Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The best mountain laurel hike in the Smokies

It's already mid-May, which means mountain laurel will soon be in bloom atop Spence Field.

The hike to Spence Field out of Cades Cove is probably one of the most underrated hikes in the Smokies. I would go so far as to say that the combination of Spence Field with Rocky Top would rate as one of my favorite hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains.

In addition to the outstanding views from Rocky Top anytime of the year, the mountain laurel atop Spence Field makes this a truly special hike. The best time to tackle the 5.1-mile trek to Spence is usually right around mid-June when the grassy bald area is exploding with mountain laurel. However, given the unseasonably warm weather over the last couple of months, it's seems likely that peak bloom will occur earlier than normal this year. If making plans ahead of time you may want to consider visiting at least one week early, and possibly even making your hike during the first week of June.

Of course Spence Field provides some outstanding views of the North Carolina Smokies, but if you still have the energy, you can hike another 1.2 miles to Rocky Top for an even better vantage point - possibly the best in the park.

Here's a preview of some of the sights you'll see at the top:

For more information on Spence Field, please click here, and if you plan to venture all the way to Rocky Top, please click here for more information.

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