The Arc of Appalachia’s 16th Annual

Wildflower Pilgrimage

Friday, April 14 – Sunday, April 16, 2023

Event includes two days of field trips, three meals, and two evening presentations.
$175/person for the entire Pilgrimage

Lodging is not included in the registration fee, however, we do have limited spaces left for rent in our overnight lodges. AND, NEW THIS YEAR!  We rented all of the cabins at Pike Lake State Park to provide additional accommodations for our Wildflower Pilgrimage participants. Please check our lodging page for availability and recommendations outside the Sanctuary and Pike Lake.

For hike descriptions and difficulty click here.



Saturday Evening Keynote Speaker:

Merlin Tuttle – Author, Photographer, and Founder of Bat Conservation International and Merlin Tuttle’s Bat Conservation



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 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. Friday evening presentation will take place at the Appalachian Forest Museum and Saturday will be held at Paxton Theatre in Bainbridge, 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.

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