11 wonderful wildflower trails in West Virginia

The return of warm weather brings blushing blooms and sunny skies to the Mountain State. Set out on a wildflower hike this season and find yourself surrounded by Almost Heaven natural beauty. Bring along picnic lunch for the ultimate outdoor experience. Read on for a few of the best spots in West Virginia to see wildflowers this spring and summer.

1. WVU Core Arboretum

The WVU Core Arboretum boasts a rainbow of spring wildflowers such as trout lily, dwarf larkspur, Virginia bluebell and the rare trillium. Explore on your own or join one of the free guided walks that begin in April. A great picnic spot is nearby Dorsey’s Knob park, a great place to catch the sunset over Morgantown.

2. New River Gorge Area

Grandview is known for its spectacular overlook of the New River Gorge horseshoe bend as well as an array of blooming rhododendrons all around. While here, be sure to hike the 2-mile Little Laurel Trail to see even more wildflowers lining the path.

3. Sunrise Carriage Trail

The Sunrise Carriage Trail is a hidden gem within the capital city, connecting downtown Charleston to the South Hills. The shaded gravel path is known for its variety of flowering plants, both domestic and wild. Once you’ve walked the trail, take a picnic lunch out to Coonskin Park and even witness one of the falls on the new West Virginia Waterfall Trail.

4. Canaan Valley Resort State Park

The high plateau of Canaan Valley Resort State Park is home to a multitude of mountain wildflowers. Blackwater River Trail’s wide, open wetland is a great place to view beauties like the blue vervain and swamp milkweed up close along a 1-mile loop.

5. Fernow Experimental Forest

In late spring, the 6.2-mile Turkey Run Trail in the Fernow Experimental Forest is abundant with wildflowers of all kinds. The forest is just a short drive from Canaan Valley Resort and Blackwater Falls State Park, which make a great base for your outdoor exploration.

6. Dolly Sods Wilderness

Late spring is also an ideal time to find a variety of wildflowers within the Dolly Sods Wilderness. Trek along Big Oaks Trail to see thimbleweed, fireweed and stunning tiger lilly.

7. Cacapon Resort State Park

The rocky soil of Cacapon Resort State Park doesn’t deter the hardiest of wildflowers from growing here. On Central Trail, an easy 5-mile loop, you’ll find wild blueberries paired with a variety of flowering plants.

8. Audra State Park

The 2.7 mile Alum Creek and Cave Trail at Audra State Park takes guests under the impressive Alum Cave and alongside the flowing waters of the Middle Fork River. Hikers love this trail best in the summer, when the shady tunnel becomes covered by blooming rhododendron.

9. Oglebay Resort

Oglebay Resort is known for its immaculate gardens and flower beds, but you’ll also find wildflowers among the A.B. Brooks Discovery Trail System behind the Schrader Environmental Education Center. Plan a picnic lunch at nearby Grand Vue Park, which features scenic views of Moundsville.

10. Highland Scenic Highway

Travel Highland Scenic Highway for the perfect mix of stunning mountain views and our iconic country roads. Stop to stretch your legs at Honeycomb Rocks, where you’ll find trillium blooming among wild ramps during the spring.

11. Cranberry Glades Botanical Area

The unique boreal ecosystem of Cranberry Glades Botanical Area showcases a variety of plants more commonly found in northern climates, including two carnivorous species, purple pitcher plant and sundew. The half-mile boardwalk includes interpretive signs describing the flora and fauna of the area.

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This post was last updated on January 18, 2024