This is the Blue Ridge Parkway Wildflower Report for the middle of May, 2012. All of the Parkway Campgrounds and Picnic Areas opened their gates on May 11, so it should be a great time to visit.
It continues to be warm in many parts of the country including here along the Blue Ridge. Species of wildflowers and their early arrivals are indicative of that.
On the Northern end of the Parkway, down through the James River area, elevation as always plays a key role in what’s blooming. Rhododendron is out along with some remaining Flame and Pink Azalea. Mountain Laurel is beginning to bloom. Ground covers include some remaining Trillium, Violets, and Jack-in-the-Pulpit.
If you’re interested in great birding areas, stop at Yankee Horse Ridge at MP 34 early in the morning.
Reports from further south in Virginia on the Parkway, especially near Fancy Gap down through the Blue Ridge Music Center area, are Flame Azalea and Fraser Magnolia, and some remaining Dogwood.
Buttercups, May Apples, and Cinquefoil are common in many areas.
If you’re visiting in North Carolina, look for great Trillium displays at Chestoa Overlook Milepost 320.8. From Chestoah View to Bear Den Mountain at Milepost 323 the cliffs along the Parkway are covered in Carolina Rhodododendron—still nice but fading rapidly.
Some Catawba Rhododendron is nicely on display around Milepost 266, Milepost 309, and between 319 and 320 just south of Linville Falls. Fraser Magnolia is nicely on display throughout Grandfather Mountain to Linville Falls area.
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.