In the early spring morning, the faint smell of water and soothing river songs float through the lush forestry as hundreds of guests to the Smoky Mountains explore, learn, and listen to numerous wildlife and botanical experts while surrounded by the pristine, untouched nature of the area. This year, the 68th Annual Wildflower Pilgrimage welcomes all travelers to the Smokies, from outdoor enthusiasts to the environmentally curious, to share in one of the most magical times of the year! For five days, participating pilgrims to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are granted a truly special opportunity to learn and explore during the area’s peak flowering season.
A few important things to remember:
- Dates: April 24, 2018 – April 28, 2018
- Pilgrimage Headquarters is Mills Conference Center in Gatlinburg
- Pick up pre-registration packets
- Register on site
- Attend indoor programs
- Meet up for can departures
- Check the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage homepage for a schedule of events and an easy-to-use brochure before booking your cabin!
- All tours and instructional classes are included in the registration fees!
- Adults are permitted with $50 for a single day or $75 for 2+ days
- Students can participate for the low price of $15 with a verifiable student ID at registration
- Children 12 and under are free with a registered adult
The Wildflower Pilgrimage brings together people who share the same interests and wander lusts. Join up for group hikes guided by area and wildlife experts! A few of the trails include area favorites like Abrams Falls in Cades Cove, the infamous Appalachian Trail, and the beautiful Gabes Mountain intertwined with numerous streams and wildflower overgrowth.
The Wildflower Pilgrimage is much more than wandering in awe of nature through the Smoky Mountains, there are tours and instructional sessions for a wide array of interests! Partake in all your favorite hobbies and try new activities since they are all included in your single registration fee. Below is an overview of past scheduled events, and with every year the Wildflower Pilgrimage gets even bigger!
Grab your binoculars and camera and hit the trails in search of Warblers, Scarlet Tanger, and American Goldfinch on numerous hikes ranging in length and difficulty. In the evening hours, spot native owls in the darkness along guided “Owl Prowls.” Numerous bird-watching events guided by bird experts, photographers, and enthusiasts keep you busy during morning, afternoon, and evening sessions!
Art in Nature
From nature journaling to instructional, hands-on courses in photography, the Wildflower Pilgrimage celebrates the variety of arts celebrating nature! Past years have hosted regional writers and storytellers who, through sharing their unique narratives of the Smoky Mountains, provide intricately beautiful examples of regional and environmental writing. Try your hand at sketching nature for a one-of-a-kind souvenir from your pilgrimage to the Smokies!
Track, talk, and catch glimpses of Smoky Mountain wildlife from expert representatives of the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency and other leaders in environmental conservation and educational agencies. Interesting and inspiring information on human impacts, tracking signs, and the intricate, dynamic relationships between native and non-native species and the environment are just a few of the awesome topics covered along your first-hand learning experience through the forests. Critters big and small have been covered, like salamanders, insects, black bears, and wild hogs!
With thousands of wildflowers blooming through the valleys and up towering mountainsides shining in the spring sunlight like a kaleidoscope of petals moving in the light breeze, you are sure to be inspired to bring some of this back to your own little corner of the world! Learn how to nurture the nature that is already around your home and what plants flourish when presented into different environments.
History in the Fields of Flowers
Natives of the Smoky Mountain area praised the land and rivers as sources of life and inspiration. Get closer to nature and be inspired by historic peoples along serene hikes narrated by stories of the past. Snap pictures of historic structures along hikes in Cades Cove, where the oldest remnants of European settlers quietly rest.
Where to Stay
Over 100 events are spread across the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the bordering areas, but there is a way to stay close to all the beautiful excitement: a Pigeon Forge cabin tucked away into the woods! Or, you can balance your fun outdoors with awesome Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg attractions and book a cabin near these Smoky Mountain cities. After long days of hiking through the woods to breathtaking mountain peaks, return to fully loaded kitchens and homey cabin beds.