Albion Basin Wild Flower Identification

Trail Landscape

Fridays are usually my field trip days with the kids.  We have been doing quite a bit of hiking this summer with my parents and have seen some amazing sights here in our beautiful state!  Over the past weekend we went up to Albion Basin (Little Cottonwood canyon just past the Alta ski resort).   I have to say it was by far my favorite hike this year and full of more wild flowers than you can imagine!  If you want to go hiking do it soon before the blooms are gone!  We hiked all the way up to the top where the trail takes you to an overlook of Katherine lake down into Big Cottonwood canyon.  It was a very doable 1 mile from where we started.  We decided to take another trail just .5 of a mile to Sunset Peak to overlook all 4 lakes down in Big Cottonwood; Katherine, Martha, Mary and Silver!  It was breath taking!  Here are some of my favorite blooms I identified along our walk.  There are a few that I loved and didn’t know the names for.  If you can identify them, I’d love to know what they are! 🙂


Arnica – this native flower was growing in fields along side the mountain and is part of the daisy family.  It’s flowers are used fresh or dry to infuse oil for sore muscles, bruises and swelling.


Aster – usually a fall bloomer in the valley

Catnip in Full Bloom

Catnip – part of the mint family and is great used medicinally as a digestive aid.  It can also be used to relieve tension.


Columbine – this flower is always prettiest in the mountains to me!

Creeping Phylox

Creeping Phlox – we found this one at the very top in very sandy soil.  It’s fragrance was very close to a gardenia!


Dandelion – this flower is more than just a weed!  It’s leaves are edible and sweetest before the flowers come on.  It is a known diuretic and liver cleanser.

Elephant Flower

Elephant Flower – these little flowers are so fun!  Can you see the resemblance of an elephant trunk?

Fire Flower

Fire Flower – this flower is the first to grow and bloom after a forest fire, hence it’s name!


Forget-me-not – These dainty little blue flowers are so small they are almost forgotten.  Look for some the next time you go hiking, they grow everywhere!

Indian Paintbrush Collage 1Indian Paintbrush Collage 2

Indian Paintbrush – I have never seen such variety of Indian Brush in my life!  Look at all the beautiful colors!  Certainly one of my favorites!

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder – this flower gets it’s name because of the way the leaves are placed along the stem going up like a ladder.  It’s white flowers are very attractive too!


Native Lupine – this flower has a beautiful blueish purple blossom.  You can always tell the plant is lupine from it’s 6 fanned leaves.

Mountain Bee Balm

Mountain Bee Balm – I am not 100% sure this is wild bee balm, but it looks pretty close.  You can see one of the buds blossoming.  They almost look very closely related to a clover too.

Mountain Blue Bells

Mountain Blue Bells – These pretty little flowers grow best in dappled sun light and close to water.  They come in blue and pink colors.

Penstomen 1 Penstomen 2

Penstamen – this plant has hundreds of varieties!  They come in all shapes, sizes and colors!  Google penstamen and see what you come up with!

Rocket Flower

(Sky) Rocket Flower – perfect name don’t you think?

Valarian 1 Valarian 2

Valerian – this fragrant bundle of flowers is heavenly to behold!  It’s roots are used medicinally as a sedative.

Wild Flax

Flax – this flower grows natively all over Utah.  It’s seeds are used for culinary purposes and have many health benefits.

Wild Pink Geranium Wild Purple Geranium Wild White Geranium

Wild Geranium – this flower comes in mostly white and purple, but you can occasionally find a pink one too.

Wild Strawberry

Wild Strawberry – this particular variety does not produce edible fruit.

Yellow Flower Mystery 1 White Flower Mystery 2

These are the two I didn’t have names for.  The white ones were all over and the yellow were more rare.  Do you know what they are?

Wild Yarrow Plant

White Yarrow – the true yarrow grown wild all over the north west.  It has been known medicinally to help with fevers, sweating and the common cold.

Lakes At the Top!

We finally made it to the top!  Thanks for going along with us on our journey!  Next time you go hiking, see how many wild flowers you can identify!

Emily Saddler

Emily is first a wife to her best friend Ryan, homeschool mom of 7 awesome kids, Holistic Health Practitioner in the state of Utah and Traditional Naturopath outside of the state of Utah, master gardener, yoga/pilates instructor, certified clinical and master herbalist, licensed massage therapist, and doula. She is a very passionate advocate of all things Mother Nature! Emily maintains a blog called “The Organic Farm Girl” where she shares gardening advice, delicious recipes made with fresh, organic ingredients, herbal and natural home care product recipes and loves teaching classes on gardening, plant identification and herbal remedy workshops. Check out the events and classes page for more info.

4 Replies to “Albion Basin Wild Flower Identification”

  1. The white wild geranium is called Richardson’s Geranium, and the pink variety is called Sticky Geranium. Also, it’s fireweed (so called because it is one of the first plants to come up after a forest fire.) The skyrocket flower is also known as Scarlet Gilia.. There are two varieties up in the Albion Basin, the Wasatch Penstamen (dark purple) and Whipple Penstamen (light purple.) Many of those big fields of yellow flowers are Arrowleaf Balsamroot. We’ve also seen a little white flower growing on vertical stalks – that’s Bog Orchid; it’s often found close to the Elephant Head plants, near streams. Early in the season, you can see masses of white Bittercress blossoms along the streams, too. I highly recommend the flower book published by the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation.

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