What To Do

purple wildflowers next to Porters Creek Trail

5 of the Best Wildflower Hikes in the Smoky Mountains

Spring is almost here, which means it’s time to start planning your spring vacation! The Smoky Mountains are the perfect destination in spring, with pleasant weather, lush greenery, active wildlife, and colorful wildflowers. If you’re interested in seeing the beauty of spring wildflowers in the Smoky Mountains, make sure you check out these top wildflower hikes that you won’t want to miss!

1. Gregory Ridge Trail

mountain view from Gregory Bald with flame azaleasOne of the best wildflower hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Gregory Ridge Trail. This trail leads up to Gregory Bald where you can see brilliant displays of flame azaleas and various hybrids of azaleas in a stunning patchwork quilt. You can also see colorful wildflowers along the first half of the trail. This hike is 4.9 miles each way and is rated moderate with an elevation gain of 2,700 feet. To reach Gregory Ridge Trail, take Cades Cove Loop Road and turn onto Forge Creek Road. The trailhead is at the end of the road.

2. Schoolhouse Gap Trail

Another one of the popular wildflower hikes in the Smokies is Schoolhouse Gap Trail. This trail provides the chance to see an abundance of wildflowers, including mountain laurel, bluebells, rhododendron, trillium, purple ironflower, and more. Schoolhouse Gap Trail is also popular among birdwatchers to spot a variety of species. This hike is easy and family friendly, with only 500 feet of elevation gain. You can find the trailhead 3.9 miles west of the Townsend “Y” on the road to Cades Cove.

3. Little River Trail

close up of trillium bloom along Little River TrailIf your goal is to see wildflowers this spring, you should hike Little River Trail. You can see a variety of brilliant wildflowers along this trail, such as spring beauties, trailing arbutus, trillium, hepaticas, Canadian violets, dwarf cinquefoil, umbrella leaf, and stonecrop. You can find this wildflower hike near the Elkmont section of the national park. This family-friendly hiking trail is relatively level and wide as it follows along the Little River.

4. Middle Prong Trail

One of the wildflower hikes that also takes hikers past waterfalls is Middle Prong Trail. This hiking trail is a total of 8.3 miles roundtrip and takes the same path as an old railroad grade. Along the first couple of miles of your hike you may get to see wildflowers such as trillium, foamflower, violets, toothwort, and wood sorrel. During your hike, you will also pass by Lower Lynn Camp Falls, Lynn Camp Falls, and Indian Flats Falls for breathtaking waterfall views.

5. Porters Creek Trail

fringed phacelia along Porter Creek TrailOne of the most popular wildflower hikes in the Smoky Mountains is Porters Creek Trail. This trail is located in the Greenbrier section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail follows along a creek, passes an old farmstead, and brings you to Fern Branch Falls. You’ll have the chance to see spectacular wildflowers during this hike, especially during the first 1.5 miles of the trail. Some wildflowers you may see include violets, bloodroot, trillium, white fringed phacelia, hepaticas, wild geranium, toothwort, dwarf ginseng, blue phlox, baneberry, and more.

Where to Stay in the Smokies This Spring

There’s nothing quite like spring in the Smokies, with unparalleled natural beauty, outdoor fun, and mild weather. If you’re thinking about visiting the Smoky Mountains this spring, you’ll need to figure out where to stay. The best way to experience all that the area has to offer is by staying in a private cabin rental surrounded by nature. Take a look at our selection of Smoky Mountain cabins to find the perfect place to stay for your spring vacation!