From the May 2019 issue

Where to Find Wildflowers: 3 Fantastic Locations

Are you looking to take in the sights and scents of wildflowers? Here are three spots in Michigan and beyond to find beautiful wildflower blooms.

Wildflowers at the Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary
Photo of Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary

From May 6-12, 2019 the country collectively celebrates the beauty of nature during National Wild Flower Week. If you’re wondering where to find wildflowers in metro Detroit and beyond, we’ve got you covered.

Here are three spots – two in Michigan and one down south – that offer plenty of wildflowers for your family to enjoy. Read up on each one’s specific offerings, pack up the family van and make a day trip, or longer, out of them. 

Close to Home: Macomb Orchard Trail

Expect to make your way through wooded pathways, meadows, quaint towns and more along the 24-mile Macomb Orchard Trail.

For families looking to get out and enjoy the spring weather – by foot or bike – the trail offers a mix of the best Mother Nature has to offer.

“You can take the trail from Shelby Township all the way to the city of Richmond heading east, or heading west you can connect onto the Clinton River Trail into the city of Rochester, then to the Paint Creek Trail – and if you’re up for it, you can traverse up to Lake Orion,” notes Joe Youngblood, Macomb Orchard Trail member and Shelby Township parks and recreation director.

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“Also in Shelby Township, you can head south on the Iron Belle Trail into Gene Shepherd Park and enjoy the splash pad, then head over to Yates Cider Mill (on the rustic trail) for some doughnuts to fuel up.”

The great outdoors – plus a pit-stop treat – is sure to be a kid-pleaser.

The trail includes several places for tired kiddos to rest, complete with benches and posted maps so you can figure out where you’re at (restrooms are available in several places, too).

Encourage your kids to look for wildflowers as you go and keep in mind that different flowers will be appearing throughout the spring and summer.

A Day Trip: Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary

Pink lady’s slipper. Starflower. Lily of the valley. The Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary comes alive with many buds working their way into blossoms starting in May.

Setting aside land specifically as a safe haven for wildflowers was nearly unheard of back in 1937, when the idea for the sanctuary first came to be with the Federated Garden Clubs of Michigan working to preserve the pocket of marsh and woods, explains Pat McGhan, a botanist for the Huron-Manistee National Forests.

The sanctuary, which is tucked in the Huron-Manistee National Forests, remains the only one of its kind within the National Forest System.

The self-guided walking trail through the sanctuary includes two routes – a shorter, half-mile trail and a longer 1.5-mile loop.

McGhan points out May is a good time to see the Round-leaved Sundew, a carnivorous plant with small, red, tentacle-like pieces extending from it, just waiting to capture its next meal (don’t worry, it only eats insects).

Take pictures – and don’t pick the flowers.

Even Farther Away: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee might as well be called the Great Wildflower National Park. It boasts more than 1,500 different kinds of flowering plants, which is more than any other national park in the country.

Go over to the park’s website for a detailed list of suggested wildflower hikes along 10 trails to scope out the trillium, wood sorrel, toothwort and foamflower, to name just a few.

Do you know of any other great wildflower spots? Tell us about them in the comments.

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