The Remarkable Rhododendron Ramble to kick off at Grandfather Mountain on May 27
LINVILLE, NC (May 25, 2023) — Grandfather Mountain, the not-for-profit nature park run by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, is welcoming guests to celebrate the beauty of this season by partaking in the Remarkable Rhododendron Ramble, a series of guided strolls that showcase the park’s blossoming rhododendron and other native species.
The rambles take place at 1 p.m. daily May 27 through June 3. These short, guided strolls are led by the park’s naturalists and are included with the price of admission. If the rhododendrons continue to bloom beyond early June, Grandfather Mountain naturalists will extend the event dates.
“The Rhododendron Rambles are a great way for guests to see where the various species are currently blooming here while also learning about the ecological significance of these plants and ways to identify them,” said Lauren Farrell, interpretation and education programs manager for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. “They provide a unique opportunity to take in the sights of this scenic season and to delve deeper into the mountain’s diverse flora.”
The daily rambles culminate on Sunday, June 4 with an all-day ramble from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. that includes children’s activities and educational programming on the mountain’s rare blossoms. The full schedule of the day’s events is listed below.
- 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.: Interpretive Tables in the Wilson Center and Top Shop
- 12 p.m.: Guided Ramble Starting at the Wilson Center
- 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.: Rhododendron Naturalist Talk in the Sun Room
- 1 p.m.: Guided Ramble Starting at the Wilson Center
- 2 p.m.: Guided Ramble Starting at the Wilson Center
- 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.: Children’s Programming in the Wilson Center
- 3 p.m.: Guided Ramble Starting at the Wilson Center
The annual blooms bring out some of the most colorful hues that guests can see on the mountain. Many of the pink-purple blossoms come courtesy of the Catawba rhododendron, a species that is common across the Blue Ridge Mountains but is accentuated when viewed against Grandfather’s immense backdrop.
Catawba rhododendron flourish at higher elevations and cooler temperatures. This native species generally blooms from late May to mid-June, based on its location within the park, and is currently lining several trails with its natural splendor.
A much rarer species, the pink-shell azalea, reached its peak bloom earlier in May. Its cousin, the flame azalea, appears to glow in vibrant shades of yellow and orange and can be seen now blooming alongside Split and Sphinx Rocks.
The rosebay rhododendron with its light-pink flowers is the last to bloom in June and may be in its early stages toward the lower elevations in the park during the Rhododendron Ramble. To learn more about the park’s rhododendron, visit www.grandfather.com/the-remarkable-rhododendron-ramble.
Due to its wide range of elevation – a nearly 1,000-foot change from base to peak – Grandfather Mountain provides viewers with a longer window of opportunity to see the beautiful rhododendron in bloom. That said, once they bloom, this species’ flowers can be here one day and gone the next, especially if a heavy rain rolls in.
Fortunately, the Rhododendron Rambles take place when many of the park’s wild rhododendron are blossoming and offer guests the chance to learn something unexpected.
Grandfather Mountain is operating under its extended summer hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., with last entry at 5:30 p.m. and trails closing at 6 p.m. Guests are strongly encouraged to book their visit in advance at www.grandfather.com/tickets.
The nonprofit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, visit www.grandfather.com.
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