|Spring Beauties Near Kyle's Landing|
The list of destinations below are for people who don't really want to walk very far. Here are my recommended hot spots for very easy wildflower viewing and photography -- places where you can drive up and take a short walk to great displays of Ozark wildflowers:
- Lost Valley Hiking Trail
It is hard to beat Lost Valley. Park your car and walk the first 1/2 mile and you will see most wildflowers when they are in bloom. Lost Valley also has toilets. Further up the trail are two falls and unbeatable scenery.
- Kyle's Landing Access Road
Hardly anyone knows about this one. Take the road to Kyle's Landing down to the intersection with the road to Camp Orr. Park safely there and walk the road toward Kyle's. This stretch has most of the major species, and it also has Dutchman's Breeches when they are in bloom, a less common wildflower.
- Camp Orr Road (off Kyle's Landing Access Road)
Not huge blooms along this road, but one rare wildflower -- Hoary Paccoon. You got to love that name. Bright yellow-orange clusters about halfway to your next destination, the Triple Falls at Camp Orr (below).
- Triple Falls (at the end of Camp Orr Road)
This area is on nobody's list of wildflower destinations, but it loads up pretty well. You will find the flowers in the short hike to the Triple Falls, a pretty nice set of falls. I find different species here in greater concentration than I do in Lost Valley.
Destinations 2,3, and 4 are all basically the same because they are so close together. The difference between them has to do with altitude, moisture and soil. This is an interesting study in micro-climate. It is easy to get many good species pictures and not walk very far at all.
- Road to Broadwater Falls
Spiderwort on Road to Broadwater Falls
Head out of Compton to the flagpole at the Compton Fire Department, turn east toward the park and follow that road. Along this road you will find the best bloom of spiderworts I have seen anywhere. There are pull-offs where you can park and walk. Also a great place for red buds, wild plums, and dogwoods in season. You will find less common green trillium here as well. Eye-level shots are often possible because of deep ditches next to flower beds.
Wildflowers will bloom at different dates depending on location, so if you visit you can see a good mixture of species by visiting different locations. Some locations might be a week apart on blooming dates for the same species. The big show starts in just a couple of weeks.