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4.26.2020

Wolf Creek Narrows: Amazing Wildflowers and Hiking near Slippery Rock

Wolf Creek Narrows in Butler County is a little known and absolutely wonderful nature reserve. It is home to many species of wildflowers and beautiful trees, within the narrow gorge of Wolf Creek. The creek itself is more akin to the size of a small river and its display of spring wildflowers is about as overwhelming and spectacular as any that I have ever seen. The myriad of species documented at this location includes several that are rare/nearly extinct. While the hiking trail is only about a mile long, this property offers a little bit of everything, with creekside walking through the woods, and decent elevation change as you head up the sides of the gorge. 
We can thank the amazing Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for preserving this fine tract of land. Their preservation work has lead towards the creation of multiple state parks, including Ohiopyle and McConnells Mill, and many other public lands.
 Skunk Cabbages in March
 The lower area that is home to the most wildflowers consists of vernal pools. In March, you start to see the wildflowers emerge, with skunk cabbages being the most prevalent. The leaves of the other wildflowers begin to emerge as well.

Here is the same view just three weeks later in April. 
 The appreciation of the work that has gone into preserving this property is just beautiful. Several individuals are memorialized throughout the property. This sort of recognition is so beautiful.
The back half of the mile long hike leads into a beautiful second growth forest that is filled with hemlocks and hard wood deciduous trees.
 CeCe absolutely loves this place. 
There are a few really old trees, including this enormous and oddly shaped Sycamore. I have never seen a sycamore with this kind of angle. It demonstrates just how abrupt the gorge is on this side of the creek, with the tree growing outwards to get more access to light.
Of the places mentioned in our Wildflower Hotspot List, of the early spring wildflower locations, this will likely peak last. It is still likely a week or two from peaking. Mid April through May is the spring peak for early wildflowers in this location, and we highly recommend checking it out. 
 As I said before, CeCe is all about this trail. 
Wolf Creek Narrows is extremely easy to access, with a small parking lot located on the opposite bank of the creek. This side of the creek also leads towards another tract, the Miller Woods Tract, which is preserved by Slippery Rock University. The parking lot is located on the tract. To get to the Wolf Creek Narrows tract, you simply need to cross the metal bridge from the parking area. You can also hike the other direction from the parking lot to head through the Miller Woods Tract. Dogs are allowed, but the MUST be leashed, especially because this is such a sensitive and internationally recognized habitat for rare wildflowers.

For more places that made the cut for our PA Wildflower Hotspots, check out this article. 

GPS Coordinates to the Parking Area: 
41.063798, -80.087992

Walk across the metal bridge to access the Wolf Creek Narrows Trail, or walk to the end of the parking lot to pick up the trail through the Miller Woods Tract.

For more background info, check out the website for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

4.10.2020

PA Wildflower Hotspot Guide: 35+ Wildflower Destinations in Pennsylvania

So March, April, and early May are the prime times of the year to see early wildflowers. As the leaves begin to grow on the trees, the red blooms begin on the maples, and the flowering trees show off their brilliance, the forest floor comes to life as well. From long fallen brown leaves on forest floors from autumn, new life sprouts up with beautiful wildflowers adding color back to what looked lifeless just weeks earlier.

Late May through autumn provide another spectacle as even more flower  species bloom. This article will cover some of the finest places in the state to view wildflowers. Since we are based out of Pittsburgh and the time frame is so short with early spring wildflowers, the majority of our early spring wildflower photos will be from Western PA destinations, though we will also cover a some of the greats from central, eastern, and northeastern Pennsylvania as well, particularly when it comes to summer and fall wildflowers.

First, here are several pieces of rules and advice if you are going to visit these places.
Be sure to check with the property if you are a dog owner, for several of these places are not dog friendly and do not allow people that are exploring with their furry friends. The majority do allow you to take pets in, as long as they are leashed, kept on trail, and picked up after. Under no circumstances should your dog be left unleashed in these areas, for obvious safety reasons, but also to protect these sensitive, and often rare/endangered, wildflowers.

Because these are wetter areas, ticks are very common, so be sure to put on some bug spray and to comb through your dog's fur, and make sure they are up to date with their Nexgard and Lyme disease vaccines.

These are sensitive ecosystems and it is critical for you and your dogs to stay on trail to preserve the beautiful wildflowers. Many of these specimens of flowers are actually quite rare, so it is critical that you treat these ecosystems with the best care possible.
Additionally, the places that these wildflowers really flourish are areas with above average moisture. That means that you will certainly get muddy, though any trail in Pennsylvania is going to be a muddy mess at this time of the year. Make sure you wear a pair of boots that you do not mind getting dirty. I have a pair of waterproof Keens that have held up like iron, though have seen better days, that I wear specifically on most trails during this time of the year.

Now on to some of the spectacular places to visit for wildflowers. The top seven are our absolute favorite standouts, but the rest are worth a visit as well.
  • Ohiopyle State Park - Western PA - Fayette County:
Wildflowers at Cucumber Falls
Ohiopyle State Park, as you can see from our waterfalls and overlooks guide, is wonderful to visit at any time of the year, but the Great Gorge Trail, Cucumber Falls, the Meadow Run Trail, and Great Allegheny Passage Trail near the Ramcat Raft Launch Area have wonderful and abundant spring wildflowers. My recommendation for seeing terrific wildflowers in Ohiopyle is to park at the Cucumber Falls lot, check out the falls and the abundant wildflowers on the slopes of the gorge, and then head back up, cross the bridge just above the falls, and pick up on the Great Gorge Trail.
Red Trillium
The most abundant wildflowers on that trail are found on the portion of the trail immediately to the right of the end of the bridge, up and down the slopes leading down to the Youghiogheny River. This trail is very well graded and easy to hike, though not quite to the point of ADA compliant. Towards the further end of the trail it has some moderate elevation change, but still nothing too challenging. The trail measures in at 2.6 miles, though this is one way and not a loop, meaning a roundtrip hike clocks in at 4.2 miles. The hike did not nearly feel this long.
White Trillium
This certainly is a great place for a little nature walk/hike for people of all skillsets. Additionally, rainy springs make the waterfalls really swell, and lots of new waterfalls appear that are usually dry. Spend some time hiking anywhere in the park and you will not regret it, especially in the spring. Make sure you have a pair of boots that you do not mind getting muddy, because you will get dirty.
For more information on visiting Ohiopyle State Park, check out our guide to the park. 
  • Great Allegheny Passage Bike Trail - Western Maryland and Western PA
Most of the length of the Great Allegheny Passage, throughout its 150 miles from Cumberland, MD to Pittsburgh, has wildflowers along it. It passes through two of the places that we mention in this article, Ohiopyle State Park, and Cedar Creek Park, and passes near Braddock's Trail Park. This is a hotspot for early spring wildflowers, in addition to summer and early fall specimens. For more information on this adventure, check out this article.

  • Otto and Magdaline Ackermann Reserve - Western PA - Westmoreland County
This place is a hidden treasure in North Huntingdon Township that offers some really nice short hikes at varying intensity. I have visited this place several times, but during my latest visit this spring, I was awestruck at just how many wildflowers covered the forest floor. It legitimately looked like there had been a dusting of snow with how much cover there was over the fallen brown leaves leftover from the fall.
This property has some easy and relatively level hikes, and some other hikes that are steeper and more challenging. There is even a little waterfall on the property. The property is conserved and is maintained through the Westmoreland Land Trust, though be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the entrance, since it is easy to miss and located in between the yards of two houses.
The woods are located about 200 feet from the road. Dogs are allowed, but must be leashed and cleaned up after. Leashing is critical to preserve the sensitive ecosystem of the park.

For information on visiting the Ackermann Reserve, check out the website of the Westmoreland Land Trust and our article on this awesome place.


  • Braddock's Trail Park - Western PA - Westmoreland County

Braddock's Trail Park offers a little bit of everything. It is a great little hiking/nature walking destination, with forest floors that are covered with wildflowers. There is even a little waterfall and some nice little scenic overlooks. Several dozen different species have been documented.
As far as being overwhelmed at the sheer amount of wildflowers in one spot, this and the Ackerman Reserve are the two places that I have truly been awestruck with spring wildflowers. Much of the development for visitors at the park was actually underdone as a project by the Boy Scouts. Dogs are allowed, but must be leashed and cleaned up after. Leashing is critical to preserve the sensitive ecosystem of the park.

For more information on visiting, check out this previous article, and the website for the park.

The following three Western PA destinations are bunched together since they are within minutes of each other.
  • Forbes State Forest - Spruce Flats Bog
  • Laurel Summit State Park and Forbes State Forest - Wolf Rocks Hike
  • Linn Run State Park - Grove Run Trail
This trifecta is fantastic for wildflowers, and all are located within minutes of each other in western PA's Laurel Highlands. Grove Run Trail in Linn Run State Park, and the Wolf Rocks Trail and Spruce Flats Bog in Laurel Summit State Park and Forbes State Forest. The latter two spots can be reached from the same trailhead in Laurel Summit State Park. 

Spruce Flats Bog

I list these three spots as basically being in one location because they are all located almost adjacent to each other and you should spend at least an afternoon exploring all three if you really love wildflowers. As far as impressive wildflowers, Spruce Flats Bog is an absolute must see. The bog is home to some of the only carnivorous plants that are native to Pennsylvania. The bog is also a rare example of a higher elevation bog, which is located within a mountaintop depression. Bogs, like waterfalls, are geologically temporary. They initially start off as open water ponds and lakes, but over time, dirt fills them in and plants begin to grow within them. Eventually the dirt and plants overtake the bogs and meadows and forests grow. This occurred over millions of years and eventually a full forest grew.
Boardwalk over a part of Spruce Flats Bog
Around 1900, lumbermen cut down all of the Hemlocks in this spot, and with this, it ended up reverting this spot back into a bog again. They referred to this as "Spruce Flats" because lumber industry people referred to any short needle evergreen as a spruce, even though hemlocks are not spruces. Spruce Flats Bog was purchased as part of a greater restoration project by the state in 1909.
The bog currently consists of six to eight inches of peat on top, and two to three feet of mud on the lower layer. The peat is very acidic and not suitable for most vegetation that is native to Pennsylvania.
Some hardy evergreens have taken to the bog, cranberries, and several carnivorous plant species have flourished in this setting. The bright red plants and dark green evergreens really pop with the dark peat waters of the bog. A short boardwalk takes you out into the bog.
Trailhead for the Spruce Flats Bog and Wolf Rocks Trail
The Wolf Rocks Trail launches off from the same trailhead as the Bog Trail, and lots of wildflowers can be seen on the longer hike to the beautiful overlook.
Wildflowers on the Wolf Rocks Hike
For an overview of the Wolf Rocks hike, which goes off from the same trailhead that goes to Spruce Flats Bog, check out this article.
Grove Run Trailhead
The Grove Run Trail in Linn Run State Park is relatively easy loop trail with a mileage of 4 miles, with a little bit of moderate elevation change. It follows a small tributary to Linn Run, and wildflowers are seen along the trail, it grows in intensity as you follow the trail and it ascends the Grove Run Gorge, but I still rate the trail as easy to moderate.
A wildflower growing through a fern and the dead leaves from last autumn. These kinds of scenes of  the cycle of life are a huge part of what really inspires me on these spring walks in the woods.

If you are into hiking, do the whole loop, but if you are just going for the wildflowers, launch off from either direction of the loop's trailhead for about a half mile to see the highest concentrations of wildflowers that the trail has to offer.

For more information on visiting all three, check out our previous articles on Linn Run State Park and the Wolf Rocks and Beam Rocks hikes. Spruce Flats Bog is located at the same trailhead as Wolf Rocks. Here are the official websites for Linn Run State Park, and Forbes State Forest, which is home to the Wolf Rocks and Beam Rocks Hikes, and Spruce Flats Bog.

  • Trillium Trail - Western PA - Allegheny County, Fox Chapel:

Unfortunately, me and CeCe were unable to walk this short trail together since it does not allow access for dog owners with their dogs. The three of us went to go here a few weeks ago but had to turn around since dogs are not allowed.
Virginia Bluebells
Because of how close this is to Pittsburgh, I was able to take a quick jaunt to the park and check it out without my canine companion. With how short the trail was, it only took me about 25 minutes to do the whole thing. The statistics say it is roughly a mile, but it did not feel like that. It is a fun little nature walk, though not quite level enough to be ADA accessible. Pretty much any trail we mention in this article would be fine to do with children, but this trail is especially easy and close to Pittsburgh.
The trail's little dual waterfall
The Trillium Trail is just one of a series of trails and parks that are spread in a line across the affluent Pittsburgh suburb of Fox Chapel. Spring season with its wildflowers, and the autumn with delayed leaf color are some of the most easily visible natural demonstrations of urban heat islands, which are created from human activity such as the emission of greenhouse gases and the holding of heat from paved areas and buildings.
The flowers at this moment on the Trillium Trail in Fox Chapel are about 3 weeks ahead of where they are at Wolf Creek Narrows, about an hour's drive north of Pittsburgh. These flowers are really popping right now, thanks to the bubble of relative warmth within the Pittsburgh Metro Area. Additionally, a portion of the preserve has been fenced to keep foraging down from white tail deer populations. This section holds most of the preserve of Trillium.


This massive Hemlock caught my attention the most. 
Virginia Bluebells are probably the second most dominant species at the preserve, with lots of them leading up to the small waterfall that is present at the preserve. Another nice option for seeing wildflowers is located nearby at the beautiful Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve, but the flowers are not as plentiful there, and it too does not allow dogs 😕

For more information on visiting, check out this link to the Fox Chapel Garden Club.
  • Presque Isle State Park - Western PA - Erie
Presque Isle State Park is best known for its beautiful sand beaches, but the peninsula is teeming with flora and fauna. The flora is well balanced, reaching from early spring through the fall. The wetlands are especially great, but the dunes leading up to the beaches are great for wildflowers as well. For more information on visiting, check out our myriad of articles on this fantastic place. 
  • McConnells Mill State Park - Western PA - Lawrence County:
Awaiting blooms on the wildflowers at McConnells Mill State Park. My last recent visit had a quick morning snowfall come through
The Hell Run Trail at McConnells Mill comes to life with wildflowers in the spring. The hillsides and hollow valley leading to Hells Hollow Falls are a great place to check out spring blooms. Our last attempt to visit saw a random snow squall, but the flowers still managed to show through the dusting of snow. In late April, the flowers should hit peak.
Hells Hollow Falls in the midst of some spring snowfall
A huge added upside is in seeing beautiful Hells Hollow Falls. While this is the hotspot for wildflowers in the park, you will see them throughout the park as well. For more information on visiting, check out our guide to McConnells Mill State Park and the park's website.
  • Wolf Creek Narrows Natural Area - Western PA - Butler County
Wolf Creek Narrows Natural Area near Slippery Rock offers some fun hiking in a unique habitat. It is located along Wolf Creek, which is a stunning creek that is more like a small river this time of the year.
The sounds of the creek are just so relaxing. The hiking trail is short, but really rewarding at just over a mile loop. The first part of the hiking loop goes through the Wolf Creek Narrows Natural Area proper, which is a wetland with many vernal pools.
One of the many vernal pools, with flourishing skunk cabbages
The same view, just three weeks later
This area and the slopes immediately around it are where the wildflowers flourish. The dominant wildflower is the skunk cabbage here, though in a few weeks, I can tell that this location will just be popping with color, for the plants that are covering the forest floor have not yet developed blooms.
Of all of the places we mention in this article, I believe this will be the last to peak, possibly into late April and into May, and possibly the most spectacular. Virginia bluebell, spring-beauty, trout-lily, and white trillium have all been documented in high abundance at the narrows, with many other species that are rare and threatened.
As far as it comes to the experts, Wolf Creek Narrows is home to one of the most diverse collections of wildflowers in the state, with multiple rare and threatened wildflower species. Since it is a little colder in this location, the flowers are a little behind in growing compared to the other locations, but should be popping in the next few weeks. The other portion of the preserve is filled with a beautiful second growth forest up a pretty steep embankment.

This location is with us and undeveloped today thanks to ownership and preservation by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the same organization that fought for and won preservation of natural gems like McConnells Mill, Moraine, and Ohiopyle State Parks. This property is a gem to visit for hiking and exploring nature.

Dogs are allowed, but must be leashed and cleaned up after. Leashing is critical to preserve the sensitive ecosystem of the park.

For more information on visiting, check out our article on it and the website of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
  • Hoverter Box Huckleberry- Central PA - New Bloomfield, Perry County
The Hoverter & Sholl Box Huckleberry Colony in Central PA is not very well known and one of the overall oldest living organisms on the planet. This time of the year, its beautiful blue/purple blooms dominate the forest floor. This is a relatively small area, but it is definitely worth a stop if you are located in, or passing through, Central PA.
GPS Coordinates:

40.403941, -77.174757

For more information on visiting, check out this previous article of ours.
  • Latodami Nature Center at North Park - Western PA - Allegheny County:
Skunk Cabbages at the Latodami Nature Center
This place is a lovely gem on the northern edge of Allegheny County's North Park. The park is split into two halves by a road. One half primarily consists of an old farm with a pond, old barn, old farmhouse, picnic grounds, wetlands, a steeply banked forest, and a giant meadow that was once farmland. This half of the park does not have many spring wildflowers, except for some skunk cabbages near the pond area, but it will be vibrant in summer and into fall in the meadow area. The nature trails are just wonderful for some longer, but generally easy strolls through area teeming with birds and white tail deer. The meadow area just bursts with color once the late spring and summer wildflowers grow. The other half of the park goes into a nicely forested hollow with a lovely nature walk. Similar to Braddock's Trail Park, this portion of the park was also improved by the Boy Scouts, who built bridges, benches, trail grading, and even some manmade vernal pools for wildlife. The entire area is teeming with Skunk Cabbages.
The upper meadows section will come to life with wildflowers in the summer and early fall seasons. This is a noted location for birding. 
The fact that they have even been able to preserve this significant chunk of land is pretty impressive when considering how much suburban development has just exploded around the park. The farm area was a strategic land conservation project and was consequential to the region. Countless other farms within a 10 mile radius of the park were snapped up and have been filled with cookie cutter suburban developments and McMansions. When I think of the effort that was made to preserve this pristine spot and keep it from being absorbed into suburbia, I think of one of my favorite episodes of The Wonder Years, "Whose Woods Are These" where the kids fight against a suburban developer who planned to, and succeeded in tearing down "Harper's Woods" a place where the kids all played when they grew up.
Instead of this pristine spot succumbing to suburban development it was saved and it is lovely to explore. When coupled with the rest of what the North Park area has to offer, this is just a lovely place to spend an afternoon, evening, or even a relaxing day. While Skunk Cabbages are the primary spring wildflower you can see at the nature center, summer wildflowers are just radiant at this location.

For more information on visiting, check out this article from Allegheny County Parks.
  • Fall Run Park - Western PA - Allegheny County:
Fall Run Park in Shaler Township, just outside of Pittsburgh, is one of my favorite short nature walks/hikes in the immediate Pittsburgh area.
It is home to a nice creek, complete with a roughly 20 foot waterfall and some small cascades. Along the steep banks, and in the meadow above the main waterfall, spring wildflowers bloom and then summer flowers grow as well. This is a lovely small place really brings the community closer to nature. Species include bloodroot, trillium, jack-in-the pulpit, wild geranium, Dutchman’s breeches, spring beauties, violets, and great bellwort.

For more information on visiting, check out this previous article from us.
  • Raccoon Creek State Park and the Raccoon Creek State Park Wildflower Preserve - Western PA - Beaver County
Raccoon Creek State Park's Wildflower Preserve is a nice place to hike at, but the wildflowers have never really overwhelmed me. Unfortunately, the Wildflower Preserve itself bans dogs with their owners. The upside is that you can still explore other areas, namely the actual highlights of the state park, with your furry friends and you will still be able to take in some wildflowers that are scattered throughout the state park.
Frankfort Mineral Springs. For more background information on this, and the other fun places the park has to offer, check out this article

I was disappointed that the two of us were unable to go into the Wildflower Preserve, so CeCe and I had to "settle" and hike my favorite part of the state park, Frankfort Mineral Springs. No need to fret  if you are a dog owner and want to see wildflowers because there are plenty throughout the state park as well, and they are just as prevalent in many parts as they are in the preserve itself. Even at peak times, in prior years, I was not overwhelmed by the flowers at the Wildflower Preserve like I've been at the locations that I have mentioned earlier in the article, though it is still worth visiting just as a fun hike.

For more information on visiting, check out the park's website.
  • Cedar Creek Park - Western PA - near Belle Vernon 
Cedar Creek Park, on the edge of Westmoreland County near Belle Vernon, is a place that is noted for having a great collection of wildflowers. I was not overwhelmed by the wildflowers here, but the location is worth a visit nonetheless as a short hike if you are in the area. Cedar Creek Gorge is filled with a nice second growth forest and has a trail that leads up to it from the Youghiogheny River and the Great Allegheny Passage bicycle trail. It is a great community gathering place. For more information on visiting, check out the park's website. 
  • Schenley Park - Western PA - Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh's Schenley Park offers a little bit of everything. While there are not too many early spring wildflowers at the park, summer and early fall are wonderful for seeing wildflowers, especially within the Panther Hollow Section of the park. Schenley Park is also home to Phipps Conservatory, which is home to world class botanical gardens. For more information on visiting Schenley Park, check out this article.
  • Moraine State Park to Jennings Environmental Education Center: Glacier Ridge Hike - Western PA
The Moraine State Park to Jennings Environmental Education Center Glacier Ridge Trail takes you across a glacial ridge that has been covered with sediment, dirt, and forest over the years. The conditions are perfect for growing wildflowers and the hike is long, but pretty. As far as hikes go when compared to the others that we have talked about, this is about 13-14 miles from one end to the other, so If you are into doing a slow marathon, park on one end and do it as an out and back. If 13 miles is about your limit, maybe go with a partner and have them park at one end and then park and start at the other, or go part way in and then turn around. Jennings Environmental Education Center is a rare example of a prairie in Pennsylvania and it begins to come to life in early spring, and peaks with summer wildflowers.

For more information, check out the park websites for Moraine State Park and Jennings Environmental Education Center.
  • Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve - Central PA - Pequea, Lancaster County
Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve Map, Courtesy of the Lancaster Conservancy
Shenks Ferry is home to one of the most noted collections of wildflowers in the state and it is an absolutely lovely place to hike. Between here and the surrounding nature areas on the western boundary of Lancaster County on the banks of the Susquehanna River, you will be sure to have a great time. More than a hundred different species of wildflowers have been documented on this tract. They have really done an impressive job with conservation in this area of Lancaster County. The topography and geology of this specific location of the Susquehanna River is breathtaking and looks unlike any other area in the state. Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve is dog friendly as long as they are leashed. For more information on visiting, check out the park's website with the Lancaster Conservancy.
  • Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area - Central PA - Dauphin County
The Old Field area of Boyd Big Tree Preserve is noted for great summer wildflowers. Map courtesy of DCNR.
People in the Harrisburg area have a really great option to hike in the forest really close by at Boyd Big Tree Park. Wildflowers abound in this tract, which was spared from development, similar to many of these places throughout our list. Instead of it succumbing to suburban sprawl with housing developments, retail, and industry, this tract was saved in 1999 by a developer and ownership transferred to the state. It is a great property to hike around if you are in the area and it is home to a decent collection of wildflowers, though it is more of a summer and early fall blooming centric location. This location is dog friendly as long as they are leashed. For more information on visiting, check out the preserve's website.
  • Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania - Eastern PA - Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia
 Photo courtesy of Morris Arboretum
The Morris Arboretum in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia is a gem for relaxing outdoor recreation in Philadelphia. It is the state's official arboretum and it is home to 2500 varieties within 13,000 labeled specimens. This is another place that trends towards more summer wildflowers, though the flowering trees and some spring wildflowers make this a place that you need to check out in the spring, especially the cherry trees in the Japanese section of the park. For more information on visiting, check out the arboretum's website. Unlike most of the places we have listed, there is an admission fee and it is not dog friendly. Unfortunately, the Arboretum is closed to visitors due to the Covid 19 situation.
  • Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area - Central PA
While the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area is best known for its late winter bird migration, in which hundreds of thousands of birds have been counted, it is also a great place to check out wildflower specimens. It has a balanced selection of spring and summer wildflowers and is worth a stop if you are in the area. For more information on visiting check out the area's website.
  • Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve - Eastern PA - New Hope, Bucks County
Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve Map
New Hope is an absolutely beautiful and historic suburb of Philadelphia. Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve is located just off the banks of the Delaware River and near Washington's Crossing State Park. It offers a wild variety of wildflowers that range from early spring all the way through the fall. It was specially cultivated by experts in the Philadelphia region over the better part of the last century to be an excellent preserve for wildflowers. This is a lovely place to visit, though the grounds are closed to the public as a result of Covid-19. For more information on visiting, check out the park's website.  They are also not dog friendly and they charge an admission fee.
  • Greenland Tract - Weiser State Forest - Central PA - Dauphin County
The Greenland Tract of Weiser State Forest in Northeastern Dauphin County near Tower City is appreciated as a decent place for wildflower viewing. This spot is particularly brilliant in mid summer-fall, though the short hikes are wonderful year round. For more information on visiting, check out the DCNR page.
  • Ann Rudd Saxman Nature Park- Western PA, Greensburg - Westmoreland County:
While not a huge spring wildflower hotspot, this is a really nice place to go for a nice walk in the woods. There are some spring wildflowers, but this place trends towards summer and early fall blooms.
We did see some skunk cabbages and thoroughly enjoyed our time here. This place will really pop in the summer through fall months. While I would not go from a far distance to visit, I certainly recommend checking it out if you are in the area. It is a really nice local conservation project. For details on visiting, check out the Nature Park's website.
  • Hawk Mountain - Eastern PA - Orwigsburg, Berks and Schuylkill Counties

Map courtesy of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
While Hawk Mountain is best known for its world renowned raptor migration observation and fantastic scenic vistas, it is also home to a multitude of wildflower species that range from early spring all the way through fall. Unfortunately though, due to the Covid 19 situation, the sanctuary is currently closed to the public. They also charge an admission fee and are not dog friendly. For more information on visiting, check out their website.
  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area - Northeast, PA - Pocono Mountains
    • Hornbeck's Creek Trail
    • Dingman's Falls and Silverthread Falls Boardwalk Trail
    • Raymondskill Falls 
Silverthread Falls on the Dingmans Falls Boardwalk Trail
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a wonderful place to check out wildflowers. This is a terrific destination for people who love hiking, and waterfalls, with the added bonus of beautiful wildflowers. The Delaware Water Gap offers the finest, and tallest, waterfalls that the state has to offer. Hornbeck's Creek Trail offers a plethora of wildflowers with about seventy different species, and beautiful Hornbecks Creek/Indian Ladder Falls. It is a 3.7 mile out and back hike and the most difficult hike of the three places mentioned here in the Delaware Water Gap when compared to Dingman's Falls trail largely consisting of an ADA compliant flat boardwalk, and Raymondskill Falls having a really short hike. I have seen wildflowers at the latter two, but Hornbeck's is the ultimate place to go to see wildflowers in the Delaware Water Gap and the greater Pocono region.
For more information on the Hornbeck's Creek Trail, Dingman's Falls Trail, and Raymondskill Falls, check out this listing from the National Park Service. You can also read more from our articles on Raymondskill Falls and Dingman's/Silverthread Falls.
  • Ricketts Glen State Park - Northeast, PA - Endless Mountains Region
Summer Wildflowers on the Falls Trail
While I have not seen Ricketts Glen in early spring, I can vouch for the park being filled with terrific summer and early fall wildflowers, especially in the meadows on the northern edge of the park and within the glens.
Wildflowers in the Hayfields meadows on the northern boundary of the park in summer.
The park is also known for having decent spring wildflowers throughout the park's many glens, slopes, and wet areas. For more information on visiting, check out our guide to Ricketts Glen State Park.
  • Worlds End State Park - Northeast PA - Endless Mountains Region
Canyon Vista at Worlds End State Park
The region surrounding Ricketts Glen State Park, including State Game Lands and State Forests, are home to endless adventure and perfect habitats for wildflowers. Heading up to both Canyon Vista within Worlds End State Park, and up to the nearby High Knob Overlook, the forest floors have so many spring wildflowers.

For more information on visiting Worlds End State Park, check out this article. For more information on going to the nearby spectacular High Knob Overlook, check out this article.

  • Hickory Run State Park - Northeast PA - Pocono Mountains

Boulder Field at Hickory Run State Park
Hickory Run State Park in the Poconos is a wonderful hiking and outdoor adventure destination. The Hickory Run Trail is particularly noted as being great for wildflowers. For more information on visiting, check out our guide at this link.

  • Erie National Wildlife Refuge - Western PA - Crawford County

Erie National Wildlife Refuge in Crawford County is a wonderful birding destination and place to observe wetland habitats. The wildflowers in the summer and fall are just beautiful, especially when the Lilly Pads bloom.

Summer and Fall wildflowers are abundant throughout the refuge. For more information on visiting, check out this article. 

  • Winslow Hill/PA Elk Region - Western PA - Pennsylvania Wilds - PA Great Outdoors Region

PA's Elk Herd is majestic to see in any season, but for wildflowers it is fantastic towards late spring through the summer. Winslow Hill Is a prime grazing pasture for the elk. It is one of the greatest environmental reclamation projects that has ever been undertaken by the state. It was once stripped barren and scarred with strip mines. Restoration projects converted the land rolling hills and meadows, filled with wildflowers and grasses that the state's elk herd and deer thrive on. Late spring and summer as it comes into bloom is simply incredible. For more information on visiting, check out this article.

  • Raystown Lake - Central PA - Raystown Lake Region

Seven Points Recreation Area
The area around Raystown Lake trends towards late spring and summer wildflowers, and they are particularly vibrant around the Seven Points Recreation Area. This area is also especially lovely to camp at, so for any of you that are into camping, this is a wonderfully well rounded place to visit. 
For more information on visiting Raystown Lake, check out this article

By no means is this a complete list. There are many great places to check out wildflowers across the state, but these are some really decent hotspots. As always, when it comes to our suggestions to see natural beauty, our best suggestion is to look outside your front door. With how much natural beauty is within our state, it is likely that you will run into some great spots for wildflowers.

We have included a map with the locations mentioned within this article.

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