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Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring Hikes at Wintergreen!

Spring at Wintergreen is among the richest times of year to venture into the woods. Before the trees leaf out, wildflowers take advantage of the extra light and produce a colorful array of flowers that carpet the forest floor. Here are a few of the best trails to find a great diversity of wildflowers at Wintergreen.

Old Appalachian Trail (Cedar Dr to Laurel Springs): This remnant of the 2190 mile trail that used to run through Wintergreen is a wildflower powerhouse. Trillium, lady slippers, fly poison, azaleas, rhododendron, wood betony and many more wildflowers bloom prolifically along this trail. This west –northwest aspect creates a moist, rich environment that is ideal for flower diversity. It also offers spectacular views into the Shenandoah Valley. The trail is rated moderate-difficult.

Highlands Leisure Trail- This heavily used trail is often thought of as a way from the Mountain Inn to the top of the mountain. Once flowers begin to emerge, this trail is transformed to a botanists dream. This moderate .5 mile trail offers some of the best flowers Wintergreen has to offer. From wild geranium to Canada lily this hike constantly surprises hikers with its constant barrage of flowers. Combine this hike with a stop at the Trillium Field, across Wintergreen Drive from the top of the trail, and the hiker increases the viewing pleasure by adding thousands of white and pink trillium to hiking experience.

Cedar Cliffs Main – Hemlock Springs Trail: One of the best loop hikes at Wintergreen is Cedar Cliffs Main around to Hemlock Springs trail. This moderate 2 – 2.5 mile loop starts with the dry, rocky ridge on Cedar Cliff main. This trail is loaded with mountain laurel and rhododendron which offer a great late spring flower show. At the end of the trail is a wonderful overlook into the Shamokin Gorge. On the rocky outcrop is a bunch of lovely bleeding hearts. Turn onto Cedar Cliffs South to join up with Hemlock Springs. This wet, streamlined trail is a great change of pace to Cedar Cliffs Main. It is loaded with ferns, may apple and some pink and yellow lady slippers. This section of hiking is accessed using Grassy Ridge gravel road found at the bottom of Grassy Ridge Drive.

Enjoy!

Last Edited by The Mountain Messenger on Friday, April 14, 2017