Here in the middle of June Parkway meadows are filled with the beautiful blooms of summer reminding us that at any time of year or season the Parkway is a wonderful place for those who love wildflowers.
The meadows in the James River area, especially as you cross the river on the south side and begin heading for Peaks of Otter, are just filled with Queen Anne’s Lace and Black-Eyed Susan. It’s a beautiful site right now.
Climbing across Apple Orchard Mountain look out for some Mountain Laurel, Wild Bergamot, Milkweed, Yarrow, Loose Strife, and Daisy Fleabane all in bloom. Coreopsis, Trumpet Vine and Thimble Weed may also be spotted. Some Fire Pink is still visible in the Peaks of Otter area, along with Butterfly Weed and Deptford Pink.
From Rocky Knob to the North Carolina/ Virginia state line look for Ox-Eye Daisy, Black-Eyed Susan, Fleabane Daisy, and Fire Pink all in bloom. The bright orange Butterfly Weed and Day Lily are especially nice right now.
In North Carolina around the Grandfather Mountain corridor many of the same species are blooming, although remember that elevation change can make a big difference. Here in North Carolina’s High Country visitors will find wild Hydrangea, some Mountain Laurel, and Flame Azalea in bloom.
Along Rough Ridge trail Mountain Ash, Turkey Beard and Galax are common. At the Moses Cone Manor, milepost 294, blooms include St. John’s Wort, Phlox, Dame’s Rocket, Virginia Spiderwort, and Meadow-Rue with Yarrow and Milkweed coming on.
From the Beacon Heights trail lots of Galax on the trail as well as some Bowman’s Root and Mountain Laurel. At the top Michaux’s Saxifrage is blooming everywhere. In Gillespie Gap Mountain Laurel, Catawba Rhododendron, Flame Azalea, Fire Pink, Solomon’s Seal, Columbine, and Coreopsis are all in bloom.
The Parkway is a beautiful place to spend your summer, especially on this 75th Anniversary year, but it’s not like most other roads. Take some special precautions while driving. Above all slow down and take your time. Use the overlooks to let traffic that may back up behind you get by. And as we often tell visitors enjoy the view, but watch the road.
Regular updates for color reports will be posted to our web site home page. You can also use the National Park Service information line at 828-298-0398 to keep informed of what’s being reported on the Parkway.