Littleton Crabapple Trail 2016
If you live in Littleton or close by, you know one of the highlights of Spring in your neighborhood is the annual explosion of luminous rose crabapple blossom that heralds the approaching gardening season
Of course, this spectacular attraction didn’t grow up all by itself – many, if not most, of today’s mature trees were planted by a City beautification program envisioned by then-Mayor Vaughn Gardinier more than 40 years ago. The city council appropriated money to plant the trees — and encouraged homeowners to plant them as well. Through the years, a total of 6,727 trees accumulated on streets and in private yards in the older part of town — around one per every six residents, according to a census done in 2014 by members of Littleton Crabapple Trail Inc., the body which now largely manages, maintains and promotes the trail. Their mission is
“to continue privately what was originally a City government program
[…] civic improvement and slum and blight prevention through beautification of the City. We will continue that effort by encouraging the planting and maintenance of additional flowering crabapple trees. While our focus will be on streets marked as the “Littleton Crabapple Trail”, plantings throughout the City by private individuals and organizations will be encouraged. The Littleton Crabapple Trail will be emphasized as an educational resource showing how citizen involvement in beautification efforts can benefit the community.”
Weekends in April and early May are the optimal time to tour the Crabapple Trail. The route features seven easily-accessible miles in the heart of Littleton where visitors enjoy the fragrance and breathtaking beauty of these spring-blooming trees – walking, biking, and driving routes are all available. While 2016’s rough Spring weather slightly dampened some viewing weekends in April, the crabapple damage has not been catastrophic and it’s still worth taking a cruise or walking through the trail.
Visit the City of Littleton’s Crabapple Trail page for some history and an interactive map of the route.
(You can support the Littleton Crabapple Trail, Inc. organization on their homepage here.)
Curious about growing crabapples yourself? See our crabapple care guide.