25th Annual Wildflower Saturday

Weekend of Friday, May 5th & Saturday 6th, 2017
Wildflower Saturday is an annual event held in DeSoto State Park atop Lookout Mountain in Fort Payne, Alabama, always the first Saturday of May
Springtime at DeSoto State Park is truly beautiful, with wildflowers & trees blooming around every corner. Join DeSoto State Park staff & guest speakers for a wonderful weekend of learning about the many species of blooming plants found on Lookout Mountain. Choose to stay the whole weekend, or just come for the day to enjoy the hikes and programs.

Weekend starts off with a welcome social and guest speaker program on Friday night, a day full of hikes to choose from and a guest speaker on Saturday night. 


Schedule at a glance:

Friday, May 5th~

6:00-7:15-Welcome Social & presentation by DeSoto State Park Staff-Superintendent Ken Thomas & Naturalist Brittney Hughes (Green Pitcher Plants)-Lodge

Saturday, May 6th~

                7:00 am-DeSoto’s Mountain Inn Restaurant begins serving breakfast buffet

                9:00 am-Hikes start at DeSoto’s Country Store (3 hikes heading out)

                11:30 am-DeSoto’s Mountain Inn Restaurant begins serving lunch

                1:00 pm-Hikes start at DeSoto’s Country Store (3 hikes heading out)

                3:00 pm-Hikes start at DeSoto’s Country Store (3 hikes heading out)

                5:00 pm-DeSoto’s Mountain Inn Restaurant begins serving dinner buffet

                7:15 pm-Presentation by Alabama State Botanist Wayne Barger(Alabama Blossoms & Butterflies)-Lodge

Fee: Free & Open to everyone. No pre-registration required. We do ask that groups over 10 please RSVP to help us make everyone's wildflower experience better!

Saturday Hikes: DeSoto's trails can vary from fairly flat terrain to slightly steep inclines & rocky ground. Each hike is marked for its difficulty level. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear & bring along water & snacks along on the hikes. Throughout the course of the day you will be able to choose from 3 separate hikes during the day, each hike with different leaders. 


Meat-Eating Plants
‘Feed Me Seymour!’ Come on out to discover facts about these unusual plants that are carnivorous, meaning they digest insects and other organisms. They live in boggy, wet areas that are low in nutrients, and have evolved over time to eat prey to survive. People have long been drawn to these weird but lovable plants, enthralled by visions of man-eaters out of “Little Shop of Horrors.”
Join DeSoto State Park staff-Park Superintendent Ken Thomas & Naturalist Brittney Hughes to explore the world of the Venus Fly Traps, Sundews, Bladderworts, Pitcher Plants and how each one catches their prey. Additionally they will be speaking about the Green Pitcher Plant Project, a park effort to ensure Lookout Mountain’s native, federally-listed endangered pitcher plant is protected and will thrive over many generations. 
Date: Friday, May 5, 2017
Time: 6:00 pm
Where: DeSoto State Park-Fort Payne, Alabama. Lodge 
Fee: Free and open to everyone, Great for all ages! No pre-registration required. For details, call 256.997.5025 or email

Alabama Blossoms and Butterflies
Few states have the diversity and variety of wildflowers that are found in Alabama. From the northern mountains to the southern coastal plains, Alabama's landscape is blanketed with a diverse array of wildflowers and native plants. Many species found in Alabama are also common throughout the southeastern United States, including spring-blooming flowering trees and shrubs. Join botanist Wayne Barger from the State Lands Division of the Dept. of Conservation & Natural Resources for a photographic tour of many species of plants(and their pollinators!) found throughout our beautiful state.
Date: Saturday, May 6, 2017
Time: 7:15 p.m.
Where: DeSoto State Park Lodge-Fort Payne, Alabama
Fee: Free and open to everyone, Great for all ages! No pre-registration required. For details, call 256.997.5025 or email


Hike leaders this year: Brittney M. Hughes, LC Moon, Ila Hatter, Michelle Reynolds, Steve Threlkeld, Wayne Barger, Mandy Pearson, Larry Beane, Robert Carter, Christine Bock (subject to change)


The Azalea Cascade Hike:
Starts on DeSoto's Azalea Cascade Boardwalk and ends at the Country Store.
 Meets behind DeSoto's Country Store on the deck
Hike Times: 9:00 a.m.
                     1:00 p.m.
                    3:00 p.m.
Easy to Moderate 
This hike has the easest terrain, suitable for people with limited mobility or younger children. Starts out along the Talmadge Butler ADA-Accessible Boardwalk Trail & continues along for both an elevated & ground-floor view of the hardwood forest. Ends at Azalea Cascade, with an option to venture off of the boardwalk on a trail that ends back at the country store.
Various plants to see: Pink Lady Slipper, Mountain Laurel, Wild Ginger, Catesby’s Trillium, Galax, Trout Lilly, Sweet Shrub, Mountain Honeysuckle, Yellowroot, Dwarf Iris, New York Fern, Wild Geranium, Cucumber Magnolia, Wild Azalea, and much more.


The Rhododendron Trail Hike:

 Goes from Country Store towards DeSoto's pool area and down the yellow trail, ending at Indian Falls. Meets at DeSoto's Nature Center
Hike Times: 9:00 a.m.
                     1:00 p.m.
                     3:00 p.m.
Moderate to mildly strenuous  
Classified as Moderate to mildly strenuous because of the length and slightly rocky terrain; this hike is great for walking under the forest canopy & among flowing creeks. Follows along the bluff line overlooking the West Fork of Little River, and ends at scenic Indian Falls.
Various plants to see: Catawba Rhododendron, Wild Camellia, Rosebay Rhododendron, Yellowstar Grass, Wild Huckleberry, Mountain Laurel, Trailing Arbutus,  Bluets, Solomon’s Seal, Catesby’s Trillium, Galax, Sweet Shrub, Fringe Tree, Partridgeberry, & much more.

The Little River Hike:
Starts at Indian Falls, follows the yellow trail and circles back to Indian Falls.
 Meets outside DeSoto's Country Store on grass.
Hike Times: 9:00 a.m.
                      1:00 p.m.
                      3:00 p.m.
Moderate to mildly strenuous  
Also classified as moderate to mildly strenuous, this hike starts at Indian Falls & goes down a slight incline to follow along the West Fork of Little River. Terrain is rocky with some minor rock-hopping next to the river. Trail curves around & starts a gradual curve up to the bluff above Little River & ends back at Indian Falls.
Various plants to see: Mountain Honeysuckle, Mountain Laurel, Catawba Rhododendron, Nuttall’s Rayless Goldenrod, Yellowroot, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Indian Cucumber Root, Wood Sorrel, Tag Alder, Ashy Hydrangea, Oxeye Daisy, Coral Honeysuckle, Flatrock Onion, Neverwet, Royal Fern, Joe Pye Weed, Cinnamon Fern, Rattlesnake Plantain and much more.


Trail Maps & Wildflower Checklists can be found at the Lodge, Country Store and Nature Center.
All presentations & hikes are free to the Public and no registration required! 

Contact Info:
Brittney M. Hughes,
Park Naturalist at DeSoto State Park
7104 DeSoto Parkway NE Fort Payne, AL. 35967
Office: 256.997.5025 OR Fax: 256.845.8286

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Video: Wildflowers and Waterfalls

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