Fallen rhododendron petals line a trail through Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina
© aheflin/Getty Images Plu
A path lain with petals
Pisgah National Forest, in western North Carolina, is primarily a hardwood forest boasting 500,000 acres of mountainous peaks and cascading waterfalls that attract hikers, anglers, mountain bikers, and more. But from mid-May to mid-June, the crowds flock here to hike trails that lead to incredible views: acres of native Catawba rhododendrons in full blossom.
The trail pictured here leads to Grassy Ridge Bald and to the 'rhodies.' Grassy Ridge Bald is one of several treeless, grassy ridges found in Pisgah's Roan Highlands, which straddle North Carolina's border with Tennessee. The area boasts not just Catawba rhododendrons, but also huge swaths of orange flame azaleas and other wildflowers. If you're lucky, you may even spot the rare Gray's lily, which was first discovered on Roan Mountain.