4 best spring wildflower events in the Mountain State

 

Each spring, the ridgelines and shrouded forests in the Mountain State become a kaleidoscope of bursting blooms.

There are plenty of organized hikes to help you embrace the sprouting landscape, whether you are in search of oddities like Squirrel Corn, showstoppers like the trillium, or simply want to know the name of those little blue flowers in your backyard.

1. Osbra Eye Memorial Wildflower Walks

If you’re brimming with excitement for those first blooms, Kanawha State Forest is the place to go! Landscapes with lower elevation, like the Kanawha Valley, are the first in the state to enjoy colorful sprouts. Each April, the park is blanketed in up to 40 types of flourishing wildflowers, including the whimsical Jack-in-the-Pulpit and unusual Green Violet.

You’ll be joined by educated guides who know where to look and what they’re looking for. This annual walk honors long-time Kanawha State Forest Superintendent Osbra Eye.

2, New River Birding & Nature Festival

Remember the excitement of heading to summer camp as a kid? Well, the New River Birding and Nature Festival is kind of like a camp for nature-loving big kids (but nature-loving little kids are equally welcome)!

The weeklong event features daily field trips and activities like casual “Popcorn Presentations” with leading global experts and the quirky “Birding by Butt.” Explore the Earth by day, and tuck into a cozy cabin at night.

The festival covers ground all around the New River Gorge. You’ll definitely want to book a seat on the field trip to Cranberry Glades, a remnant from the glacial period and one of the most unique ecosystems in West Virginia. Led by world-class botanists, you’ll spot tons of unique plants and animals there, including carnivorous plants!

3. Sue Browning Wildflower Hike

When Spring hits full bloom at Chief Logan State Park, it’s not uncommon to spot 75 to 100 different species of wildflowers.

Join this popular trek with dozens of other flower seekers. Keep your eyes peeled for delicate and dainty Dutchman’s-breeches and eye-popping violet larkspur. Trail types and lengths vary from short, casual walks of 2.5 miles to longer hikes of 7 to 8 miles

This annual event honors Sue Browning, a member of the Logan Garden Club who was instrumental in starting the walk.

4. West Virginia Wildflower Pilgrimage

This weekend event celebrates the arrival of wildflowers in the higher elevations. Blackwater Falls State Park is the starting point for excursions into other gorgeous nearby landscapes, like Dolly Sods, Canaan Valley and Seneca Rocks.

You’ll uncover a carpets of Virginia bluebells at the Fernow Experimental Forest, and if you’re really lucky, wild bleeding hearts atop the newly green ridges of Dolly Sods.

A crew of experts will lead you on your adventures to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

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This post was last updated on March 19, 2018