wildflower in the Smokies
February 20, 2022

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for its beautiful spring wildflowers and the best way to see these natural wonders is with a hike through the park! While you can spot the wildflowers virtually anywhere throughout the park during the spring months, there are several trails that offer an extra abundance of these spectacular flowering plants! Here are the top 4 wildflower hikes in the Smoky Mountains to experience this spring:

1. Porters Creek Trail

wildflowers along the road

The Porters Creek Trail is a moderate 7 mile out and back trail that is a popular destination in the spring because of its stunning wildflower displays! If you don’t feel like hiking the entire trail, you’ll appreciate that the first 1.5 miles are the best for wildflower viewing! The flowers start to bloom between mid-March to April, when you can see white fringed phacelia, violets and white trillium. During April and May, you might spot Jack-in-the-pulpits, May-apple, woodland bluets and yellow trillium. The Porters Creek trail has more to offer too, including building foundations from an old settlement, footbridges that cross creeks, old forest growth and even a 60 foot waterfall!

2. Schoolhouse Gap Trail

Another one of the top wildflower hikes in the Smoky Mountains is the Schoolhouse Gap Trail! This relatively easy 4.7 mile trail climbs from Laurel Creek Road to Schoolhouse Gap, with a wide variety of vegetation to enjoy along the way! While you might see some wildflowers on the lower portions of the trail in early spring, May is the best time to hike this trail to see the flowers at their peak! During this time, you may spot beaked violets, fairy wand, golden aster, pink lady’s slippers, red clover, star grass and sun drops! You might even get to see rhododendrons and mountain laurel starting to bloom for the summer!

3. Gregory Ridge Trail

Gregory Bald

When it comes to the top wildflower hikes in the Smoky Mountains, the Gregory Ridge Trail is a fantastic option for hikers who prefer a more difficult trail! While hiking along this strenuous 11.6 mile out and back trail, you’ll gain a total elevation of 3,020 feet on your way to Gregory Bald! This mountain peak is well known for its stunning flame azalea, ranging in colors from light pink to bright yellow, as well as for breathtaking views of the Smokies! Once reaching the peak, enjoy a break before heading back down the mountain!

4. Middle Prong Trail

The Middle Prong Trail is an 8.3 mile trail that is moderately difficult, making it the perfect destination for hikers who prefer a bit of a challenge on their wildflower hunt! You will find that the hike is well worth the effort, as you’ll see foam flowers, toothworts, violets, wood sorrel, trilliums and other beautiful wildflowers all within the first couple miles of the trail! The first mile of Middle Prong Trail also features a lovely 30 foot tall waterfall known as Lower Lynn Camp Falls. If you keep walking further along the trail, you’ll eventually reach a 60 foot tall, multi-tiered waterfall known as Indian Flat Falls!

Now that you know about the top wildflower hikes in the Smoky Mountains to experience this spring, check out some of the beautiful wildflowers that you may see on the trails! Don’t miss the opportunity to see these gorgeous flowering plants during the spring months!