Conserving native plants will be the focus of Shenandoah National Park’s 28th annual Wildflower Weekend coming in early May.
During the weekend of May 3-4, park visitors may see woodland beauties such as trillium, wild geranium, jack-in-the-pulpit, and a variety of others on naturalist-led hikes.
Trails included in the event this year are Compton Peak, Fort Windham Rocks, Millers Head, Mill Prong, Appalachian, Franklin Cliffs, South River Falls, and Hightop. In a nod to this year’s 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, there will be a wildflower walk into part of the park’s designated wilderness on the Skyland-Big Meadows Horse Trail. There will also be a birding walk, a “Wildflower Identification for Beginners” walk, and, for kids, a “Bugs and Blooms” walk.
Two featured programs will take place in the auditorium at Byrd Visitor Center (mile 51 on Skyline Drive). A panel discussion, “Rooting Out Invasive Plants,” will be presented by Jake Hughes, biological technician at Shenandoah, and Kevin Heffernan, stewardship biologist for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Naturalists and professional photographers Ann and Rob Simpson will present Wild About Shenandoah: From Wildflowers to Wildlife. They will also lead a hike on the Limberlost Trail, searching for flowers and offering photography tips.
For more details, see the complete Wildflower Weekend schedule.
Programs are free, and no registration is required. There is a $15-per-car entrance fee to the park, good for seven days.