Marilyn Quigley Gerhold Wildflower Trail and Hartley Wood

This remnant old-growth forest is one of the few local woodlands to have escaped logging for the iron industry during the 1800s. Most of the mature trees are more than 150 years old, and a few of the oaks in the forest are older than 300. Explore this unique environment with a walk along the rustic Marilyn Quigley Gerhold Wildflower Trail, which boasts an abundance of native wildflowers during the spring.

Wildflower Trail Map

Marilyn Quigley Gerhold Wildflower Trail and Hartley Wood Map (PDF) — displays the locations and lengths of Hartley Wood wildflower walking trails.

Wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) - Photo by Michael Hassler

Photo by Michael Hassler

Wild columbine is commonly found on rocky sills or woodland edges, and displays nodding, bell-like flowers in April or May. Like many of our spring-blooming wildflowers, it belongs to the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae). In the Arboretum’s Hartley Wood, wild columbine may be found growing on the rock outcrops along the Limestone Trail.

Rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides)

Rue anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides )

Another member of the buttercup family, rue anemone was once found throughout the eastern United States but has become increasingly rare. Plants usually appear individually, and produce dainty white flowers with between five and ten petal-like sepals, held above three-lobed leaves. A true spring ephemeral, rue anemone goes completely dormant in summer.

Spotted geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Spotted Geranium (Geranium maculatum) - Photo by Michael Hassler

Photo by Michael Hassler

Spotted geranium can be found blooming in many Pennsylvania forests during May. Its five-petaled flowers range in color from lavender to pink. In the fall, the hand-shaped or “palmate” leaves often turn red or orange before going dormant for winter. Look for it along the edges of the Gerhold Wildflower Trail.

Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) - Photo by Michael Hassler

Photo by Michael Hassler

Witch hazel is most noticeable in mid to late autumn, when it comes into bloom. This large shrub produces fragrant bright yellow flowers, whose ribbon-like petals uncurl as the blossoms mature. Few other native Pennsylvania shrubs bloom in the fall, making witch hazel unique. Look for this plant near the entrances to the Gerhold Wildflower Trail.

Prairie Restoration Site

Prairies were a rare but distinctive part of the central Pennsylvania landscape before the arrival of European-style agriculture. We are using native plants and periodic fire to re-create a 12-acre prairie habitat in the Arboretum. Walk the prairie trail in summer or fall to enjoy a palette of golden grasses and late-season wildflowers.

Bellefonte Central Rail Trail

This biking and walking trail follows the old bed of the Bellefonte Central Railroad, which used to connect the towns of Bellefonte and State College. The 1.3-mile trail traverses the Big Hollow portion of the Arboretum and connects to nearby parks and residential neighborhoods.