stealey Mountain Trail Complex

  1. David Casler says:

    I think so. There is an additional hiking-only trail from the end of one of the ATV trails that goes up and over the ridge and comes out on the West fork of the river. It’s been ages since I’ve been up there.

  2. DERRICK RANN says:

    Can you ride your ATV and camp on the trail?And how many miles can you ride on the trails ? Thank you for answering my questions.

  3. Betty says:

    Four years late… but I’m pretty sure what you thought is hemlock is common yarrow. Very similar but the flowers are a bit differently clustered and leaves are fern-y fuzzy looking where the hemlock is like parsley. Hemlock also has a mouse-y like unpleasant smell. But…when in doubt, throw it out 🙂

  4. dave says:

    You bet I stay on established trails! There are plenty of them and no reason to go cross country. Riding just anywhere creates erosion opportunities.

    Re the loud engines, I’m right there with you. One biker with straight through pipes can create enough ill will that it takes many, many motorcyclists doing good things to counterbalance.

    I hope the site is a good way to relive the SW Colorado experience!

  5. Barney says:

    Beautiful pix. The one little purple flower is a variety of aster, I think.
    You seem to do your biking on established trails; I congratulate and thank you for that. In my USFS days 30 yrs ago around Silverton, (some of) the bikers would tear rutted trails straight up the fragile slopes, making a horrible mess.
    I like motorcycles. I just wish bikers were not so enamored of the superloud engine noise. I refuse to believe they can’t make mufflers that tone it down for the people on and around the bikes. Oh well, my kids ride Harleys; they are loud too.
    Thanks again for the pix. I surely miss SW Colorado.

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