Arc of Appalachia Wildflower Pilgrimage

April 13 – 15, 2017 Thursday Evening – Saturday Afternoon

OR register for a Special Photography Workshop with Tom Croce  

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

$135/person for the Pilgrimage; $185/person for Photography Workshop

Registration Now Closed

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 2200-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 is Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon, leaving Sunday free for Easter celebrations. Next year we will return to our usual Friday Evening through Sunday schedule. 


Thursday Evening: Programs by Nancy Stranahan, Director & Tom Croce, Photographer
Welcome by Arc Director, Nancy Stranahan, followed by a striking visual presentation by Master Photographer, Tom Croce, author of the book, Ohio Landscapes. Tom is renowned for capturing artistic images of Arc of Appalachia Preserves and many other splendid Ohio landscapes.

Friday 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.  

Friday Evening: CELEBRATE DIVERSITY! Presentation on Ohio’s most AMAZING botanical hotspots; by Ohio Botanist & Nature Photographer, Andrew GibsonFriday Dinner: Enjoy our traditional Pilgrimage chili, cornbread, salad and strawberry shortcake.

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