Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Flowers! Knob Mountain and Jeremy's Run

After hearing reports from friends of flowers blooming in the mountains, I was pretty excited about this week's hike.  It had been several years since we had hiked Jeremy's Run and Knob Mountain in Shenandoah National Park and those trails have a wide variety of spring flowers.  The downside is that they tend to be fairly crowded in the spring, but we decided it would be worth it.  Jeremy's Run can run high and be difficult to cross in the spring (the trail crosses it 17 times over the course of 6 miles), so we packed our crocs in case we had to take off our boots. 

We arrived at the trailhead on the west boundary of the park around 9:30 yesterday.  The weather could not have been better:  high 60s and sunny. The trail crosses about a mile of private land before climbing a small hill up to the park boundary.  We were immediately rewarded with flowers including Claytonia virginica (Spring Beauty) and Corydalis flavula (Yellow Corydalis). From the park boundary, we descended back down to Jeremy's Run, which was as low as we've ever seen it.  When hiking it in the past, we have actually bushwhacked short distances to avoid some of the deeper, faster crossings, so we were surprised to find out that we didn't need to take our boots off at the lowest crossing of the day.  That is the long-winded way of saying, "we need some rain." 

At the junction with the Knob Mountain Trail, we took a left, crossed the run, and immediately began to climb.  The trail climbs steeply for a little over three miles to the top of Knob Mountain.  Without any leaves on the trees and little breeze, it was actually kind of a hot climb.  We took a break for lunch at the top by the summit post.  There was a nice view through the trees of Neighbor Mountain to the south.  From there, it was an easy descent to the Knob Mountain Cutoff Trail, which took us down to the Jeremy's Run Trail.  The Cutoff trail was lined with purple and white Anemone americana (Round-Lobed Liverleaf or Hepatica).  At nearly every stream crossing, we marveled at how low the run was. 

We finished 13 miles in about 8 hours because we took so much time photographing flowers.  It was a very pleasant hike. We only ran into three people:  a trail runner and two guys hiking together.

Pictures (click to enlarge):
 Anemone americana (Round-lobed Liverleaf, Hepatica) on the Knob Mountain Cutoff Trail.
 Claytonia virginica (Spring Beauty).
 Corydalis flavula (Yellow Corydalis).
 Epigaea repens (Trailing Arbutus)
 Packera obovatus (Round-Leaved Ragwort).
 Anemone americana (Round-Lobed Liverleaf, Hepatica). 
 Antennaria sp. (Pussytoes). 
 Micranthes virginiensis (Early Saxifrage).
An interesting grass.  The flower heads on these were about 3/4 of an inch long.  When they were bumped, they released clouds of pollen.
I could use some help on this one.  The flowers are about 1/4 inch across and they are on stalks that are about 3 inches tall.
 Trees reflected in a pool on Jeremy's Run.
 Cardamine concantenata (Cut-Leaf Toothwort).
 A pretty waterfall on Jeremy's Run. 
A water-strider on a pool.


  1. Awesome spring flower post. Except daffodils I have not seen any yellow's yet. I liked your sighting of Ragwort and Corydalis and will be keeping my eyes open for them.

  2. Looks like fun. Thanks for sharing.