There are over 1,500 kinds of wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is the greatest collection of wildflowers found in any park in the United States, so much so that sometimes the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is nicknamed “Wildflower National Park.” Though the wildflowers have different seasons and bloom at different times you can be sure to find a flower in bloom at any time of the year. Ephemerals start the year off with a bloom in February through April and then go dormant by May or June. You can see them flower and fruit in late winter and early spring. These wildflowers are in sync with the overstory trees. They flower and fruit when there is plentiful sunlight and a high soil moisture and nutrient content. They start to decay at the beginning of summer.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 10 different species of ephemerals such as: showy orchis, lady slipper orchids, fire pink, crested dwarf iris, bleeding heart, little brown jugs, bleeding hearts, jack-in-the-pulpit and violets. The park offers wildflower walks so that the public can view these beautiful plants while they are in bloom. Additionally, in the spring, the park has a Wildflower Pilgrimage Festival that includes hikes and guided walks so that the public can look at all the different wildflowers that are at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Besides the wildflowers, trees and shrubs are also in bloom from February to April. In late summer, the honey-producing sourwood tree starts to bloom.
The beautiful display of wildflowers does not stop when summer starts with the decay of the ephemerals. Summer starts the season of bloom for the beautiful red cardinal, pink turtleheads, small purple-fringed orchids, jewel weed, some flowers, coneflowers, monk’s hood and other wildflowers. In fall through winter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a beautiful display of the yellow witch-hazel wildflower that caps off the blooming season for the year. Any time of year is the perfect time to view the magnificent wildflowers at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There will always be something magnificent to see.
Another great way to experience the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains area, is with a whitewater rafting trip down the Upper and Lower Pigeon River. Smoky Mountain Outdoors has been leading fun and safe whitewater rafting trips since 1993. Visit the Group Information page to request more information about our special group rates!