Hiking Hickerson Hollow Trail Out-and-Back
Continuing our goal to go to every Shenandoah National Park trail within two hours’ driving distance, last weekend my husband and I did two shuttle hikes along Hickerson Hollow Trail and Lands Run Road. The paths are located in the North District, a couple miles south of Dickey Ridge Visitor Center. The two trails are on either side of Skyline Drive and you park at Lands Run Gap parking lot.
Hickerson Hollow Trail is across the road from the parking lot. It is 1.1 miles each way, for a total of 2.2 miles round. The path is relatively wide and follows along a stream for part of the way. There were quite a few wildflowers growing already and it was nice to see the forest starting to turn green.
Littleleaf buttercup, Early wood buttercup, Kidney-leaf buttercup, Small-flowered Buttercup, or Ranunculus abortivus, is a member of the Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae) and blooms April to August. A native wildflower, it grows throughout North America, except in a few states on the west coast of the U.S. It thrives in fields, open woods, and waste places.
Common Wintercress, or Barbarea vulgaris, is a member of the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae) and blooms April to August. A non-native plant introduced from Eurasia, it now grows throughout most of North America, except a few states in the south and some of the northernmost parts of Canada. You can find it in moist fields, meadows, brooksides, and waste places.
Apparently the young leaves and flower bud clusters can be used in salads or cooked as greens!
Garlic Mustard, or Alliaria petiolata, is a member of the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae) and blooms April to June. This plant was introduced to North America from Europe in the late 1800’s and has spread rapidly. It now grows in at least 38 states and parts of Canada. Unfortunately, it is invasive in forests. However, the garlic-flavored leaves are edible.
Rue Anemone, Windflower, or Thalictrum thalictroides, is a member of the Buttercup Family (Ranunculaeae) and blooms March to May. A native plant, it grows throughout eastern and central North America.
There were many Rue Amenones growing by the stream.
Wild Geranium, Crane’s Bill, or Geranium maculatum, is a member of the Geranium Family (Geraniaceae) and blooms April to June. A native wildflower, it grows throughout eastern and central North America in woods, thickets, and meadows.
This is one of my favorite spring flowers to see in Shenandoah National Park. The color is so vibrant and the lines so delicate. Almost every Wild Geranium I’ve seen is photogenic. I always want to stop and take photos of them!
Sweet White Violet
Sweet White Violet, or Viola blanda, is a member of the Violet Family (Violaceae) and blooms April to May. A native wildflower, it grows throughout eastern and mid-western North America. They grow in rich, moist woods. We found these growing near the stream.
Recommended as a Wildflower Hike
Hickerson Hollow Trail is short and does not seem to be a well-traversed, popular trail, but we were able to enjoy seeing a fair variety of spring wildflowers there. Going downhill to start and then uphill on the way back made for some good exercise as well.