When and Where to Watch the Wildflowers Bloom in the Great Smoky Mountains
Spring is coming to the Smoky Mountains and so are all the bright and beautiful wildflowers. Wildflowers bloom primarily from late February through the month of September here in Western North Carolina, though the peak season happens mid-March to late April. The spring ephemerals (flowers that bloom for only a short period of time) make their grand appearance during this time of the year.
The good news is that because of the absolute abundance and diversity of the wildflowers in this region, there is almost always some type of wildflower blooming in just about every season of the year for your viewing pleasure. You are going to want to take a walk outside of your Smoky Mountain cabin rental or hike a few trails to see what beauties are blooming near you during your Bryson City, NC vacation.
Here's a little more helpful information on which kind of wildflowers you might see and where to find the best viewing spots. We've also included a free downloadable wildflower bloom calendar in printable form that you can reference while you're here. Happy wildflower spotting! Let us know what you see.
Where to See the Best Spring Wildflowers
- BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY: The Blue Ridge Parkway with its varying elevations and habitats makes for an excellent spring wildflower-spotting excursion. Look for seasonal blooms along the edges of trails, roads and rivers, or in sunny open areas. Resist picking any blooms and keep your feet on designated trails so that the wildflowers can be enjoyed by others, too. Don't forget to bring your camera!
- GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to more than 1500 species of wildflowers, which is more than any other national park! It has acquired the nickname of "Wildflower National Park" for its pleasant parade of flowering plants. Pretty much anywhere you go will offer you a wildflower show.
- DEEP CREEK TRAIL: Located north of Bryson City, this easy trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park leads past two waterfalls in a two-mile out-and-back walk, or hike the whole loop for 4.9 miles and a third waterfall!
- GRAVEYARD FIELDS: A favorite stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 418.8, the loop trail at Graveyard Fields takes hikers past waterfalls, through open meadows and along wooded paths. Visit in May or June for a peek at pinkshell, flame azalea or mountain laurel.
- OCONALUFTEE RIVER TRAIL: This easy 1.5-mile, one way trail begins at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and leads along the river to the outskirts of Cherokee, NC. It’s a favorite for jogging, biking and walking pets (and one of only two Great Smoky Mountains National Park trails that allows both bikes and pets).
- JOYCE KILMER MEMORIAL FOREST: Located within the National Park, you'll find a 2-mile loop trail offers a breathtaking view of this virgin forest cove, which is a great place to spot trillium, crested iris, dutchman’s breeches and violets in spring. Take a break from your flower search to look up into the canopy of the forest’s centuries-old trees.
- OUTSIDE YOUR CABIN RENTAL: Don't forget to explore the spring blooms that surround you at your Smoky Mountain cabin rental. Many of our properties are surrounded by lush mountain landscapes that are begging to be explored. Put on your hiking boots and take a nice long walk from your cabin. You never know what you might find!
NC Wildflower Blooms Calendar
Are you inspired to get out there and do some wildflower spotting? We hope so! You can download and print out this NC Smoky Mountain wildflower bloom calendar for free. It's only a sampling of the blossoming beauty you'll find during the spring and summer months, but it's a helpful resource. You can also check out this US Database of Wildflowers found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which includes photos, common and scientific names, and lots of interesting information.
what's your favorite nc wildflower and why?
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