Winter becomes a wonderland in the Smokies, with frozen fountains in downtown Gatlinburg, gently falling snow over the mountains, and crisp air with the sounds and smells of the holidays. But as winter begins melting away and the first signs of spring emerge, one begins to think of the many wildflowers that will start blooming in the Smokies. Wildflowers are so important to the Great Smoky Mountains, in fact, that there is an entire event devoted to the blooms of the Smokies.
The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage is hosted in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is a wonderful opportunity for locals and visitors alike to learn more about the flora and fauna of the area. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is not just the most-visited national park – it’s also home to a massive variety of wildflowers that are the stars of this annual event.
You can check out these flowers on any of your own hikes or scenic walks in the Smokies, or you can take advantage of the classes, workshops, seminars, art classes, guided hikes, and more during the 2023 Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage! Enjoy the flora and fauna of the area or learn more about the natural history of the area. And after you’ve spent the day checking out the wildflowers blooming in the park, head back to your cozy cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for a relaxing evening filled with hot tub soaks, mountain views, movies, and more.
Wildflowers of the Smoky Mountains
What will you find when you go wildflower hunting in the Smoky Mountains? Some varieties you’ll come across include:
- Crested dwarf irises
- Bleeding hearts
- Wild ginger
- Spring beauties
- Solomon’s seals
- Painted, white, Catesby’s, Vasey’s, and yellow trilliums
- Bishop’s caps
- Flame azaleas
- Trout lilies
- Thyme-leaved bluets
- Robin’s plantains
- Wild strawberries
- Halberd-leaved violets
- Fire pinks
- Wild geraniums
- Sharp-lobed hepaticas
- Squirrel corns
- Dutchman’s britches
- White fringed and purple phacelias
- Blue phloxes
Keeping Wildflowers Safe
Please remember to take care of the wildflowers for future visitors and generations to come! Never pick wildflowers, always stay on marked/designated trails, and let a park ranger know if you see anyone causing damage.
73rd Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in 2023
April 26 – 29, 2023
While you can find many along your own hikes in the mountains, a great way to learn more is during the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage. There are classes, workshops, guided hikes along hiking trails, evening programs, opportunities to learn more about the area’s history, and much more. Some recent years’ topics have included:
- Shrubs and Trees
- Medicinal plants
- Black Bears
- History of the Smoky Mountains
- Journaling, and more!
Favorite Spring Trails
Even if you don’t go to the pilgrimage, there are some great trails you can check out in the park to enjoy the area’s ecology and ecosystems. Some of the top trails for wildflower viewing include Middle Prong Trail, Little River Trail, Porters Creek Trail, The Appalachian Trail, Deep Creek Trail, Cove Hardwood Trail, Oconaluftee Trail, and Schoolhouse Gap Trail.
Wake up early in your beautiful cabin, pour yourself a cup of coffee, lace up your hiking shoes, and hit the trails on the hunt for beautiful wildflowers. Stop by the Sugarlands Visitor Center to pick up a floral guide so you’ll know what to look for! A scenic drive through Cades Cove is another wonderful way to experience wildflowers in the Smokies!
The 2023 Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage will be held April 26 – 29, 2023 – at the (hopefully) peak of the wildflower blooming period. Now is the perfect time to start planning your trip so you can snag the cabin that fits your needs. If you’re coming as a couple, we have romantic 1-2 bedroom cabins where you can cozy up and recount what you learned during the day. We also have tons of cabins for families, along with large group lodges for school, church, or work groups!
When you’ve come home after a long day, you can sit back in a rocking chair with a good book, relax your muscles in a hot tub, have a movie night in a theater room, shoot pool and play games in a rec room, gather around a firepit for s’mores and stories, or just make a meal in your full kitchen and unwind in the living room together. It’s the perfect time to come for nature lovers!