late March through April

THIS WALK IS CURRENTLY NOT AN OPTION AS DESCRIBED, DUE TO THE TRAIL NOW BEING PART OF A ONE-WAY LOOP AS PART OF A PILOT PROGRAM BY RIDGE-TO-RIVERS.  As so designated, the described section can only be accessed as part of a minimum 4-mile loop.  The Pilot Program is scheduled to run through November 1, 2021, after which its continuation will depend on feedback.

Polecat Loop view
Sandy slopes on east segment of Polecat Loop Trail, with best selection of wildflowers.

Description: This is no longer an easy walk for enjoying a good selection of spring wildflowers, including a diversity of tiny “belly flowers” (best enjoyed at close range). One tiny “treasure” is the elusive, eponymous Idahoa, if only for the name; a challenge to find, and in only one spot along the trail. Other special plants include the rare Aase’s onion (Allium aaseae) and uncommon hairy wild-cabbage (Caulanthus pilosus).




The highlighted walk is the east segment of Polecat Loop Trail (#81) paralleling Cartwright Road. The plant list covers 1.5 miles from the Cartwright Road trailhead to the southern dogleg on the path, with the option of then doubling back (for 3 miles roundtrip), or continuing for loop options with few additional flowers. Most of the recommended section is sandy, but there are stretches with more clay content that should be avoided when muddy. The single-track trail is popular with cyclists, so be alert and courteous.


PLANT LIST [updating needed]

NOTE: Please enjoy the wildflowers and leave them for others to enjoy.  Because our unique local flora is already under pressure from invasive weeds and habitat loss, harvesting of native plants is not encouraged on this website, especially along popular trails.

Flowering plants are listed in likely order of occurrence from trailhead; some might not yet be in bloom, or present during a particular year. * designates native plants

Download plant list pdf



SHRUBS (not in bloom)

  • *Rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria [formerly Chrysothamnus] nauseosa) — var. hololeuca is the more common larger variety; the smaller, more spindly var. oreophila is mostly on plateaus
  • *Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)most plants are ssp. tridentata, with some sporadic ssp. vaseyana (shorter plants with broader leaves, possibly planted)
  • *Bitterbrush, Antelope brush (Purshia tridentata)
  • *Netleaf hackberry (Celtis reticulata) – visible on opposite slope across Cartwright Road]

PRIMARY BUNCHGRASSES (mostly not in bloom, but evident)

SIGNIFICANT NOXIOUS WEEDS (not in bloom, but evident)