A spellbinding variety of West Virginia's wildflowers largely is due to deciduous trees prevailing over the state's national parks and forests. In spring, before the trees leaf out, the rich soil receives sufficient sunlight for the blooms to thrive. Walking in the woods, you'll spot a myriad of white, yellow, blue, pink, red, and even green flowers. The best time is late spring, from late April through May or early summer. However, the flowering season typically lasts well into mid-August.
Best places to see wildflowers
The top location to take in a rainbow of colors is WVU Core Arboretum in Morgantown, West Virginia. The university park is home to trout lily, Virginia bluebell, dwarf larkspur, and the rare trillium. You can pair your wildflower hike with a picnic at the nearby Dorsey’s Knob Park, where you'll see panoramic views of Morgantown.
In spring, cheerful yellow marsh marigold (or cowslip), along with other mountain wildflowers, invades Canaan Valley Resort State Park. The blue vervain, swamp milkweed, and rhododendrons dot the trails along the Blackwater River in the nearby Blackwater Falls State Park. Meanwhile, the neighboring Dolly Sods Wilderness is rich in wild bleeding heart, thimbleweed, fireweed, and turk’s cap lily (or tiger lily).
The New River Gorge in the more southern part of West Virginia is another place to marvel at wildflowers while soaking up the sunshine. The area is known for its abundance of rhododendrons.
The spots listed above are only a small part of the multitude of flowering places across the state, so feel free to explore other natural areas. If you want to learn more about local flora, you may want to join a free guided walk. Most national parks offer guides.