Arc of Appalachia of Southern Ohio

The 15th annual Wildflower Pilgrimage

April 16 – 18, 2021 Friday Evening through Sunday Afternoon

Two days of field trips, six meals, and two evening presentations:


The Storytellers – Women, Nature, & Art    

with guest presenters:

Videographer: Laura Hughes

Artists: Ann Geise, Sue King, & Karen Klein 

Photographer: Kathryn Cubert

Poets & Orators: Jay Jackson, Wendy McVicker 

Musician: Sarah Goslee Reed


$165/person for the entire Pilgrimage, $15 discount off total for current Arc members

Lodging is not provided, please check our lodging page for recommendations
For hike descriptions and difficulty click here.

pil·grim·age (n): A long journey or search, especially one driven by an exalted purpose.
Our destination? 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 and dolomite bedrocks. This karst country of springs, rock arches, seeps and sinkholes produces an unusual abundance and density of wildflowers in mid-April. Few other areas in the East can surpass the display. We expect to be catching the peak floral showcase at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary, presenting panoramas of drifts of large-flowered trilliums on the steep dolomite cliffs that line the Rocky Fork Gorge in the Paint Creek watershed and its side tributaries, as well as many other spectacular destinations in the the Arc of Appalachia’s south-central Ohio preserve system.

Let us Give you Sanctuary

The Pilgrimage is hosted at the Arc’s largest preserve, the 2600-acre Highlands Nature Sanctuary located in south central Ohio. Address: 7660 Cave Road, Bainbridge, OH 45612. All meals take place at the Sanctuary’s visitor center, the Appalachian Forest Museum. All evening presentations take place in Paxton Theatre in Bainbrdge, OH, just five miles from the Museum Limited lodging is available at the Sanctuary but a wide variety of private inns and cabins are offered in the region and are linked on the lodging page.

Hikes are held at botanical hotspots and outstanding floral showcases of our region, featuring both Arc preserves and other private and state-owned natural areas, led by some of Ohio’s most talented botanists and interpretive naturalists. Participants drive their own cars to the described trailheads and links to directions will be provided with your registration confirmation. In nearly all cases, hikes are limited to 16 people per field trip.

Schedule Summary for the Wildflower Pilgrimage:


Friday Evening Program: Women, Nature and Art  at the Paxton Theater in Bainbridge. Enjoy storytelling at its finest with music, poetry, and visual art.

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: Women, Nature and Art II at the Paxton Theater in Bainbridge.  Enjoy storytelling at its finest with music, poetry, and visual art.

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 Kathryn Cubert
Photo Courtesy of Kathryn Cubert
Photo Courtesy Tom Croce Photography
Photo Courtesy of Kathryn Cubert