Take a hike at Georgia state parks

02/16/2011  | 

Trout Lily Panola Mountain State Park

Longer days, warmer weather and eye-catching blooms like dogwoods, azaleas and irises are sure signs of spring. To celebrate the season, Georgia State Park rangers are hosting a series of guided wildflower hikes throughout the state providing nature enthusiasts a close-up look at these spectacular blooms.

Spring bloom hikers will look for Canada Violet, Trout Lily, Wild Azalea, Spring Beauty, Foamflower, Trillium, Indian Pink, Buckeye and many more native blooms. The wildflower hikes are hosted by state parks that have a large number of native plants, including Sweetwater Creek, Amicalola Falls, Unicoi, Tallulah Gorge and Mistletoe.

For those interested in exploring the backcountry trails on their own, Providence Canyon, Cloudland Canyon and Panola Mountain state parks also offer popular wildflower viewing spots. Panola Mountain features the rare Red Diamorpha and magnificent Atamasco Lily, and Providence Canyon is home to the Big Leaf Magnolia, which are awe-inspiring at 24 inches wide.

For details on Georgia’s State Park wildflower hikes and other events, visit www.GeorgiaStateParks.org or contact the parks directly. A $5 parking fee is charged and some hikes are free. Below are a few of the wildflower hikes currently scheduled.

2011 Spring Wildflower Hikes

Early Spring Wildflower Hike

Sunday, March 20, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Sunday, March 27, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Sunday, April 3, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Sweetwater Creek State Park — Lithia Springs

This 2-mile ranger-led hike will be moderately strenuous and will pass through a variety of wildflower habitats and beautiful areas. Meet in the Interpretive Center. $5 plus $5 parking. 770-732-5871.

Spring Wildflower Hike

Saturday, April 9, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Sweetwater Creek State Park — Lithia Springs

This will be a moderately strenuous 3-mile guided hike through a variety of beautiful wildflower habitats. We will be leaving from the Visitors Center in the nature trails parking lot. $5 plus $5 parking.

Piedmont Azalea Panola Mountain State Park




Spring Wildflower Fest

Saturday, April 16 through Sunday, April 17, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge — Dawsonville

Take a wildflower identification hike and participate in wildflower themed kids-crafts. Enjoy a variety of activities as we celebrate the arrival of spring at the park. $5 parking. 706-265-1969.

Spring Wildflowers Around Unicoi (Earth Day Event)

Friday, April 15 through Saturday, April 16

Unicoi State Park and Lodge — Helen

The wildflower program will begin Friday with a slide show and lecture. There will be wildflower walks that will help both the novice and experienced enthusiast to better appreciate the colorful and fascinating world of mountain wildflowers. Pre-registration is required for each walk. $5 parking. 800-573-9659 ext. 305.

Wildflowers of Tallulah

Saturday, April 23, 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Tallulah Gorge State Park — Tallulah Falls

Enjoy a ranger-led hike along Tallulah Gorge State Park’s trail system while viewing many varieties of spring wildflowers. Bring your camera. $5 plus $5 parking. (706) 754-7981.

Spring Bird Walk

Saturday, April 30, 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Mistletoe State Park — Appling

Join an early morning bird walk as we kick off Spring Fling: A Day in the Park. We will look for neo-tropical migrants like warblers, tanagers and vireos on the way to their northern nesting areas. We’ll also look for birds returning to nest here after spending the winter as far away as South America. Spring wildflowers will be in bloom, so you won’t want to miss this walk. $5 parking. (706) 541-0321.

Georgia’s state parks and historic sites are operated by the Department of Natural Resources and offer pristine natural beauty from coastal marshes and midland swamps to piedmont plains and breathtaking mountains. For more information visit www.GeorgiaStateParks.org.

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