Springtime in the Smokies is a favorite tourist season for a number of reasons, but especially for the beautiful spring flowers! With more than 1,500 varieties, you won’t find this many species of wildflowers and flowering shrubs anywhere else in America. It’s no wonder that the area is home to the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, which features guided hikes, classes and seminars, and more – all focused on the flora and fauna found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and surrounding areas.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to such a variety of wildflowers because of its wet and humid climate as well as the range of elevations found throughout the park. The best time to view these flowers is from mid-April to mid-May, when they are in full bloom, but you’ll see beautiful flowers all throughout the spring and summer. Here are a few hikes we recommend to give you great views of these wildflowers when you visit.
- Andrews Bald – This 3.5-mile roundtrip hike features Catawba rhododendron and flame azalea in June. As you stand atop Andrews Bald, look out over the rolling blue hills of the Smoky Mountains.
- Chestnut Top – Mid-spring, you’ll find white trillium, bloodroot, bishop’s cap, star chickweed, and wild stonecrop on this 8.6-mile hike. Later in the spring, you’ll see rattlesnake hawkweed and squawroot. The hike is strenuous, but if you’re up for the challenge, you’ll enjoy a wide variety of wildflowers and lush wooded surroundings.
- Deep Creek – Within 4.6 miles of walking, you’ll come to Deep Creek and 3 beautiful waterfalls – Toms Branch Falls, Indian Creek Falls, and Juney Whank Falls. The wildflowers you’ll see in this area include a variety of trilliums, foamflower, crested dwarf iris, Solomon’s seal, bloodroot, and blue-eyed grass.
- Kanati Fork – In late April, expect to see cut-leaved toothwort, dwarf cinquefoil, white baneberry, Canadian violets, painted trillium, and Northern white violets on this 4-mile roundtrip trail located between Newfound Gap and Cherokee. You’lll also pass over several mountain streams while traveling beneath poplars and hemlocks, giving you some great variety along your hike.
- Rich Mountain Loop – You’ll likely find the most variety of wildflowers on this 8.5-mile hike, with mountain laurel, flame azalea, purple phacelia, rattlesnake hawkweed, yellow ragwort, violets, sweet shrub, wild geranium, four-leaf milkweed, and butterfly weed.
These are only a small number of the hikes you can enjoy in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with breathtaking views, blooming wildflowers, wildlife, and rushing waterfalls along the way. Whether you’re outside for exercise, for fun, or a little bit of both, you’ll enjoy nice days during these great spring hikes in the Smokies.
No matter what hike you decide to take, please follow these quick safety tips so you and your party can take home only pleasant memories from your trailblazing this spring.
- Never hike alone, and stay with your group at all times.
- IF you do hike on your own (if you’re familiar with the area), be sure to tell someone where you’re going and when they can expect you back.
- Carry a map of the park; taking pictures of maps at trailheads is helpful, too!
- Always stay on marked trails for your safety and the preservation of the land.
- Carry a flashlight and a first-aid kit.
- Take plenty of water (at least 64 ounces per person is recommended).
- Check the weather before you head out and plan your time accordingly.
- Take layers in case the weather changes—especially for higher elevations.
- Follow bear safety at all times.
- Start early so you can finish before dark.
- Take non-perishable, high-energy snacks.
- Do not feed or approach wildlife.
For more information on hiking in the Smokies, visit our page with the 10 Dos and Don’ts for Hiking and 8 Hiking Tips for Your Family Vacation. We hope you stay safe, enjoy the beautiful weather and gorgeous variety of wildflowers, and have fun experiencing the great outdoors in the Smoky Mountains this spring!
Smoky Mountain Cabins
Also be sure to check out our wide variety of Gatlinburg cabins and Pigeon Forge cabins, which will give you a cool, comfortable place to relax after spring hikes in the Smokies. With amenities like big screen TVs, hot tubs, king-size beds, movie rooms, and game tables, you’ll have a great place to hang out and relax after a long day. Along with some great family cabins, we have pet-friendly cabins, budget-friendly cabins, luxury cabins for when you want to splurge, and even large group cabins when you’re planning a reunion or retreat!