The showy rose-lavender blooms already decorating the slopes of Grandfather Mountain indicate the beginning of another breathtaking summer on the mountain. The "Remarkable Rhododendron Ramble” hosted by the attraction’s naturalists will be celebrating this memorable sight through June 12th at 1 p.m. daily.
“Looking around at this year’s rhododendron, we see lots of swollen buds that should be blooming nicely in the next couple of weeks,” said Director of Education Jesse Pope. “We like to take people to the elevations which are most densely populated by the blooms and talk about history and cultivation as well as interesting facts people may not know about these plants and other relevant birds and insects.”
Naturalists have planned guided walks to honor the native Catawba Rhododendron and educate guests on how the plant fits into the important ecological communities at Grandfather Mountain.
“These plants are not only beautiful, they are also a key component of the mountain’s biological diversity,” Pope explained.
Found throughout the southern Appalachia, Catawba Rhododendron also hold special significance in the botanical world. It is among only four original species of rhododendron that have been used to cultivate thousands of hybrids. The Catawba Rhododendron covers more than 1,000 feet in elevation from MacRae Meadows to MacRae Peak where it reaches 5,845 feet. The wide range of elevation provides guests with a longer window of opportunity to see the rhododendron blooming on Grandfather. It first appears at overlooks near the entrance of the attraction in late May and arrives at the higher peaks near the Mile High Swinging Bridge by the end of June.
Grandfather Mountain is a globally recognized nature preserve famous for its 360-degree vistas, native wildlife habitats and Mile High Swinging Bridge. The attraction is located on US Highway 221, two miles north of Linville, NC, and one mile south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305.
All Rhododendron Ramble activities are included in attraction admission. For more information phone 800-468-7325 or plan a trip at www.grandfather.com.
For information on the hiking trails at Grandfather Mountain State Park, please click here.