5 Best Wildflower Hikes in the Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for stunning vistas, but it’s also filled with smaller slivers of beauty that are tucked away in every corner of it’s 520,000 acres. The first of March brings new life to the mountains every year and in the weeks before the calendar turns to the first day of the spring and lasting until the days when shades of autumn begin to take over the canopy of the forest, wildflowers can be found throughout the park. The abundance of blooms and the incredible variety of wildflowers on display bring folks back to the Smokies year after year in search of their favorite petaled gems.
To get you started on your own wildflower adventure, we’ve put together information on 5 of the best wildflower hikes in the Smoky Mountains. Take a minute to read over them and then work on planning your next vacation to the Smokies!
Hardwood Cove Nature Trail
The Hardwood Cove Nature Trail is tucked away in the Chimneys Picnic area and is a honey hole of spring wildflowers. The hike is a loop hike that is less than a mile long and is excellent for first time guests, families and is also perfect wildflower enthusiasts or anyone wanting to take a nice stroll through the beauty of the Smokies.
Chestnut Top Trail
One of the first places to see spring wildflowers is on the Chestnut Top Trail. The trail is located next to the Townsend Wye and during the months of March and April the first mile of the trail is covered in an impressive display of wildflowers. It’s the perfect pit stop on your way to the Tremont area of the park or Cades Cove.
Porters Creek Trail
In the Greenbrier area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park you’ll find one of the top wildflower destinations in all of southern Appalachia, the Porters Creek Trail. The trail is filled with beautiful cascades, historical structures and wildflowers. 2 miles in you’ll also find Fern Branch Falls, a stunning 35’ waterfall that is an extra bonus to an already rewarding hike. To extend your hike continue past the waterfall to backcountry campsite #34. If you explore a bit, you might even spot an old moonshine still! The hike up Porters Creek is a great experience regardless of how many miles you decide to do, just enjoy the scenery and take in the peacefulness of the mountains!
Middle Prong Trail
Waterfalls, cascades, history, wildflowers and wildlife. You’ll find all of that and more on the Middle Prong Trail in Tremont. The trail is old railroad bed so it’s wide with a gentle incline for most of the 4 miles of the trail, making it perfect for anyone wanting to spend time wandering the hills. A trip up the Middle Prong is great for those searching for wildflowers from mid-spring til late summer and if you have someone with you that isn’t very interested in the blooms, then they’ll have plenty of features that will keep their attention along the way. 2 miles in, you’ll find a side trail to your right that leads to a 100 year old Cadillac. Take a minute to check it out, photograph it and be sure to leave no trace so that it’ll still be around for the next 100 years. To see Indian Flats Falls, you’ll need to hike 4 miles up the trail to another side trail. Not up for an 8 mile round-trip hike? No worries! You’ll see plenty of waterfalls in the first couple miles of the trail!
Kephart Prong Trail
Named after author Horace Kephart, the Kephart Prong Trail is a charming trail that is filled with blooms throughout the spring and summer. It’s another area that also has a great amount of history and offers up numerous areas that are filled with rolling cascades, numerous footbridges and leads to the Kephart Shelter. On your next trip to the Smokies spend a day among the towering trees, ferns and wildflower blooms of the Kephart Prong Trail!
Are you planning a trip to the Smoky Mountains this year? We certainly think you should! And, we would love to have you join us as our guests!
During your stay with us, you’ll receive a complimentary breakfast each day, along with fresh baked cookies every afternoon. We have a spacious parking area, parking is always free and guests receive a free parking pass for downtown Gatlinburg as well upon request. If you’d like to ride instead of drive, you can pick up a $2 Gatlinburg Trolley pass at our front desk. Spending time at our outdoor pool is a wonderful way to enjoy a summer afternoon, the area also includes a slide and a small splash pad for smaller children. Our indoor pool and hot tub are open year-round. Take a few minutes to browse Our Guest Rooms and you’ll find accommodations that are perfect for your needs while on vacation and all rooms include numerous amenities to help make your stay extra comfortable! The next time you’re in the Smokies, let the The Appy Lodge be your home away from home!