Wildflower Weekend at Shenandoah National Park begins Saturday

Walks, workshops and activities are on tap this weekend for the Shenandoah National Park’s 32nd annual Wildflower Weekend

Sally Hurlbert, park management specialist, said Wildflower Weekend is the perfect time for flower enthusiasts to explore what the park has to offer.

“The park has over 850 species of flowering plants that grow throughout the Shenandoah National Park,” Hurlbert said. “It seems like now that all the wildflowers are emerging more people are attracted to the park from all entrances.”

Over 70 percent of the wildflowers on the floor of the forest is native to the valley. As the temperature warms up, they’re racing to bloom and attract pollinators before the trees are in full bloom.

The Wildflower Weekend program schedule includes:

  • Bearface Mountain Hike: 9 a.m. Saturday with park ranger Mara Meisel. Patrons will search for vernal irises and birdfoot violets on the 1.5-mile hike. Meet at Meadows School Fire Road, mile 56.8 of Skyline Drive.
  • Franklin Cliffs Stroll: 9:30 a.m. Saturday with Ann and Rob Simpson, guest naturalists. Discover a variety of wildflowers just a few steps from the parking lot. Franklin Cliffs Overlook, mile 49.
  • Featured program: Citizen-Science/Phonology Project, 9:30 a.m. Saturday with park ranger Chrissy Cochran.  Find out how to become part of the ever-growing National Phenology Network, an online database that is used by scientists to track changes in bloom times and insect emergence. Byrd Visitor Center auditorium, mile 51.
  • What’s blooming from Skyland to Timber Hollow overlook, southbound on the Appalachian Trail, 1:30 Saturday with  Meisel. South entrance of Skyland Resort, mile 42.5
  • Spring birds of Pocosin, 9 a.m. Sunday, with Alan Williams, park ecologist. Look for spring migrants that may be flitting near the spring and surrounding woods. Meet at Pocosin cabin, mile 59.5
  • Saddleback Mountain Loop, 1:30 p.m. Sunday with Meisel. Discover what’s blooming on this new hike that includes a section of the Appalachian Trail. Meet at South River Falls, mile 62.5.

“Spring is such a great time to visit the national park,” Hurlbert said. “With everything that’s blooming, it’s such a beautiful escape.”

For a full schedule visit https://tinyurl.com/ybywlrfo.