Arc of Appalachia 2018 Wildflower Pilgrimage

Spring comes to Ohio’s forests and vernal pools!

Special 2018 Theme: “Flowers & “Phibs!”

With Pennsylvania Photographer & Author Doug Wechsler

In addition to floral destinations, special guided trips will be also

taken to witness the burgeoning of amphibian life in Ohio’s wetlands

Co-Sponsored with the Ohio Wetlands Association

 Wildflower Pilgrimage Registration


April 13 – 15, 2018 Friday Evening – Sunday Afternoon

OR register for a Special Photography Workshop with Tom Croce  

Both events: concurrent, shared meals, held at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary

$140/person for the Pilgrimage; $190/person for Photography Workshop

Photography Workshop is now FULL

pil·grim·age (n): A long journey or search, especially one driven by an exalted purpose.
Our destination is no less than the search for spring. Our quest? The miracle of earth’s resurgence and resurrection.

The ephemeral display of spring woodland flowers – all blooming at once – is as close to heaven on earth as any nature spectacle we can ever experience. The Appalachian foothills of the Arc of Appalachia region have one of the richest wildflower displays to be found in Eastern United States, partially enabled by the wealth of moisture and minerals in its underlying limestone bedrock. This karst country of springs, rock arches, seeps and sinkholes produces an unusual abundance and density of wildflowers. Each year the Pilgrimage is timed to catch the region’s showy showcase of iconic Large-flowered Trilliums which bloom alongside cascading colonies of blue cohosh, fairy wands of miterwort and delicate anemones that carpet the rocks, and the color-bursts of yellow wood poppies and purple larkspurs.

Let us Give you Sanctuary

The Pilgrimage is hosted at the Arc’s largest preserve, the 2500-acre Highlands Nature Sanctuary protecting the the sheer-walled canyon of the Rocky Fork Gorge. All meals and evening presentations take place at the Sanctuary’s visitor center, the Appalachian Forest Museum. Limited lodging is available at the Sanctuary. A wide variety of private inns and cabins are offered in the region and are linked on the lodging page above.

Hikes will be held at botanical hotspots in our region, featuring both Arc preserves and other private and state-owned natural areas. In most field trips, participants drive their own cars to the trailheads, and the majority of them are within ten miles of the Appalachian Forest Museum. 

Schedule Summary for the Wildflower Pilgrimage:

This year the Pilgrimage has returned to the usual Friday evening through Sunday afternoon schedule. 


Friday Evening Program: Vernal Pools with John Howard

Saturday Field Trips:
Choose from a wide array of guided field trips to view southern Ohio’s most beautiful wildflower displays, led by some of Ohio’s finest naturalists and botanists. Delicious breakfasts are served off the grill at the Appalachian Forest Museum. During breakfast a lunch buffet is provided from which you can pack your own lunch.  

Saturday Evening Presentation: “AMPHIBIANS: Mythbusting and True Facts” with Doug Wechsler; Including a short Introduction by Ohio Wetlands Association

Sunday Field Trips:
Second day of guided field trips to view southern Ohio’s most beautiful wildflower displays. Includes breakfast and packed lunch.

Photo courtesy Tom Croce