Trails & Trilliums' namesake flower. (Photo: Bob Butters)

The 14th annual Trails & Trilliums Festival is scheduled for April 7–9 and will once again take place at the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly.

One of the most popular spring events in the region, Trails & Trilliums raises funds to benefit the Friends of South Cumberland State Park, the volunteer group that supports Tennessee’s largest state park.

In addition to over 20 hikes and other programs, a number of artists and vendors will be displaying artwork, jewelry, native plants and more. The historical Monteagle Sunday School Assembly is located atop the Cumberland Plateau just off I-24 and less than an hour’s drive from downtown Chattanooga.

Hikers look for wildflowers along the Monteagle Assembly Stagecoach Road. (Photo: Bob Butters)

Friday
The festival kicks off Friday evening with the Art for the Park gala, 5 to 9 p.m., in Harton Hall next to the Assembly Auditorium and featuring a wide selection of nature-oriented artwork by area artists. Admission to the event, themed "this land is your land," includes a casual dinner with beer and wine bars.

Saturday
Art for the Park will continue throughout the day, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., and feature both artwork and vendor sales. The work of over 25 artists will be featured. Learn more about the artists and see samples of their work here.

This year, vendors will be located indoors in the Assembly Auditorium. Overhill Gardens will be set up in their usual spot outside the auditorium and will have a variety of native plants for sale. Preview a dozen vendors who will have exhibits set up here.

Also, family-oriented programs and workshops will take place on the mall, including Birds of Prey, Constructing Fairy Houses, Natural Dye Making and Astronomy in the Evening.

Warren Point, near the assembly grounds. This is where Warren Point sandstone gets its name. (Photo: Bob Butters)

Throughout the day, 11 hikes led by expert naturalists will provide opportunities for hikers of all skill levels to explore some of the wild places of the South Cumberland area. There will also be an opportunity to help with Denny Cove trail work. For most hikes not taking place on the assembly grounds, a shuttle service to and from the trailhead will be included. Click here for hike schedules and descriptions.                        

Saturday evening’s Wine & Wildflowers honors the Southeastern Climbers Coalition for their help in protecting South Cumberland State Park’s new addition, Denny Cove, and will allow you to meet and mingle over wine and appetizers. Keynoting the program with Appalachian storytelling will be Tennessee State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath.

Sunday
Another five hikes will take place, ranging from a birding walk to Warren Point from the assembly grounds to a rugged wildflower hike in Collins Gulf. Again, for those hikes in other locations, a shuttle service to and from the trailhead will be provided. See hike schedules and descriptions here.

One of the metal sculpture creations of local artisan Ron Vandyke. (Photo: Ron Vandyke)

Admission and registration 
Admission to the grounds of the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly is free. You’ll be allowed to peruse the vendor displays and the original works of art that are for sale. Proceeds from all tickets and sales will benefit Friends of South Cumberland.

Friday evening’s Art for the Park event is $40 per person.

Saturday evening’s Wine & Wildflowers is $15 per person.

A weekend activity pass ($20 per person) provides access to all hikes, programs and workshops offered over the weekend, including shuttle service where applicable.

An all-access pass ($75 per person) gives you access to all hikes, programs and workshops, as well as Friday’s Art for the Park gala and Saturday’s Wine & Wildflowers.

A painting of Greeter Falls by artist Katie Gray. (Photo: Katie Gray)

Visitors are encouraged to register online early, as participation is limited with most hikes and programs, and the best ones fill up quickly. Learn more, get maps and directions, and register at www.TrailsandTrilliums.org.    

More spring wildflower hikes
If you’re looking for spring wildflower hikes and aren’t seeing just what you want at Trails & Trilliums or the hike you want to go on is full or there’s some other reason you’re looking for an alternative, Sequatchie Valley Institute is offering two such hikes coming up March 25 and April 8. These hikes will explore the coves and hollows of Sequatchie Valley, and will be accompanied by naturalists, ethnobotanists and foresters familiar with the ecology of the region. Click here to learn more.  

Bob Butters explores nature and the outdoors, primarily in and near the South Cumberland region, and publishes the blog www.Nickajack-Naturalist.com. The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.