As blooming flowers burst forth and fill the Smoky Mountains with the sweet aroma of spring, it’s time for the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage again! After welcoming over 800 pilgrims to the programs from over 32 states and countries in 2018, the 69th annual event is set to take place April 24-27 2019, and if you like to hike, journal, shoot photos, study environmental science, love a little historical exploration…okay, there are a TON of reasons to join the pilgrimage!
It’s a fantastic field trip for teachers looking for their students’ next field trip adventures, an educational and unique vacation with your little ones, or the perfect surprise to your special someone as the coolest romantic getaway yet. The 2019 Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage is an amazing program packed with information, inspiration, and most importantly, hours of fun in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park coinciding with Springfest happening in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. So, where to begin?
Where to Stay
After a day of exploring and hiking, skip the bland hotels and keep on enjoying nature from the soothing seats in the outdoor hot tub. With cozy cabins ranging from budget-friendly to luxurious large group lodges, you are sure to find the perfect accommodations for your group and finances! There are plenty of ways to cut costs to make it out for this special event: splitting cost of the rental, carpooling together, and, something not included in cookie-cutter hotel rooms, you can use your cabin’s fully loaded kitchen to prepare meals!
Get together with your favorite group of friends from church or tennis team and book one of our impressive lodges with an indoor pool, theater room, or fully loaded rec room. Share a passion for photography with your better half as you upload your photos from the SWFP program while connected to your cabin’s wireless internet. With a wide range of amenities and views, stay connected to the mountains with a stay in a Pigeon Forge, TN Cabin .
How to Register For the Programs
You will want to do this ahead of time, because while there are a handful of classes sharing similar subjects like photography, conservation, birding, or wildlife, each program is unique and hosted during a very specific time. The majority of the programs also have limits on attendees to provide adventurers with quality experiences and plenty of time with their guides. Use the handy program planner found in the official brochure to jot down classes that interest you most and backup classes for those time slots. Once you have paid your registration fee and the online registration begins, go online and register for your Pilgrimage programs!
Adults-$50 for a 1-day pass
$75 for a 2+ day pass
Students-$15 for a 1+ day pass
Children under 15 are FREE! Just be sure they are always accompanied to registered events by a registered adult.
Registration Dates and Details
- Look for the official 2019 Program of Events on the SWFP official website around mid-February
- Late February/Early March: Pilgrim Registration is open online!
- Tuesday, April 23 | 5 PM – 9 PM: Those who registered online can pick up their packets containing their nametags, personal itinerary, and printed program (Not planning to be there on Tuesday? No problem; swing by during the registration hours listed below)
- Tuesday, April 23-27, 2018: On-site Registration at the Mills Conference Center
Tuesday: 5 PM-9PM
Wednesday-Thursday: 7 AM-7:30 PM
Friday-Saturday: 7 AM-1 PM
- Wednesday, April 24: Pilgrimage Programs begin!
What to Expect
This long-running event includes professional instructors and guides from the National Park Service, University of Tennessee, Southern Appalachian Botanical Society, Arrowmont School of Arts, and Association of Southeastern Biologists. Study the native hardwood tress, learn how to take the best pictures of blooming wildflowers and edit, listen to the oral history of Smokies’ indigenous people, go on an awesome hunt for illusive owls, and so much more! There are over 150 programs taking place throughout the majestic Smoky Mountains you can choose from.
You will be fully informed of each program’s meeting time, meeting place, program length, type of physical activity, necessary gear, and even what to wear. The Wildflower Pilgrimage has a lot of years under its belt, so you are treated to a very organized program that takes place throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And, because this is the great outdoors, a little rain doesn’t affect classes!
Some basics you will want to have as you are packing for your pilgrimage:
- Hiking/walking shoes
- Water bottles or Camelbacks
- Poncho or rain jacket
- And your sense of adventure!
As you patiently await to register for the SWFP, get a jump on your April adventures and begin perusing our cabin listings with mountain views, lodges with indoor pools, budget chalets, and cozy family log abodes. After days of exploring the mountains, tracking the native wildlife, and soaking in all the tips and tricks from everyday adventurers, come home to your dream Pigeon Forge Cabin to make this the most fun spring vacation ever!
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