Rhododendron & Azaleas

Rhododendron, mountain laurel, and a variety of azaleas put on their big show from May through late June. If you miss the early blooms at lower elevations, rest assured that you will get more opportunities in the higher elevations where the blooming is a bit later. Often you will find these flowering shrubs viewable from the road or overlooks, however the many trails along the Parkway reward visitors with different views and photographic opportunities.

Catawba rhododendron is the purple variety that blooms from early June around the Peaks of Otter in Virginia to the third week of June at Craggy Gardens in North Carolina.

Catawba Rhododendron
Rhododendron catawbiesne
Typically blooms during the month of June
Mileposts for viewing: 44.9, 77-83, 130.5, 138.6, 239, 247, 266.8, 348-350, 364.1

Rosebay rhododendron is the larger white variety that begins in mid to late June and blooms into July, primarily through the area of Rocky Knob in Virginia.

Rosebay or White Rhododendron
Rhododendron maximum
Typically blooms from June to July
Mileposts for viewing: 162.9, 169 PA, 232-233, 339.3 (picnic area), 352-353, 455-456

Carolina Rhododendron (small-leaved)
Rhododendron minus
Typically blooms from late April to June
Mileposts for viewing: 308-310, 404-411

Also in the rhododendron genus are flame azalea, pink azalea or pinxter flower, which bloom early to late May in many Parkway areas.

Flame Azalea
Rhododendron calendulaceum
Typically blooms from May to June
Mileposts for viewing: 138.6, 144-145, 149.5, 164-166, 217-221, 308-310, 368-380, 412-423

Pinkshell
Rhododendron vaseyi
Typically blooms from May to June
Mileposts for viewing: 305.2, 342-343, 349-351, 419-424

Pinxter Flower
Rhododendron nudiflorum
Typically blooms from April to May
Mileposts for viewing: 4, 92-97, 138.6, 145.5, 154.5 (picnic area), 162.9, 211.6, 217-222, 350-351, 412-423

Mountain laurel blooms mid to late May and into June in higher elevations.

Mountain Laurel
Kalmia latifolia
Typically blooms from late May to June
Mileposts for viewing: 130.5, 162.9, 347.9, 380, 400