Peak Wildflower Season in the Smokies

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's already mid-April, which means that peak wildflower season is rapidly approaching in the Great Smoky Mountains.

If you have any interest in taking part in the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage this year, you better make plans soon. The annual event will be taking place next week - from April 22 thru April 26. The pilgrimage is a five-day event consisting of a variety of wildflower, fauna, and natural history walks, motorcades, photographic tours, art classes, and indoor seminars. For more information, visit or phone 865-436-7318 (ext. 222).

If you're more interested in striking out yourself for your own wildflower viewing in the Smokies, I've recently compiled a list of the best trails to hike, when to hike them, and which flowers you can expect to see. The link below will take you to the article:

If by chance you can't make it to the Smokies this spring, I've put together a gallery of many of the wildflowers we saw last season:

Please enjoy.

Need help identifying wildflowers?

Check out Southern Appalachian Wildflowers. This is an excellent companion to have during wildflower season to help you identify the many flowers you'll be seeing. This field guide features wildflowers from the southern tip of the Appalachians in Georgia and Alabama to the Blue Ridge Parkway and includes Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Please click here for more information.

Jeff Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.


Ann said...

We're planning to be there from the 22nd through the 25th--do you know if much is in bloom now or is expected to be? We were concerned since it seems to be colder this year than in previous years we've attended. We're coming from the Louisville KY area.

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...


Everything I've read suggests that wildflowers are blooming as usual. In fact, for the time period you're visiting, you'll be real close to hitting peak season. Check out the following link - it will give you the most up-to-date information on what is blooming and where. This is first hand info from people who have hiked the trails:


Ann said...

Thanks, Jeff. I appreciate the link--your blog has been really helpful to us when we plan trips to the Smokies.

We've found Yellow Lady's Slippers there (we do a lot of flower photography), but haven't found any pink ones--do they bloom later? Normally we come during the Pilgrimage.

Also, we're looking to photograph Showy Lady's Slippers, so we'd like to know if they grow in the park. I think they prefer boggy areas, and probably don't bloom until June. We always see tons of Showy Orchis in April.

Ann said...

Oops--I meant we've found the pink ones but are looking for Yellow Lady's Slippers.

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...


We found the Pink Lady's slipper on the Schoolhouse Gap Trail in mid-May last year. We found it at roughly an elevation of 1900 feet.

We found the Yellow Lady's Slipper on the Husky Gap Trail at roughly an elevation of 2800 feet on May 8.

Hope that helps. I don't know the full time period that either of these flowers grow. As far as the Showy Lady's Slippers are concerned, I have never heard of any growing in the park - but that doesn't mean they're not there though. Given the environment that you mentioned they like, you may want to check out the Wet Bottom Trail in Cades Cove. That might be a good place. According to Wikipedia, these flowers are considered to be imperiled or critically imperiled in TN:

BTW, I'm just across the river from you in good ole Louisville!


Ann said...

That's funny! I figured you were living in a quaint cabin in the Smokies, spending your days hiking all the trails. We live on East Main Street on the river side, so we can see downtown Louisville.

We found a place here in Harrison County that has a lot of Yellow Lady's Slipper growing right beside the road, but I haven't found any in the park, so this time we're going on a search. My husband found the Huskey Gap info on your Hiking in the Smokies site yesterday, so we'd planned to go there.

There's a bog called Cedar Bog outside Urbana OH where there are some Showys--we have family in that area so we will make a trek there in June when they are supposed to be blooming.