The Best Wildflower Hikes at West Virginia State Parks
Celebrate the arrival of spring with a walk in the woods.
Take a hike through a West Virginia state park this spring and you’ll find a variety of gorgeous wildflowers. From the yellow fawn lily to the eastern red columbine and common blue violet, it seems there’s a flower for every color of the rainbow. And don’t forget the trees that bud out in spring, from flowering dogwoods to the eastern redbud.
As the weather warms up and blooms start popping, here are a few trails and hiking events you might want to check out. If you need assistance with identifications, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture has produced a downloadable full-color guide to native spring wildflowers.
Visitors to North Bend State Park can view a variety of spring wildflowers along the Southern Railroad Trail. The 1.5-mile path follows the old Harrisville Southern Railroad Grade that connects River Run Campground to the base of the Hughes River Dam.
Laurel Trail at Cacapon Resort State Park winds through a mixed forest to a crag that overlooks the Sleepy Creek Valley at an elevation of up to 1,200 feet. In season, the scenic trail is also a great place to find flowering shrubs and wildflowers. The 2-mile loop can be accessed from the main park road near the boat dock entrance.
At Canaan Valley Resort State Park, the Blackwater River Trail passes through wide, open wetland and is ideal for viewing spring wildflowers. The 1-mile loop begins at the golf course parking lot.
They may not be wildflowers, but blooming dogwoods in their soft hues of pink and cream are one of the first signs of spring. You can enjoy these beautiful trees on the Dogwood Trail at Tygart Lake State Park. The 2-mile trail begins opposite the Dam Trail near the lodge, passing through a forest of dogwoods before ascending to the ridgeline.
Guided Walks and Events
If you’d like some help identifying native wildflowers or if you enjoy having some company, consider joining one of several annual wildflower walks this spring.
Learn about wildflowers, medicinal/edible plants, trees and birding at Kanawha State Forest during the Osbra Eye Memorial Wildflower Walks.
The West Virginia Wildflower Pilgrimage at Blackwater Falls State Park is a weekend-long series of nature explorations with a focus on wildflowers and birding. Participants will have the opportunity to join excursions in surrounding natural areas like Spruce Knob and the Dolly Sods Wilderness. This one is a can’t-miss!
At Chief Logan State Park, the Sue Browning Wildflower Hike has two guided hikes. One is a more challenging trek and the other is an easier stroll, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Beech Fork State Park’s Wildflower Arts and Nature Festival is a weekend event featuring guided wildflower hikes, an art show, live music and even a 5K run/walk on trails sprinkled with colorful wildflowers.
Green Day Hikes
Get an early jump on spring by joining in on one of several Green Day Hikes, scheduled for St. Patrick’s Day. These interpretive walks will be at Twin Falls, Chief Logan, Tygart Lake, Watoga, Holly River, Cacapon Resort and Blackwater Falls state parks. Participants will receive a hiking patch with a shamrock on it for good luck. Check the event listings or contact the parks for details.
Turn your wildflower walk into a weekend getaway! Accommodations at West Virginia State Parks range from modern lodge rooms to private cabins. Plan your trip today!