Prickley Pear Trail: First Blooms

May 22, 2008 at 12:11 am 16 comments

Today I went for a quick hike with the dogs on the Prickley Pear Trail in the Poverty Creek Trail System. The rhododendrons at Mount Rogers aren’t expect to peak for another 2-3 weeks. But down a couple thousand feet at Poverty Creek, I found them blooming away. As an added bonus, the mountain laurel (real mountain laurel, not mountain pieris) was starting to flower as well.

Gorgeous rhododendron blooms over a beautifully textured bark

I love the shape of the wild rhododendrons and how they spread out and the branches twist and turn.

The first Mountain Laurel blooms opening up

More pictures of my trip on the Prickley Pear Trail can be found on my Flickr site.

Prickley Pear Trail
(From FS-708 to Skullcap Trail)

Mileage: 3 miles round trip

Elevation Difference: [Unsure, but I can say it doesn’t feel very steep]

4WD Requirements: Forest Service Road 708 is gravel and climbs a hill, but for the most part is well maintained.

Trailhead Parking: There is a nearby pull off on the left in front of the Royale Trailhead

Driving Directions:
(from Blacksburg, Virginia)

Take 460 West
After you pass Pandapas Pond, be on the lookout for Forest Service Road 708 on your left. There will be a dedicated turn lane for it.
Once 708 starts to flatten, watch for a wooden sign for the “Royale Trail” on your left. The Prickley Pear Trail is unmarked and starts across the street from the Royale Trail.

Entry filed under: Hiking, Mountain Laurel, Poverty Creek, Rhododendron.

Trail Days 2008 – Meadowview Farms Hearts in Nature: Prickley Pear Trail

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Hearts in Nature: Prickley Pear Trail « TGAW  |  May 22, 2008 at 8:04 am

    […] 22, 2008 At the Prickley Pear Trail on Wednesday, I found two more examples of hearts in […]

  • 2. geekhiker  |  May 22, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    Did you happen to do any closeups of the bark above? I think the texturing is fantastic!

  • 3. tgaw  |  May 23, 2008 at 9:58 am

    @geekhiker – Pooh. Every shot I got was more focused on the rhodos. But I have seen lots of trees like that around and I have been meaning to try to figure out what they are. So I’ll snag you a shot in the future!

  • 4. Carolyn  |  May 23, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Is it an evergreen?

  • 5. TGAW  |  May 23, 2008 at 11:48 am

    @Carolyn – Yes, I believe it was!

  • 6. Carolyn  |  May 23, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Too bad I don’t remember which evergreen off the top of my head, but I feel pretty good that I was at least able to identify it as evergreen. 🙂

  • 7. Carolyn  |  May 23, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Oh, on another note, how interesting that my generic icon is purple. And Vicky’s is somewhat green (not really green, more teal, but it has a tinge of green in it. 🙂 )

  • 8. Clint  |  May 23, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    These “generic icons” wordpress has implemented are frickin’ awesome.

    I recognize them as graphical hashes of IP addresses…. A slashdot article (or SOMEthing) covered these… I spent a day at postal simply plugging in varoius IP addresses and seeing what they looked like.

    …And they looked like these 🙂 So it was kind of cool knowing what they were right away.

  • 9. Carolyn  |  May 23, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    So I guess my purple one is based on an IP from my job. Still pretty cool.

  • 10. Carolyn  |  May 23, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Based on flipping through my dendrology book, I’m going to guess “pine” but I don’t know which pine. It looks like the bark in the picture of Jeffrey Pine, but I don’t think I learned that one…

  • 11. Nick  |  June 2, 2008 at 9:29 am


    do you have spies at Mt Rogers to know when the rhodes will bloom. As you know I’m taking a group from the Ronaoke Outdoor Club there on June 14th. I have no experience chasing the bloom of rhodes. Hopefully we will catch them! The rhodes were in full bloom at Douthat State Park last weekend, including Mountain Laurel. Also, plenty of bears!


  • 12. tgaw  |  June 2, 2008 at 10:00 am

    @Nick- I think last year around this time, I emailed someone from the Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club to check. Last year June 10th was AWESOME. I’ll be up there this weekend for a backpacking trip– so I’ll let you know how it looks then. I am worried this weekend is going to be a little too early, so I also have the following weekend blocked off for a return trip. 🙂

  • 13. M.L. Homies  |  September 29, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    those are some really cool pictures there

  • 14. tgaw  |  September 30, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    @M.L. Homies – Thanks!

  • 15. Laurel Mount  |  October 23, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Beautiful photos, it seems like everything out there bloomed earlier than things bloom here. I’ll have to check out that trail sometime, thanks for the post.

  • 16. tgaw  |  October 26, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    @Laurel Mount – Well, if it is any consolidation, I believe you get your autumn leaves earlier than us.


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