Spring is the perfect time to take a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy the kaleidoscope of colors delivered by Virginia’s amazing blooms.
During your next getaway to Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, experience the beauty of "America's Favorite Drive" and have your camera ready to capture the views of the lush landscapes, stunning vistas, and blossoming wildflowers.
Whether you're cycling, driving, or hiking on this scenic route, spring will be on full display during your adventure.
Here are 5 spring blooms you can expect to find on the Blue Ridge Parkway around the Roanoke Region in Virginia's Blue Ridge in the coming weeks.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Keep in mind that it is illegal to pick flowers along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Please be respectful of the natural environment and wildlife and help keep these spaces beautiful for others to enjoy for years to come. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Leave No Trace 7 Principles before starting any adventure in Virginia's Blue Ridge.
1. Catawba Rhododendron
Catawba Rhododendron is a dense, flowering shrub that grows to approximately 6 to 10 feet in height. It features a large, funnel-shaped flower that is often either pink or violet and elliptical-shaped green leaves. The picture above was taken at the iconic Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
When Do Rhododendrons Bloom on the Blue Ridge Parkway?
The best time to see rhododendron is typically June through early July, though it varies by weather conditions and changes in elevation. Typically, you can expect to see peak blooms for Catawba Rhododendron in areas such as the Peaks of Otter (Milepost 86) and Mabry Mill (Milepost 176) in early June.
2. Flowering Dogwood
The early blooms of the Flowering Dogwood often signify the arrival of spring on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's a small tree that grows to 20-40 feet and features beautiful white flowers. The Flowering Dogwood is also the official state tree of Virginia. Blooms on the Blue Ridge Parkway can often be found in early April.
3. Eastern Redbud
The fact that "Virginia is for mountain lovers" is embodied by the heart-shaped flowers of the Eastern Redbud tree. It's bold, rosy-pink flowers grow in tight clusters, which are accentuated by the tree's umbrella-shaped crown. The Eastern Redbud also features a uniquely colored maroon-purple trunk. This is usually one of the first blooms of spring and can be found in Virginia's Blue Ridge in late March and April.
4. Mountain Laurel
Mountain Laurel dots the Blue Ridge Parkway with its beautiful light pink and white flowers. This shrub, which is actually poisonous, can reach approximately 10 feet in height. It thrives along the rocky slopes and ridges of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mountain Laurel on the Parkway typically blooms from mid-May to early-June.
5. Flame Azaleas
Flame Azaleas are a shrub that's part of the Rhododendron family, and it produces a flower that's bright orange or red. The shrub grows to approximately 6 to 12 feet, and the flowers often grow in clusters of 5 or more. The blooms of Flame Azaleas can be commonly found on the Blue Ridge Parkway between Roanoke and Rocky Knob (Mileposts 120-169) around mid-May.
Visit our section about the Blue Ridge Parkway to learn more about how it can be part of your next vacation, including information on hiking trails, cycling, and places to stay. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter to find out more about Virginia's Blue Ridge.