Early summer is a great time for blooms here in the Blue Ridge. Remember that your elevation change can make a great deal of difference in what you find blooming along the roadside or down your favorite trail. If you think you’ve missed your favorite bloom at a favorite spot, just head up the mountain and you may find it still on display.
In Virginia through the Peaks of Otter area and across the high elevation of Apple Orchard Mountain look for Mountain Laurel, Columbine, Wild Bergamot, and perhaps a few remaining Catawba Rhododendron. Bowman’s Root, Yarrow, and Common Milkweed may be on display as well. Daisy Fleabane, Ox-eye Daisy are very common throughout this area. Around the Peaks of Otter, look closely for some remaining Fire Pink.
From Rocky Knob down to the Virginia/North Carolina state line you may find Laurel, Catawba, Yarrow, some Fire Pink, Ox-eye Daisy and Elderberry in bloom. In North Carolina there are reports of Mountain Laurel at Trout Lake and Fire Pink, Spiderwort, Daisy and Coreopsis around milepost 273. And some great Flame Azalea displays at milepost 274. Look for St. John’s Wort at Sim’s Pond overlook. If you’re driving the Parkway in North Carolina from Linville Falls out to Gillespie Gap, look for some displays of Mountain Laurel, Flame Azalea, Fire Pink, Columbine, and especially in the meadows behind Crabtree Falls campground.
In high elevations around Craggy Gardens and Mount Mitchell in North Carolina there are still some Rhododendron on display. South of Mount Pisgah, reports of Catawba Rhododendron are common. Some remaining Mountain Laurel and Flame Azalea also are evident in the high elevations. Graveyard Fields to Devil’s Courthouse is very pretty right now with Laurel and Rhododendron. Other things you may find as you drive along this area of the Parkway are Fire Pink, Goat’s Beard, Fly Poison, Spiderwort, Sundrops, False and True Solomon’s Seal.
Obviously the Parkway is a beautiful place to spend your summer but it’s not like other roads so take some time and special precautions while driving. Above all, slow down and take your time. Use the overlooks to let traffic that backs up behind you get by.
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.
Have a safe Parkway visit! Enjoy the view, but watch the road.