April showers bring May flowers, and one of the best places to see wildflowers in bloom is Shenandoah National Park. Visitors come from far and wide to revel in the delicate beauty of these mountain wildflowers. To celebrate, the park hosts an annual Wildflower Weekend; this year’s dates are May 6- 7, 2017.
Did you know there are more than 850 species of flowering plants that grow here? Peak season runs mid-March through the end of summer.The majority of the wildflowers that you will see are native plants. In late March, they are racing to bloom before the overhead trees leaf out and block the sunlight on the forest floor. In April, with warming temperatures and lengthening days, look for violets, large-flowered trillium, pink lady’s slippers, and wild geraniums to appear.
As late spring approaches, visitors will be amazed by the bloomfest of pink azaleas and white mountain laurel.
Summer is the time for flowers such as columbine, milkweed, nodding onion, ox eye daisy, and turk’s cap lily to bloom. Also in summer, look for the yellow and orange flowers of touch-me-nots along streams and near springs, and countless spiked blooms of black cohosh rising above the forest floor.
The Park’s growing season concludes with a strong display of goldenrods, asters, and wild sunflowers into the fall. Late in the season, the un-mowed banks of Skyline Drive and the Big Meadows area are great places to see late blooming wildflowers.
There are 862 species of wildflowers growing in the park. This rich diversity of wildflowers is particularly evident in spring at the lower elevations along streams such as South River, Hughes River, Rose River, and Mill Prong.
Your Guide For Where To Stay To See The Wildflowers
If you want to stay in or next to the park to be close to the wildflower parade, here are a few suggestions to get started. Inside Shenandoah National Park are Skyland Resort and Big Meadows Lodge. Near Front Royal, consider L’Auberge Provencale. In Luray, try the Mimslyn Inn and Hotel Laurance and Shadow Mountain Escape. Near Harrisonburg, try By the Side of the Road Bed and Breakfast and Country Inn & Suites and Massanutten Resort. For more information on places to stay, visit our places to stay online listing.
Enjoy your wildflower explorations! Just remember to look and not touch, as it is illegal to uproot or make cuttings from plants in the national park system.