The Arc of Appalachia’s 15th Annual


Wildflower Pilgrimage


Thursday, April 14 – Saturday, April 16, 2022

Keynote Saturday Evening Speaker: Wildlife Videographer: Laura Hughes

Event includes two days of field trips, three meals, and two evening presentations.

$150/person for the entire Pilgrimage

Lodging is not provided, please check our
lodging page for recommendations
For hike descriptions and difficulty click here.
Easter Sunday is April 17 – the 2022 Pilgrimage ends Saturday afternoon

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. Spend your spring in the company of flowers! You can count the springs of your life – and we don’t want you to miss even one year of bliss. 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 in a region normally dominated by less verdant sandstone and shale. 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 during the Pilgrimage, presenting awe-inspiring panoramas of drifts of Large-flowered Trillium, Celandine Wood Poppy, Blue Cohosh and many other wildflower species that cover the steep dolomite cliffs bordering the Rocky Fork Gorge of the Highlands Nature Sanctuary, as well as many other spectacular destinations in the the Arc of Appalachia’s preserve system in south central Ohio.

Let us Give you Sanctuary

The Pilgrimage is hosted at the Arc’s largest preserve, the 3100-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. Thursday evening presentation will take place at the Appalachian Forest Museum and Friday will be held at Paxton Theatre in Bainbirdge, OH, just five miles from the Museum. Limited lodging is available at the Sanctuary on a first come first served basis, 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 no more than 16 people per field trip.

NOTE: IMPORTANT MEAL CHANGE IN 2022 – please plan to bring your own packed lunch on the two days of field trips. Because this is a largely volunteer-driven event with as many as one volunteer for every two participants, we decided to simplify the event this year by asking participants to pack their own lunches. We will provide our usual memorable lunch desserts, which can be picked up at breakfast time. We have reduced the cost of the event this year to mitigate for this change in our Pilgrimage traditions. You can pack light, as breakfast and dinner will be hearty meals. We appreciate your understanding and your support of lightening the complexity of this event a bit.

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