VMI Bluffs Field Trip

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Saturday, April 20, 2019
10:15 am - 3:00 pm

Food Lion - Parking Lot


The chapter will return on April 20th to see the incredibly diverse flora on the bluff rising from the Maury River at Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in Lexington, Virginia, a pleasant nearly all interstate 59 minute drive from Charlottesville (Google estimate). Although we’ll get the military atmosphere on the access trail passing a firing range (now indoors), obstacle course, and rappelling station, there should be little activity given that it’s Easter weekend. The bluffs always provide a spectacular display of spring wildflowers. On past visits we have seen masses of Trout Lilies, Spring Beauties (two species), and Toadshade Trillium. Even more interesting is the large number of relatively uncommon species such as Yellow Pimpernel, Hoary Puccoon, Paxistima, Balsam Ragwort, Twinleaf and Blue Cohosh.

Trout Lilly – Photo: Mary Lee Epps

The flora changes dramatically as we descend from the dry crest of the bluff down to the floodplain where Bluebells and Jacob’s Ladder are prevalent. The trail takes us down a gradual and evenly sloped old roadbed. Recently built steps (equal to about an 8 story building) provide a much quicker and shorter return from the floodplain back to the top of the bluff even with stops to rest and enjoy the wildflowers and view. From the top of bluff to the parking area the trail (same trail used for both initial access and return) has a very moderate and constant slope. No rough trail surfaces with protruding rocks or roots anywhere on our route. Total distance is under 2 miles.

Bring a bag lunch and water. We’ll break to eat before heading home. Restrooms located in parking area.

Membership is not required, we enjoy having guests joining us on our events.

View VMI Directions and Map

Meet for carpooling at 9:00am:

Meet at the Food Lion parking lot on 5th Street near the I-64 exit at 9:00am (1131 5th St SW Charlottesville, VA 22902). Gather at east edge (nearest to 5th St) of the parking lot. The trip will take roughly 1 hour in commute time each way.

If not carpooling meet at 10:15am:

If not carpooling, you can meet us at the picnic shelter on Stono Lane at 10:15am, when carpoolers are expected to arrive.

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