The 16th annual Trails and Trilliums festival, the spring fundraiser for the Friends of South Cumberland State Park and a multi-day celebration of spring, will offer a record number of expertly-guided hikes on the most scenic trails in and around the South Cumberland State Park.
The April 12-14 festival, sponsored this year by Lodge Cast Iron, will also offer a full slate of nature-themed speakers and workshops, an expanded native plant sale, free family-oriented activities for the children, and evening fundraiser events on both Friday and Saturday.
Capacity is limited on most hikes, talks and workshops. Reservations are open now and available online at www.trailsandtrilliums.org.
Expertly-guided hikes, to locations in and around the South Cumberland State Park, leave from the DuBose Conference Center in Monteagle on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 12-14.
The expanded native plant sale, programs, workshops, food and music are at the DuBose Conference Center. A full schedule is available at TrailsAndTrilliums.org.
Friday evening’s 5:30-7 p.m. Wine & Wildflowers celebration and fundraiser is at the Monteagle Inn, and sponsored by Tower Community Bank.
Saturday’s free 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. children’s activities are at the South Cumberland State Park Visitor Center.
Saturday evening’s Trail Weekend Hootenanny fundraiser is at Baggenstoss Farms in Tracy City, beginning at 4 p.m.
Talks and workshops
Also this year, Trails and Trilliums will offer 16 talks and workshops on topics ranging from nature journaling to birding, edible plants, watercolor, fairy houses and more. Highlights of the talk and workshop schedule include:
• Keynote address by author and naturalist Stephen Bales, Saturday at noon;
• Cumberland Wild Panel: “Free Play/Nature Play,” Saturday at 1 p.m., free admission;
• Tennessee Naturalist Panel: “Would you like to be a Tennessee Naturalist?” Saturday at 2 p.m., free admission.
• Mary Priestley will introduce her newest book, “Sewanee Wildflowers in Watercolor;’ talk and book signings are at 11 a.m. Saturday and noon Sunday; free admission.
Native plant sale
A greatly expanded plant sale on Saturday and Sunday will feature an extensive inventory of wildflowers, ferns, trees and shrubs from the Overhill Gardens native plant nursery. On both days, there will also be garden-related vendors offering outdoor sculpture, worm castings, produce, garden accessories, botanical prints, nature books and cards.
Free children’s activities
A wide array of free children’s activities will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the South Cumberland State Park Visitor Center. These family-friendly activities are sponsored by Doug Ferris and John D. Canale.
Grand opening of two new areas
This year, Trails and Trilliums also celebrates the grand opening of two new areas of South Cumberland State Park: The new nature play area, on the Meadow Trail at the park’s visitor center; and the new interpretive trail at the site of the 1930s-era Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Grundy Forest.
Wine & Wildflowers Celebration
The annual Wine & Wildflowers celebration and Friends’ fundraiser is set for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Monteagle Inn, and features presentation of the Trails and Trilliums Tribute Award.
Trail Weekend Hootenanny
Also happening on Trails & Trilliums weekend is the Trail Weekend Hootenanny, presented by the Friends of South Cumberland and the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance to raise funds for a new paved connector between the Mountain Goat Trail and the South Cumberland State Park Visitor Center.
Gates open at 4 p.m. Saturday at nearby Baggenstoss Farms, off Clouse Hill Road in Tracy City.
Guided hikes schedule
This year, Trails and Trilliums features a record 26 unique guided hikes, both long and short, rated from easy to strenuous, and led by some of the region’s most expert guides. Hikes will be offered all weekend, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The hike lineup includes adventures focusing on wildflowers, salamanders and snakes, Civilian Conservation Corps history, birds, nature photography, geology and much more. Hikers will visit Denny Cove, Foster Falls, Fiery Gizzard, Grundy Forest, Sherwood Forest, Sewanee Natural Bridge, Shakerag Hollow, Collins Gulf, Deer Lick Falls, Greeter Falls, Stone Door and other springtime locations.
For a complete schedule or to register for the event, visit www.trailsandtrilliums.org.
All proceeds from the event benefit the nonprofit Friends of the South Cumberland, whose stated mission is “to aid and assist the park management and staff in meeting its objectives, and to inform, educate, engage and inspire its members and the public to protect, conserve, and enjoy all the resources of the park.”