Skip to main content

U.S. Forest Service

Southern Region Viewing Area


Back Creek. Back Creek.

gaywings. Gaywings.

yellow mandarin. Yellow mandarin.

Back Creek Gorge Wildflower Trail (at Blowing Springs Recreation Area)

Forest: George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

District: Warm Springs Ranger District

Description: Blowing Springs Campground, located on the George Washington National Forest, is named for a natural limestone spring that emits air at a constant temperature of 58 degrees, winter or summer.

Viewing: Starting in late March and extending into April spring ephemerals bloom along the Back Creek Gorge Trail. Visitors can expect to see trout lily, cut-leaved toothwort, spring beauty, and masses of trilliums. From April into May columbine, wild geranium, bellworts, Solomon’s seal, creeping phlox, nodding mandarin, and many violet species take center stage. While spring has the most dramatic wildflower show there is plenty to see throughout the summer and fall. At any time of the year, beautiful Back Creek, with its deep blue pools, is worth a visit.

Safety first: This trail follows a gentle grade, but there are some rough, uneven places. Beware of slippery rocks and please stay on the trail. Always carry a snack, water and a light raincoat, and wear (comfortable) hiking boots, when hiking.

Directions: To get to Blowing Springs Campground take I-64 at Covington, Virginia, go north on RT 220 to Warm Springs then go west (left) on RT 39 about 10 miles. Look for signs to Blowing Springs Recreation Area. Go to the back of the campground where there is a trailhead and sign "Back Creek Gorge Trail." This easy, level trail is actually an old railroad bed which follows Back Creek downstream. About 0.5 mi. from the trailhead there is a broad, low falls across the river and a deep swimming place below.

Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, George Washington & Jefferson National Forests.

Closest Town: Covington, Virginia.