Let’s Enjoy the Annual Blooming Trillium and other Spring Wildflowers at G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area! A 6.5 Mile Social Hike with Post Hike Meal!
The Thompson Wildlife Management Area is only 60 miles outside the beltway, and if you like wildflowers and social hikes, there's nothing like it anywhere closer to Washington. So get your rear in gear and join us for this rare annual treat (Trillium only blooms a few days a year, and this is the largest area of Trillium in the nation). If you have never experienced the “blankets” of Trillium, then this is simply a not to miss experience! Everyone should experience it at least once and this particular customized hike on lesser used trails should keep us away from the crowds who travel by the busload to this area to see the Trillium.
Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries oversees 29 wildlife management areas around the state with the hunter and fisherman in mind. Fields are kept clear to attract grazing animals, and seed plots are used to keep them plump and healthy. Streams and human-made lakes are stocked with trout and other fish. As the state makes these areas hiker-friendly as well, they’d do well to model the G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area in Fauquier County. Here, hikers and wildflower lovers stake as much a claim to the beautiful surroundings as do outdoorsmen. There is an abundance of wildflowers—the area is believed to harbor the largest population of large-flowered trillium in North America. Virginia’s Native Plant Society lists the Thompson WMA on its register of important native plant sites. This area is located in the Blue Ridge, but the hills are more rolling than anything, and there are few steep grades.
By far the most popular springtime activity on the Thompson Wildlife Management Area is viewing wildflowers where, at the higher elevations, a remarkable display of large-flowered trillium occurs. Seven miles of the Appalachian Trail and the network of other trails and interior roads invite hiking. Semi-Open, shrubby areas and open parking areas on the mountain crest provide bird watchers with the opportunity to watch the concentration of hawks that migrate through the area each fall. Adjoining Sky Meadows State Park offers additional mountain scenery, hiking and wildlife viewing
Hike Route Note:
Mid-Atlantic Hiking Groups hike plan differs from the popular "classic wildflower hike" commonly advertised for viewing the trillium in this particular area. However, while our route is different, it does NOT mean that we will see fewer flowers. In fact, we often see violets, Solomon's seal, false Solomon's seal, and showy orchids on display in addition to yellow lady slippers and more... Our route does encompass portions of the "classic hike," but also includes areas of interest that are NOT visited by the countless busloads of flower peepers unintentionally overcrowding the "traditional" route -- leading to "clogged up trails" and trampled flowers. Our hope is that by offering an alternate route that in some small way we are helping to preserve the flowers for others to enjoy too.
Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Linden
Wildflowers: (Incomplete List) Largest area of Trillium in the nation (only blooms a few days) Violets; Solomon’s seal, false Solomon’s seal, and showy orchids are all on display in addition to yellow lady slippers and more.
Length: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 1060 feet
Exposure: Mostly Shaded
Trail Surface: Mostly dirt; some grass; rocky and, rooty. There are four stream crossings, and some could be challenging if there have been recent rains.
Terrain: Dirt roads and woods paths wind through young second-and-third-generation forests dominated by deciduous trees and miles on the AT.
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: Moderate
Local Maps: USGS Linden, Upperville
Topo Map: PATC Map # 8
Park Entry Fee
There is no park entrance fee.
Click Here for suggestions regarding what to wear and what not to wear for hiking the trails.
We hike rain or shine. Click Here to view the forecast for the area where we will be hiking.
The goal for this hike is to soak up the sights and enjoy the blooming trillium and other flowers. This hike will NOT be rushed; however, it will not be a stroll. We welcome you to please sign up for another hike if you know that this is not a comfortable pace for you. We strive to offer a variety of hikes and pace options so we can always have something for everyone no matter their interest and ability.
Our RSVP and Group Etiquette
Click Here to review our RSVP policies and group etiquette.
Carpool Suggestions and Information
Note that you are responsible for knowing how to get from carpool locations to the venue. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is not responsible for transportation to and from events or carpools. Suggested carpool times and places are provided as a courtesy because many members are either new to the area or unfamiliar with a particular hike or venues location. Please use the 'Comments' section below, or reach out via e-mail to make arrangements for carpooling needs and offerings.
Baltimore Area Carpool Suggestion - Savage Station
To carpool or caravan from the Baltimore area, people can arrange to meet at Savage Station. Click Here for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Savage Station location.
(Metro) VA East Area Carpool Suggestion - Vienna/Fairfax Area METRO Station
To carpool or caravan from Vienna/Fairfax area, people can arrange to meet at the Fairfax Area METRO Station. Click Here for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Vienna/Fairfax Metro Station location.
DC Area Carpool Suggestion - Centreville
To carpool or caravan from the metro DC area, people can arrange to meet at the Centreville Park and Ride. Click Here for directions and additional information regarding carpooling from the suggested Centreville Park and Ride location.
If you can drive or want to carpool from additional locations, please post your location and needs in the comment section below. Click Here for a list of suggested carpool locations complete with directions and other details including other carpool information. For those who need a ride, reach out to the drivers. Make friends, and support the environment — by just offering a ride!
Optional Post Hike Meal and Camaraderie
We will have an optional post hike meal to be decided by group consensus, preferably decided before the hike so we can head straight there instead of spending time trying to decide when we are all tired and hungry…
Directions to the Trailhead
Click Here for Directions to Where We Meet for This Hike
The hike is at 10:00 a.m.
Carpool time from Vienna-Fairfax Metro Station is 8:30 a.m.
Carpool meetup time from Savage Station is 8:00 a.m.
Carpool meetup time at Centerville Park and Ride is 8:45 a.m.
Please remember we are a volunteer supported organization that values fellowship and camaraderie while practicing good hike etiquette and Leave No Trace principles. Our hikes are led by generous, dedicated, and qualified MAHG members who volunteer as leaders for Mid-Atlantic Hiking Groups volunteer leadership team. Hikes also have a volunteer “sweeper” to help ensure that no hiker is left behind. MAHG volunteers and members are very supportive, encouraging, with a focus on safety while enjoying the excellent camaraderie and benefiting from the many health benefits of hiking and unplugging from the stress of day-to-day life. Sharing what we know and learning from each other is an important part of MAHGs core values, as is our dedication to the conservation of our natural resources and our commitment to the organization's mission. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is a volunteer supported tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, and donations ARE tax deductible. TaxID: [masked].
A Well-Mannered, Leashed Fido is Welcome on this Hike!
Let’s have good times out on the trails and see you there!
• Click Here to Learn more about Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group’s Mission.
• 100% of Every Dollar Goes Directly to the Expenses of Serving our Mission.
Refunds offered if:
Additional notes: This seasonal special event is non-refundable & non-transferable, period. Visit midatlantichikinggroup.org for MAHG info or the 'Pages' tab. MAHG is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization. Donations (not fees) Are Tax Deductible: Tax ID: 47-5141831
Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.