Wildflowers of all colors, shapes, and sizes provide natural beauty in Colorado's parks, open spaces, and along the trails. During the spring and summer, these vibrant, blossoming beauties pop up left and right across the state – but just because they're pretty doesn't mean you should pick them.

While there's no denying that a bouquet of wildflowers is beautiful, plucking them from the ground or damaging them in any way can have many negative impacts.

For example, bees, butterflies, and other types of wildlife depend on these flowers for food. Their nectar and pollen can oftentimes support entire ecosystems. Taking wildflowers or plants from their natural setting can harm that ecosystem and all its species.

Wildflowers are fragile and wilt quickly after picking. When dug up from their natural habitat, most wildflowers do not survive being transplanted anyway. Unfortunately, the Forest Service is experiencing increased poaching of Colorado's native wildflowers; even some that are listed as endangered species.

Rather than picking flowers, only stop to smell. You can always take photos to remember them too, but don't trample over nature's artwork to do so. Sitting in the flower fields will damage existing blooms and prevent the next generation from growing. Leaving wildflowers alone ensures they will be around for others to view throughout the season. Picking wildflowers also prevents them from going to seed, which limits future wildflowers' blooms.

Another good reason not to pick wildflowers - it's illegal.  A penalty may be enforced if Colorado Parks and Wildlife catches someone purposely destroying or damaging flowers on public lands in the Centennial State. Millions of people visit Colorado's public lands each year and if only a small fraction of them each picked a few flowers, soon there would be none left for anyone to enjoy.

Tread lightly, admire from a far, and don't doom the bloom while out and about in Colorado this summer!

Top 10 Trails for Wildflower Viewing in Colorado

AllTrails ranks these trails as the best for viewing beautiful wildflowers.

Gallery Credit: Kelsey Nistel

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