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10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

05.09.18

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10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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  • White Oak Sinks in the Smokies is one of the top spots for spring wildflower viewing. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • One of many types of trillium that can be found in the park. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Crested dwarf iris. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Named lady slipper, because it resembles a small slipper, the lady slipper is a very rare and loved wildflower in the park. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • On May 27, 1941, Harvey Broome wrote in his personal journal, "Sunday we encountered specimens of the rarely appearing lady slipper. This orchis is fragilely beautiful." Today, in 2018, the yellow lady slipper is still rare. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Pink ladyslippers are gems in the Smokies that are endangered. If you spot them, feel blessed, take a photo and leave them to be. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • The foamflower can be found in the Smokies from April through June. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Showy orchis is just one of the members of the orchid family that can be found in the Smokies. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Wild ginger bloom.- 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Fiddlehead ferns curled up and waiting to burst into life. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • A wild geranium waiting to bloom.- 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • You'll find blue phlox among the wildflowers throughout June. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • "If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads." Anatole France.- 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • You'll have to look underneath the umbrella-like leaves of the mayapples to see their blooms! - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • White Oak Sinks is one of the most loved and protected areas of the Smokies. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Spring flowers blooming on the forest floor. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Shooting stars. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Butterflies and wildflowers are a perfect mix for an afternoon stroll. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Protected and treasured, the Smokies lady slippers are endangered and should only be admired, never touched or removed. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Spring time in the Smokies is an experience that everyone must have at least once. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Solomons seal.- 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Jack in the pulpit.- 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Water droplets on a Solomons seal leaf. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • While searching for wildflowers, you may even have the opportunity to have lunch with a snail.- 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Look a little closer and you'll find drops of beauty and magic throughout the park. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • The Cove Hardwood Nature Trail is a perfect spot to take the family. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • The purple in the fringed phacelia fades as it ages. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Wander the woods and search for wildflowers for a relaxing morning. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • The fringed phacelias cover the forest floor in many areas of the park throughout May. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Early spring blooms. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Many types of trillium thrive in the Smokies. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • You'll find multiple members of the violet family throughout the park. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • A bloodroot breaking through the winter and helping spring begin it's grand entrance. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Wildflowers can be found in every corner of the Smokies. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • A local hanging out with some "FunGuys." - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Leave No Trace while visiting the Smokies; however, the park does allow visitors to take home small quantities of morel mushrooms. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • The Smokies are made of billions of tiny moments that all work together to create a wonderland of nature. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Fiddlehead ferns are always a sign that spring has finally arrived. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Where there are flowers, there will be butterflies and reminders of how beautiful life is. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Explore the park and you'll find yourself in the midst of the magic that has made the Smokies the most visited national park in the country. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • You'll find 1,500 kinds of flowering plants within the Smokies.- 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • After the darkness winter, the burst of colors throughout the park by all of the wildflowers is a very energizing sight. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Take a moment to say hello to the locals, even the smallest of them. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • While exploring the wildflowers in the park, take time to slow down and admire the many succulents that you'll find within the park as well. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Trout lily thrives in moist hardwood floors throughout May. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Bloodroot blooms are some of the first blooms seen as the Smokies begin to welcome springs return. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • If you look closely at the Bishop's Cap blooms, they resemble snowflakes. Delicate and dainty but beautiful. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • The Dutchman's britches is a common wildflower and can be found throughout April and May. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • A rare summer flower, the grass of Parnassus is a mid-high elevation flower that is simple but beautiful. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • The columbine bloom is quickly recognizable by its vibrant red and yellow color. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • The bursting heart splits open once summer passes. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • The Jack in the pulpit bloom turns to a maroon color once it has been pollinated by flies. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Painted trillium.- 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Following a small stream, you'll find tranquility and wildflowers all along the Schoolhouse Gap Trail.- 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Porters Creek Trail.- 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Fern Branch Falls is a 40-foot waterfall located on the Porters Creek Trail.- 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Explore the Little River Trail with the family. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the salamander capital of the world. Take time to meet the locals! - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Wildflowers line the Middle Prong Trail in the spring and summer. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Wide open views from the Gregory Bald summit. During the month of June the bald will be filed with flame azaleas. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Wildflower identification time along the Big Creek Trail. - 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Mouse Creek Falls.- 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Keep an eye out while exploring the Oconaluftee River Trail for some of the most famous locals.- 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • The Oconaluftee River Trail is one of only two trails in the Smokies that allow dogs on the trail. Dogs are not allowed in the farm area, but they are allowed on the river trail.- 10 Incredible Wildflower Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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For 68 years wildflower lovers from multiple states and even several countries have traveled to the Smokies for the annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage and to celebrate the return of spring the mountains. Each year, Great Smoky Mountains National Park's 520,000 acres come to life with all different types of fungi, ferns, wildflowers, trees, medicinal plants and more. Life returns after the winter, and the park becomes a wonderland of nature and beauty. Approximately 1,500 types of flowering plants can be found in the park, making every trail seem magical and alive.

Below, you'll find 10 wildflower hikes of the Great Smoky Mountains to get you started. The keyword here is "started," because if you experience one spring in the Smoky Mountains, it's certain that you will hope to return time after time. 

  1. White Oak Sinks: White Oak Sinks is an area located off of the Schoolhouse Gap Trail, an area that is one of the most treasured and protected areas of the park. Educate yourself about why it is such a gem before visiting, then respect this unique wildflower wonderland. It is a rare and beautiful treasure that we must protect for future generations.
  2. Porters Creek Trail: A fantastic year-round trail, Porters Creek also includes a waterfall and backcountry campsite. However, in early spring the forest floor of Porters Creek becomes carpeted with fringed phacelias and multiple other Smoky Mountain wildflowers. 
  3. Little River Trail: The Little River Trail is located in the historical district of Elkmont. It's an excellent hike for those just starting to explore the park, for families, or for anyone looking for a relaxing stroll by the river. Elkmont and the Little River Trail are also home to the world-famous synchronized fireflies that appear every June. 
  4. Middle Prong Trail: History, waterfalls, tucked away treasures, cascades, a 100-year-old Cadillac, and wildflowers galore. You'll find it all on the Middle Prong Trail, and if you explore for a bit, you'll find even more slivers of days gone by in the Smokies. 
  5. Oconaluftee River Trail: One of only two trails in the park that allows dogs, you'll find the Oconaluftee River Trail on the Cherokee side of the Smokies. A simple trail that offers wildflower exploring, elk viewing, river time and an opportunity to take a step back in time. 
  6. Gregory Bald: This bucket-list adventure in the Smokies includes experiencing the views from Gregory Bald and the breathtakingly beautiful flame azaleas that cover the bald in June. 
  7. Cove Hardwood Nature Trail: A .9-mile loop located in the Chimneys Picnic area that puts on an impressive display of wildflowers. Don't let the short hike keep you from checking this one out because you'll see more wildflowers in under 1 mile here than you will see on some trails 10 times its length.
  8. Kanati Fork Trail: At an elevation of 4,328 feet, you'll find wildflowers from early spring to fall on the Kanati Fork Trail. 
  9. Chestnut Top Trail: Starting in early spring, you can get the first glimpses of wildflowers in the park on the Chestnut Top Trail. Park at the Townsend Wye and work your way up the first mile of the trail to get lost in the wildflowers. Alternately, combine this trail with an adventure to White Oak Sinks during the spring, when the park allows hikers into the sinks. 
  10. Rich Mountain Loop Trail: If you're visiting the Smoky Mountains and make a trip into Cades Cove - take time to do the Rich Mountain Loop Hike. You'll get an opportunity to escape the crowds, view wildflowers, see Cades Cove from a different perspective, and get a much needed stretch of the legs before making the drive back home. 
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