The spring ephemerals are blooming in the woods of the North Shore. Ephemeral is a lovely word from the Greek words for “of the day.” It means short-lived, and these flowers pack a lot of living into just a very few days.
Along the Superior Hiking Trail, in the Bardon Peak area of western Duluth off Skyline Drive, there is a great two miles of trail leading through the heart of an old-growth northern hardwood forest.
There is a very brief window of opportunity for the flowers there: the ground must be thawed, and there must be plenty of sunshine. “Spring ephemerals” are a small group of flowers that carry out virtually their entire annual life cycle in those few weeks. In that group are bloodroot, hepatica, wood anemone, and spring beauty.
Well, the ground is thawed, and thanks to our long winter there are very few leaves on the trees to block the sun. So this is the time to head to your favorite stretch of maple forest and check out the show.
Go see for yourself
This is Hike 3 in our new book Hiking the North Shore.
To reach the Bardon Peak trail, take Skyline Drive west from I-35 past Spirit Mountain. It’s 2.5 miles to the Magney Ski Trail parking area. The Superior Hiking Trail leads from the near corner of the parking lot. Take a right at the first junction and follow the signs for Bardon Peak. After a scenic run across a creek and through a pine forest, the trail crosses Skyline Drive and enters the old-growth maple forest. It’s 1.3 miles total to the big viewpoints of Bardon Peak. You can either continue for a total of 3.3 miles to Elys Peak or turn around here.
Bloodroot and hepatic were blooming a few days ago, but very soon the lovely large-flowered trillium will be blooming too. Get out there and enjoy!
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