Great Smoky Mountains National Park Wildflowers: When and Where to See Them

The Great Smoky Mountains are known for their dense green forests and abundant foliage that is fed from the moisture-rich air in the area. Along with all of the trees, there are a huge amount of wildflowers that bloom each spring throughout the park. It is actually one of the top places in the U.S. to view wildflowers in the spring, so much so that it is often referred to as the “Wildflower National Park.”

When to see wildflowers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The best time to see wildflowers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is really February through September, although peak season is early spring through early summer when the famous spring ephemerals make their appearance. Although the ephemerals are a sight to see, “there are more species of flowering plants in Great Smoky Mountains National Park—north of 1,500—than any other U.S. national park” so there really is not a bad time for wildflower viewing in the Smoky Mountains.

Where to see wildflowers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The best way to see wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains is by enjoying one of the many hiking trails throughout the park. Many of these trails wind throughout the dense forest foliage offering an up-close and personal viewing of the beautiful blooms that are native to the area. Check out some of our favorite trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for viewing wildflowers  or ask our Guest Experience Coordinator at camp for additional in-season suggestions.

Rich Mountain Loop (Moderate 8.5 mile loop):

There are so many reasons this loop is one of our favorites. Not only does it have probably the highest diversity of wildflowers but it also takes you through one of the park’s most popular areas (Cades Cove) while missing the heavy tourist traffic. The first mile and a half of the trail is where you will see the most wildflowers and the hiking is easy. From there, the climb gets a bit steeper but offers beautiful views and historic landmarks like the John Oliver cabin dating back to the 1820’s.

Porter Creek Trail (Moderate 4 mile out-and-back):

This hike is the perfect way to escape and enjoy lush vistas, historic sites and wildflowers galore. This moderate hike allows you to skip the crowds and is one of the closest to our camp. During the hike you will meander in a wooded area along a creek which passes by a historic cemetery dating back to the early 1900’s. This trail is a hidden gem and easily one of our favorite trails for wildflower hiking near our camp.

Deep Creek Loop (Easy 4.9 mile loop):

Deep Creek Trail not only meanders through the dense foliage of The Great Smoky Mountains but also takes you past waterfalls and streams that feed the wildflowers throughout. Beardtounge, Bluets and Blue-Eyed Grass are just some of the popular wildflowers you will see along the way. This trail is perfect for all skill levels and offers an abundance of wildflower blooms.

Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage

The area is so abundant with wildflowers and such a popular area of the United States for wildflower viewing that each year there is a wildflower pilgrimage event in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This 70-year old event features professionally guided wildflower walks, exhibits, and educational opportunities showcasing the rich natural and cultural resources in the area. While this event typically happens in mid-to-late April each year during the ephemeral bloom, this year they are hosting a virtual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage due to the park closure. This event, happening May 11-17, 2020, gets people outside to explore wildflowers in their own backyard and neighborhoods. Enjoy the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage event virtually this year and then visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park this summer or fall to enjoy the wildflowers that bloom throughout the season.

The Great Smoky Mountains are one of the best places to see wildflowers in the U.S. and with so many hiking options, there are tons of ways to get up close to the beautiful blooms. While spring is the most popular time to see wildflowers throughout the park, the humid climate creates beautiful flowers throughout the summer and fall as well. After a long day hiking and seeing sweeping views of wildflowers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, retreat back to your safari-inspired tent at Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains. Enjoy king sized beds with plush linens, hot water showers, flushing toilets, community fire pits and delectable cuisine just 20 minutes from Gatlinburg, TN. We welcome you with open arms and are here to recommend perfect ways to explore wildflowers and hiking in the park.

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