Popular York County sunflowers attract tourists, photographers

Thousands of golden sunflowers have tourists and photographers flocking to York County once again this time of year.

Sunflowers at the Draper Wildlife Management Area near Historic Brattonsville are in full bloom and visitors are hiking out to the fields in droves to catch a peak before the bloom ends.

“In about another week, we’ll start seeing leaves drop off,” said Andrew Hook, a wildlife biologist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, which manages Draper.

The fields have become a popular destination in recent years. Out-of-state visitors have traveled hours to see the flowers, Hook said.

“Now that the word is out, they get quite a bit of traffic,” he said.

Sameera Nalam of Raleigh, N.C., and several of her relatives made a trip to western York County on Saturday. Nalam’s mother, Sudha Chacham of India, is a botonist and said she wanted to see the fields her daughters have raved about.

“We actually come out here to take photos,” said Nalam, who was wearing a teal dress, ornate necklace and a pair of sneakers for trekking through the dirt. “I like posing, photography and this seems to be a nice area ... and usually you don’t find too many flowers at one place.”

The Draper Wildlife Management Area consists of more than 800 acres and is about 10 miles south of the city of York.

The sunflowers are planted in mid-to-late April to attract mourning doves for the fall hunting season, Hook said.

The flowers grow to about 3- to 6-feet tall, depending on seed variety, rainfall, soil and other factors, Hook said. This year’s flowers are about 4 feet tall, he said.

The fields, located at 1080 Brattonsville Road, are open to the public and admission is free. Expect a 5- to 10- minute walk from the gate.

Tracy Kimball: 803-329-4072