Strolling through Rhododendron State Park in July is relaxing and rejuvenating, especially on a foggy, misty, morning. Flat, easy walking trails wind through the 16 acre forest/grove taking you on a journey of discovery. Rhododendron means Rose Tree, and these flowering trees are named Rhododendron Maximum, which means Giant Rhododendron. These wild Rhododendrons that grow in the shady moist environment belong to the Heath Family, which also includes Mountain Laurel and Blueberries. This grove dates back to 1788. It was gifted to the Appalachian Mountain Club in 1903 by Miss Mary Lee Ware. She wanted it to remain preserved since it is a unique environment in New England and the stipulation was to keep it open to the public so others may marvel at its splendor.
Grove Entrance in the morning misty fog.
The park is in Fitzwilliam, NH, on Rhododendron Rd of course. Parking is simple and the trails can easily be accessed by all. To see the Rhododendrons in bloom, the time to visit is in mid July. To see the Mountain Laurel, a similar shrub which also blooms at this park, you would want to visit in June. The full bloom schedule depends on the weather throughout the spring and summer. Best to check the bloom updates, which can be found on the park website: click here for Rhododendron State Park website
A Rhododendron in mid bloom.
There is a Laurel Trail among the loop and also a Wildflower Trail that loops from the grove back to the parking lot. Make sure to read the signs. You could find yourself hiking upward to Mt Monadnock.
Rhododendron trees full of blooms
There were more blooms in the areas with the most sun and the leaves are little sunburnt as well.
Bridges cross over small brooks that run through the area.
A Rhodo in full bloom.
The shrubs are very tall and arch over the trails so you can walk under their branches as they create tunnels.
Don’t wait for a sunny day to visit the park. Rainy days are tranquil and you never know when the sun will shine through.
Sunrays lighting the fog along the path.
A perfect Rhododendron Maximum.
I think visiting this park anytime of year would be a treat. I am sure the first snowfall could be very picturesque.
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