Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2015 - 34
Come May and June, the Southern
Appalachians don one of their
prettiest and most-cherished
accessories - the explosion of
color of the rhododendron as they
light up the edges of balds, the
rocky crags and streamsides.
Photos by Lori Kincaid
Virginia's Grayson Highland State Park is known for the Catawba
rhododendron gracing its open rocky ridges around the first half of
June, but delights also await in the park's historic areas and
campground. Here, a Catawba rhododendron provides a perfect
accent to the log cabin that holds the Camp Store.
Misty sunrises, mountain ridges fading into the distance, cool
summer temperatures and blooming Catawba rhododendron are
all part of the lure of the Roan Highlands where three mountain
peaks top out above 6,000 feet.
The Oconaluftee River in the Smokies is lined with rosebay
rhododendron in the second half of June, but rosebays may be
found as early as May in the southern reaches of the Blue Ridge
and as late as July in the higher elevations.