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.
When is the best time to visit for wildflowers?
Best visiting time to see wildflowers in West Virginia is late April through May or early summer, and sometimes lasts through mid-August. It's before the deciduous trees leaf out and the blooms get enough sunlight. The soil here is rich, making it suitable for such a variety of blooms. Show more
Where is the WVU Core Arboretum located?
Located in Morgantown, West Virginia, WVU Core Arboretum is a popular place to see vibrant colors and different species of wildflowers. Visitors can combine a visit to the nearby Dorsey's Knob Park with a walk at the Arboretum where they can see a range of wildflowers such as Virginia bluebell, trillium, dwarf larkspur, and trout lily. Show more
Which parks have rhododendrons?
Rhododendrons are abundant in various West Virginia parks. Canaan Valley Resort State Park and New River Gorge are two best known parks for rhododendrons. The New River Gorge is famous for its scenic beauty and an abundance of rhododendrons, while Canaan Valley Resort State Park is home to mountain wildflowers, including cheerful yellow marsh marigold (or cowslip), that bloom every spring. Show more
Can visitors join guided walks to learn more about wildflowers?
Free guided walks are available for visitors who want to learn about local flora and their importance to the ecosystem. Guided walks are offered at many national parks throughout West Virginia, and they are a great way to explore the numerous flowering places throughout the state and discover the different wildflower species. Show more
What are some other natural areas in West Virginia to explore for wildflowers?
In West Virginia, there are various natural places that offer opportunities to explore wildflowers. Blackwater Falls State Park, Seneca Rocks State Recreation Area, Coopers Rock State Forest, Dolly Sods Wilderness, nearby trails adjacent to the Blackwater River are some of the best places for exploring West Virginia's wildflowers. Show more