This week we hiked along Dickey Ridge Trail from its southern end at Compton Gap parking lot up north to Snead Farm and looped back again. We took a bit of a shortcut back and did not go all the way to the Dickey Ridge Visitor’s Center, but instead looped back along a fire road trail that goes up Dickey Hill. The hike was 10.9 miles in total.
Snead Farm Loop has to be my all-time favorite wildflower trail in Shenandoah National Park. No matter what season you visit, there is a wide variety of wildflowers. Knowing this, I set off eagerly with my camera. I was pleasantly surprised to find some interesting flowers along Dickey Ridge as well.
The southern end of Dickery Ridge Trail can be found a short way from Compton Gap parking lot. From the parking lot to the start of Dickey Ridge Trail were many bushes of Pale Touch-me-nots.
Pale Touch-me-not, Jewelweed, or Impatiens pallida, belongs to the Touch-me-not family (Balsaminaceae) and blooms from June to October. They grow all along the east coast of North America and are less common than the similar Spotted Touch-me-not, which is orange. This flower favors wet woods and meadows.
The woods in this area were lovely, with a lush green forest floor and uniform trees. Along the way we met many trail runners. Dickey Ridge seems like a popular path for trail runners, perhaps because it is relatively flat underfoot with only a few short rocky areas.
We also saw Wild Basil, Spotted Touch-me-not, Whorled Loosestrife, and Fringed Loosestrife along Dickey Ridge.
Snead Farm Loop was a treasure trove of wildflowers, just as I expected. Along the fire road there were so many different types of wildflowers. I’ll share a few of my favorites.
Downy False Foxglove
Downy False Foxglove, or Aureolaria virginica, belongs to the Figwort family (Scrophulariaceae) and blooms from June to August. It favors dry open woods and can be found all along the east coast of North America.
We saw this flower along Dickey Ridge Close to the turnoff to Snead Farm loop prior to reaching Dickey Hill.
Bladder Campion, or Silene vulgaris, belongs to the Carnation family (Caryophyllaceae) and blooms from April to August. It can be found throughout North America and was originally introduced from Europe. This flower favors fields and roadsides.
Bouncing Bet, Soapwort, or Saponaria officinalis, is a member of the Pink family (Caryophyllaceae) and blooms from June to September. Introduced from Europe, it can be found throughout North America. This flower favors roadsides and disturbed areas.
Soapwort’s crushed foliage can create a soapy froth when agitated in water because the plant contains saponin. “Bouncing Bet” is an old-fashioned nickname for a washerwoman.
Bouncing Bet can be white or pink.
There were a lot of these along the fire road around Snead Farm.