, a high elevation species, grows in the central and southern Sierra Nevada, California, extending into Nevada in the vicinity of Lake Tahoe.
Flowers are subtly colored; the (spreading) sepals are pale pink, while the forwards-pointing petals are creamy yellow to white, and the petal spurs are pink or yellowish. The spurs are straight or nearly so, and 1.5 to 2 times the length of the sepals, up to 2 inches. The stamens and pistils are exserted. Filaments of the stamens are white, and the anthers yellow. Flowers tend to be erect or ascending, rather than nodding. Plants with spurs and sepals colored darker pink to reddish result from hybridization with aquilegia formosa
Leaves are attached by long stalks. Basal leaves are ternately divided once or twice, into round-lobed leaflets, while upper stem leaves are simpler, and smaller.