Remarkable Rhododendron Ramble returns to Grandfather Mountain – Caldwell Journal



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LINVILLE, North Carolina (June 1, 2022) – Grandfather Mountain, the non-profit nature park run by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, welcomes guests to celebrate the beauty of spring by participating in the Remarkable Rhododendron Ramble, a series of guided walks that showcase the park’s blooming rhododendrons and other native species. species.

Hikes take place daily at 2 p.m. and now run through June 4. These short guided walks are led by the park’s naturalists and are included in the admission price. If the rhododendron continues to bloom beyond early June, Grandfather Mountain naturalists will extend the dates for the event.

The daily hikes culminate on Sunday, June 5 with a full-day hike from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. that includes children’s activities and educational programs on the mountain’s rare flowers along the Woods Walk Trail, Black Rock Trail and around the soon-to-open Wilson Center for Nature Discovery.

Few plants signify summer in the High Country quite like rhododendron, as the colors of rhododendron are most stunning in the mountains, meaning guests visiting during this time will be in for a treat. Two flowering species for Grandfather Mountain’s Rhodo Ramble are the Flame Azalea and the Catawba Rhododendron. (Photo courtesy of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation)

Elizabeth Trott, interpretive park guide for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, will be the guest speaker on the day-long hike and says the event offers guests a unique opportunity to delve deeper into the diverse ecology. mountain flora.

“The Rhododendron Rambles give customers the tools they need to identify mountain plants,” Trott said. “We show them where various species bloom and we also showcase the beauty that exists here. We do all of this while educating customers about the ecological importance of these plants, and we emphasize the differences between different species.

Annual flowers bring out some of the most colorful hues guests can see on the mountain. Most of the pinkish-purple flowers are from the Catawba rhododendron, a common species in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but which is accentuated when viewed against Grandfather’s huge backdrop.

Grandfather Mountain welcomes guests to celebrate the beauty of spring by participating in the Remarkable Rhododendron Ramble, a series of guided walks that showcase the park’s flowering rhododendrons and other native species. (Photo courtesy of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation)

The Catawba rhododendron blooms at higher elevations and cooler temperatures. This native species blooms from late May to mid-June depending on its location in the park and currently lines several park trails in their natural splendor.

A much rarer species, the pink shell azalea, reached its peak bloom in May, but can still be found at higher elevations. Its cousin, the Flame Azalea, appears to glow in vibrant shades of yellow and orange and can now be seen blooming alongside Split and Sphinx Rocks.

The rosebay rhododendron with its light pink flowers is last to bloom in late June and may be in its infancy towards the lower elevations of the park during the Rhododendron Ramble. Learn more about visiting the park’s rhododendrons www.grandfather.com/the-remarkable-rhododendron-ramble.

Many rhododendrons are already blooming at lower elevations in the High Country during this time, but the wide elevation range available at Grandfather Mountain—a nearly 1,000-foot change from base to summit—offers viewers a longer window of opportunity to see the rhododendron in bloom. (Photo courtesy of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation)

Due to its dramatic elevation change, Grandfather Mountain gives viewers a longer window of opportunity to see the magnificent rhododendron in bloom, but don’t wait too long. Once they bloom, the flowers of this species can be there one day and disappear the next, especially if heavy rain falls.

Luckily, the Rhododendron Rambles take place when many of the park’s wild rhododendrons are in bloom and even offer visitors the chance to learn something unexpected.

“During these hikes, we’re always open to exploring,” Trott said. “So we can talk about the disappearance of the American chestnut, or a cool bird or animal can suddenly appear. We focus on the rhododendron, but we also interact with whatever people are interested in.”

Grandfather Mountain operates under its extended summer hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Entrance to the past park is at 5:30 p.m. Customers must book their visit in advance at www.grandfather.com/tickets.

The non-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and appreciate the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, visit www.grandfather.com.


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