Park Rangers Gearing Up for Annual Wildflower Walks at Grandfather Mountain State Park

Published Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 11:44 am
Claytonia virginica

Claytonia virginica

Grandfather Mountain State Park Rangers are gearing up for the annual spring wildflower hikes! The Southern Appalachian Mountains provide for a stunning array of native wildflowers and we look forward to this time of year! Rangers would love to share this natural beauty with you: join us!

Attend the early hikes to see which will be the first to bloom: will it be hepatica Hepatica acutiloba, cutleaf toothwortCardamine concatenate or spring beauties Claytonia virginica?  Join us later on to see the delicate rosy twisted stalkStreptopus lanceolatus.  One of my personal favorites in late April is the painted trillium Trillium undulatum.   Join us every week to experience the new blooms as they emerge!

hepatica - sharp lobe at Pusateri Hepatica acutiloba

hepatica – sharp lobe at Pusateri Hepatica acutiloba

Plant experts and novices alike enjoy the experience.  This year, we have established some longer jaunts for those who want to hike further and designated some ‘hikes’ as non-hikes: we’ll stay close to the parking lot so those who want to see the wildflowers without hiking will have the opportunity.  Read the descriptions for hike length.

NC State Parks are celebrating our Centennial in 2016: what a great time to come out and explore your state parks!!  All state park programs are listed on the state park website: www.ncparks.gov.

Call the park office at 828.963.9522 or email susan.mcbean@ncparks.gov for more information.

2016 Annual Wildflower Walks

Painted trillium

Painted trillium

Free and Open to the Public

You are invited to join a park ranger for a guided wildflower walk in Grandfather Mountain State Park this spring.  There is a walk for everyone – some are more challenging but some do not venture far from the parking lot.  Grandfather Mountain’s forest floor produces an amazing variety of wildflowers, which change from week to week, so join us throughout the season to experience the changes! Wear sturdy hiking boots. Bring a jacket, water and snacks. All ages welcome: participants under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. No pets, please.

Locations:

·        The Profile Trail is located on Highway 105 South; ½ mile north of the Highway 184 intersection

Directions: https://goo.gl/dBX99s

·        Boone Fork Parking Lot is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway; just north of mile marker 300

Directions: http://goo.gl/dEizYH

·        The Park Office is located at 9872 Highway 105 S, Banner Elk, NC 28604 – Directions: https://goo.gl/Uq0vrX

Friday, April 1   |   5pm – 7pm   |   Profile Parking lot

We will hike about one mile, round trip.  This section of the trail is easy with a couple of moderate climbs; it can be very muddy and slippery.  Dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear and be prepared to be outside.

Friday, April 8   |   4pm – 5:30pm   |   Profile Parking lot

The forest floor surrounding the Profile Trail Parking Lot is abundant with spring wildflowers.  We don’t need to go far to observe many species.  This is a great opportunity for someone who does not want to walk far: we’ll stay within 1/8 mile of the parking lot.  Dress for the weather and be prepared to be outside.

Sunday, April 10   |   4pm – 6pm   |   Profile Parking lot

We will hike about one mile, round trip.  This section of the trail is easy with a couple of moderate climbs; it can be very muddy and slippery.  Dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear and be prepared to be outside.

Friday, April 15   |   1pm – 3pm   |   Profile Parking lot

We will hike about one mile, round trip.  This section of the trail is easy with a couple of moderate climbs; it can be very muddy and slippery.  Dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear and be prepared to be outside.

Sunday, April 24 |   4pm – 6pm   |   Profile Parking lot

We will hike about two miles, round trip.  This section of the trail is easy with a couple of moderate climbs; it can be very muddy and slippery.  Dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear, bring water and be prepared to be outside.

Friday, April 29   |   4pm – 6pm   |   Profile Parking lot

We will hike about two miles, round trip.  This section of the trail is easy with a couple of moderate climbs; it can be very muddy and slippery.  Dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear, bring water and be prepared to be outside.

Saturday, April 30   |   1pm – 2pm   |   Boone Fork Parking lot

We don’t need to venture far away from the parking lot to observe many species.  This is a great opportunity for someone who does not want to walk far: we’ll stay within 1/8 mile of the parking lot.  Dress for the weather and be prepared to be outside.

Sunday, May 1   |   9am – 11am   |   Park Office at 9872 Hwy 105 South, Suite 6, Banner Elk, NC

Hikers will meet as a group at the park office. Group will leave together for a guided wildflower walk.

Saturday, May 7   |   1pm to 4pm   |   Boone Fork Parking lot

We will hike about three miles round trip.  The trail is easy but rocky and can be muddy. Dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear, bring water and be prepared to be outside.

Friday, May 13   |   4pm to 6pm   |   Boone Fork Parking lot

We will hike about three miles round trip.  The trail is easy but rocky and can be muddy. Dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear, bring water and be prepared to be outside.

Sunday, May 15   |   4pm to 6pm   |   Profile Parking lot

As part of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation’s Naturalist Weekend

Take an opportunity to discover the wildflowers of Grandfather’s western slope on a ranger-guided walk along the Profile Trail. 2 miles round-trip.

Tuesday, May 17   |   2pm – 4:30pm   |   Profile Parking lot

We will hike three miles round trip.  The trail is easy to moderate with some hill climbs.  It can be muddy and slippery.  Dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear, bring water and be prepared to be outside.

Saturday, May 21   |   2pm – 4pm   |   Boone Fork Parking lot

We will hike about two miles round trip.  The trail is easy but rocky and can be muddy. Dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear, bring water and be prepared to be outside.

Sunday, May 22   |   9am – 11am   |   Profile Parking lot

We will hike about two miles, round trip.  This section of the trail is easy with a couple of moderate climbs; it can be very muddy and slippery.  Dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear, bring water and be prepared to be outside.

Saturday, May 28   |   2pm – 4pm   |   Boone Fork Parking lot

We will hike about two miles round trip.  The trail is easy but rocky and can be muddy. Dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear, bring water and be prepared to be outside.

Sunday June 12   |   1pm – 4pm   |   Boone Fork Parking lot

We will hike about three miles round trip.  The trail is easy but rocky and can be muddy. Dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear, bring water and be prepared to be outside.

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