Stop and smell the (wild)flowers!

Spring is finally here, and southern West Virginia is blooming. Across the region, wildflowers are marking your favorite trails and forests with bursts of color, but look closely – some are more difficult to spot than others!

On your next hike, look for these popular wildflowers:

Bloodroot: This delicate flower has a small, white bloom with a yellow center. The roots contain a red juice that gives this wildflower its name and was used by Native Americans as dye.

Large-flowered Trillium: Trillium are some of the largest wildflowers you’ll find in southern West Virginia. Look for three distinct petals in shades of white, red and sometimes pink.

Dutchman’s Breeches: This wildflower gets its name from the unique shape of the blooms. Can you see it?

Trout Lily: These yellow blooms are named as such because the markings on the leaves are similar to the markings of a brown or brook trout.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit: This wildflower is also known at Parson-in-the-Pulpit or Plant of Peace because it looks like a minister preaching over their congregation.

Ready to hit the trails? Check out these hiking spots that are well-known for wildflowers:

Little Laurel Trail, New River Gorge National River: This trail at Grandview is known for a wide variety of spring wildflowers. And while you’re at Grandview, stop and marvel at the blooming rhododendron bushes.

Glade Creek Trail, New River Gorge National River: This leisurely trail follows Glade Creek, a waterway that flows into the New River. Along the way you’ll find waterfalls, swimming holes, and, you guessed it, numerous types of wildflowers.

Beaver Creek Trail, Little Beaver State Park: Wildflowers and virgin pine and oak trees are the main attractions of this relaxing trail that sits above the lake.

Want help searching for these (and many more) beauties? Lucky for you, the New River Gorge Wildflower Weekend is coming up, April 27-29!

All weekend long, there will be guided hikes and events at the New River Gorge National River, Babcock State Park, Hawks Nest State Park, Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park and Pipestem Resort State Park.

For a complete schedule of events, visit the National Park Service website.

What’s your favorite wildflower?