smoky mountains with wildflowers
February 7, 2020

One of the wonderful things about the spring months in the Smokies is the annual display of beautiful wildflowers! There are more than 1,500 kinds of flowering plants that grow in the Great Smoky Mountains, which is more than in any other American national park! Spring is the best time to see these flowers since the peak of spring wildflower blooming usually occurs in mid to late April, and springtime has ideal weather for hiking and viewing the flowers up close! Here are 3 fun ways to enjoy the Smoky Mountain wildflowers this spring:

1. Attend the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage

butterfly weed

A highlight of the spring season is the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, a special event hosted by Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This week long festival offers a fascinating variety of programs, guided walks, and hikes that explore the diversity of life in the park. Whether you are a serious botanist or a weekend gardener, you will enjoy the unprecedented access to some of the nation’s leading botanical experts and Appalachian wildlife authorities! This event grows in popularity every year, so be sure to browse through all of the programs and register early to secure your spot!

2. Explore the Greenbrier Area of the Park

While you will find spring wildflowers just about anywhere in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the best sections to explore is the Greenbrier area of the park! This area is not only renowned for its wildflowers, but it is considered off the beaten path with lower crowds than many other sections of the park. The drive to the Ramsey Cascades trailhead provides excellent wildflower viewing from your car, while the Porters Creek Trail makes a good wildflower hike. The first 1.5 miles of the trail are particularly recommended for seeing a variety of wildflowers. Another popular hike in the Greenbrier area for wildflower viewing is the Ramsey Cascades Trail, where a 4-mile trail leads to a stunning waterfall!

3. Bike the Cades Cove Loop Trail

golden aster

If you prefer to explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park by bicycle, hop aboard your bike for a ride along Cades Cove Loop Trail where you will find plenty of lovely spring wildflowers! This 11-mile loop road circles Cades Cove, a broad valley surrounded by mountains where you can often spot a variety of wildlife. The scenic trip on a bicycle is so popular only bike and foot traffic is allowed on the loop road until 10 a.m. on Wednesday and Saturday mornings from early May to late September. Keep in mind the road is otherwise open to motor vehicles from sunrise to sunset daily, so please use caution while riding your bike!

Now since you know some of the fun ways to experience the Smoky Mountain wildflowers this spring, we are sure you are excited about your visit to the national park! If you are not sure where to stay your exploration of the park, check out some of the best places to spot the Smoky Mountain wildflowers!