Not every hike on Colorado’s Front Range is an epic, hours-long trek through amazing mountain vistas. And not everyone has time to squeeze this sort of activity into their schedule on a regular basis. Sometimes, the occasion or time constraints call for a short and sweet infusion of natural beauty. That’s why options such as Writers Vista Park are such an invaluable part of Littleton, CO. Ideal for a quick nature break during a workday lunch period, a family picnic on a weekend, a walk with your favorite furry friend, or a simple solitary stroll to reflect and take in nature, Writers Vista Park is conveniently situated in the center of town. There’s also a small playground to keep the little ones occupied. Plus, the trails are flat and paved for easy navigation by those of all ages and skill levels.
Writers Vista Park also provides a first-hand look at many vegetative species that are native to the Front Range. Following are just five of the many native plants you’ll encounter during a stroll through this charming little park.
As its name implies, Colorado Blue Spruce needles feature a bluish tinge that makes the tree very easy to identify. This stately tree grows to 75 feet at full maturity. Its needles are stiff and prickly, so if you’re taking a nature walk with curious little ones, be sure to encourage them to touch the needles gently to avoid unpleasant sensations.
A Thinleaf Alder is a smallish tree that rarely reaches more than 20 feet tall at maturity. Its dark green leaves turn vibrant yellow in autumn, contrasting nicely with its reddish bark.
No Front Range greenspace would be complete without the Rocky Mountain Columbine’s picturesque white and lavender blooms sprinkled through the meadows and under the deciduous trees. Columbines bloom from April through July, and just one look will tell you why they were chosen as Colorado’s state flower.
Blue Flax is another spring and early summer bloomer that can be found rambling around natural spaces in the Front Range and other alpine environments. It grows up to two feet tall, and colors range from sky blue to light lavender. The flowers of Blue Flax only open on sunny days.
Otherwise known as Winecups because of the distinctive shape of its flowers, Purple Poppy Mallow grows only about a foot high but has a spread of up to three feet. Its magenta-colored flowers peak in early summer, but plants can continue flowering intermittently throughout the rest of the summer and into autumn.
The above native flowers and trees are just a small slice of the natural beauty to be found in and around Littleton, CO. Keep in mind that even if you don’t have time to make a day of hiking, picnicking, and otherwise communing with nature, there are still plenty of options near Denver where you can get a quick nature fix.