This is on the backside of the Devil's Den sign. i love this.
There is a huge field where we parked to start the trail. At first it just looked like a hay field, but upon closer observation i realized it was beebalm. Then i began to see Milkweed and echinacea too. The entire field was planted in wildflowers, like a giant butterfly garden. i can not wait to come back this summer when the field is blooming.
Devil's Den nature preserve is a 250 acre tract, with hiking trails and abundant wildlife.
The name Devil's Den refers to a 600-million year old cave formation. This is the entrance to cave known as Devil's Den. You are not allowed to enter it, and although you can't tell from the photo is a very steep rather scary hole that goes into the ground. My family is actually standing on a ledge above the entrance. You can feel the cool dampness of the cave here. You have to be very careful in this area because there are many hidden holes that lead to the caves below. One wrong step and you could easily fall in. The cave also had a role in local history. It is associated with the 1912 Carroll County Courthouse shooting and was a major attraction in the 1920's. They occasionally do tours of the inside of cave, but i didn't find much info about it online.
When we first began our hike, the Dwarf irises were everywhere. We also saw trillium, mayapples, Clintonia (speckled lily), wild azaleas, wood violets and more.
Just as we were almost finished with out hike my daughter pointed out these Lady Slipper Orchids! i was so excited! This was the perfect ending to a perfect Mother's day. i am somewhat obsessed by native wildflowers, and Lady Slippers are somewhat rare. i've searched our property for them, but have never found them and in all the hikes we have done i don't believe i've ever come across them before. So this really made the hike extra wonderful. i snapped a couple of pictures and examined the leaves, so i have a better idea of what to look for on our property. i was told by a neighbor that yellow lady slippers use to come up on our side of the creek, but i have never found them.
i really enjoyed hiking at Devil's den and really look forward to returning this summer to see the butterfly garden. Although the actual trail is less than a mile loop, it's still a wonderful scenic trail and worth checking out. This simple hike and time spent with my family is the best gift they could have given me. The day truly could not have been more perfect.
The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man. ~Author Unknown