Hiking and Wildflowers in the Smokies

Within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there are more than 800 miles of trails. From easy strolls to difficult climbs, there is a hike for every age and skill level. And with mild weather year round, the park offers beautiful and unique views in every season. Winter offers unobstructed views, fall provides vivid colors in the changing leaves, and summer is warm and green. Now that spring is in full bloom, visitors can enjoy beautiful wildflowers, sunny days, cool nights and calming mountain streams.

Right now, a large variety of wildflowers is blooming in and around the park. In fact, wildflowers are such a big deal in Gatlinburg, there is an entire event dedicated to exploring the park for irises, lilies, ferns and more. The 63rd Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage will feature tons of great events April 23rd through April 27th. Go on a guided hike, learn more about the natural history of the area, discover new and beautiful foliage, or pick up a great local painting.

While you’re hiking, biking or horseback riding in the Smokies, you can’t miss the amazing foliage and flowers. But if you’re up for an adventure, pick up a wildflower guide at a park visitor center and see how many you can find! Here are some of the things blooming right now:

  • ·Mountain laurel
  • ·Rhododendron
  • ·Flame azaleas
  • ·A variety of ferns and mosses
  • ·Juniper
  • ·Ten species of trillium
  • ·Crested dwarf iris
  • ·Bleeding Heart
  • ·Jack-in-the-pulpit
  • ·Lady slipper orchids
  • ·Columbine
  • ·Violets

Whether you want to follow someone’s lead or forge your own way, there are many fun and scenic hikes in the Smokies. Hiking is the perfect way to check out the flowers that are in bloom, so here are a few of the best:

  • ·Laurel Falls – Elkmont
  • ·Spruce-Fir Trail – Newfound Gap/Clingmans Dome
  • ·Grotto Falls – Gatlinburg/Mt. Leconte
  • ·Abrams Falls – Cades Cove/Townsend
  • ·Alum Cove – Gatlinburg/Mt. Leconte
  • ·Chimney Tops – Gatlinburg/Mt. Leconte
  • ·Smokemont Loop – Cherokee/Deep Creek

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