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Spring wildflower hikes at Bays Mountain and Laurel Run

Staff • Mar 22, 2018 at 9:23 AM

KINGSPORT — Bays Mountain Park will be hosting six wildflower hikes this spring at Bays Mountain and at Laurel Run Park, and the first one is planned for Friday.

That’s a lot of flowers

Hikers can expect to see anywhere from 20-30 species of flowers in just a couple of hours on one of these naturalist-led hikes. Many of the wildflowers are showy and easy to find, including redbud, dogwood, pink azalea and wild geranium.

Hike days and times 

• Laurel Run Park — March 23, April 6 and April 20

• Bays Mountain Park — March 26, April 9 and April 27

The elevation makes a difference

Given the effects of elevation, the wildflowers seen on the hikes will be somewhat different at Laurel Run and Bays Mountain.

“Generally, mid-April to mid-May seems to be the time we have the largest numbers and diversity of wildflowers here on the mountain,” said Megan Krager senior naturalist at Bays Mountain Park.

The wildflower display at Laurel Run Park can be much earlier because of its lower elevation. There is often a good display of flowers at Laurel Run by mid-March. The combination of richer soil and more consistent moisture means that hikers can find wild­flowers at Laurel Run that do not grow well at the upper elevations of Bays Mountain Park. These flowers include columbine, Dutchman’s breeches and trilliums.

Hey, it’s free!

The wildflower hikes are free and do not require registration. Hikes at both parks will begin at 10 a.m. Hikers should meet in the main parking at Laurel Run Park for the Laurel Run hikes and at the Nature Center for the Bays Mountain hikes.

Depending on weather and what is blooming, the hikes may take up to two hours and participants may walk two to three miles. The hikes will occur rain or shine, so participants should dress for the weather.

For more information about Bays Mountain, visit baysmountain.com or call (423) 229-9447.

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