Where to Find Wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains, as well as Quiet Walkways & Driving Tours

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The Wildflowers of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Diversity Unlike Any Other in NatureWildflowers in the Smokies

The diversity of wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains breathtaking to say the least. In all, visitors to the National Park can witness approximately 1,500 different kinds of flowering plants according to the most recent release from the Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association - including over 300 rare plants. There are several factors that are attributable to the large number of plant species found in the Park, including vast differences in temperature and altitude, large amounts of precipitation (on average 90 inches per year), and the National Park Service's preservation efforts. On this page, we'll take you on a tour of selected Smoky Mountain wildflowers, quiet walkways, and some driving tours which offer plenty of outstanding opportunities to view the area's wild flowers.

If you're seeking natural beauty, it can be found along every trail and on each mountaintop in the Park. Some of the more popular and picturesque blooms include the Mountain Laurel (white and pink flowers from early May through June); Flame Azalea (April and May in low elevations and late June and early July at higher elevations); and Rhododendron (Catawba reaches its peak in in June and Rosebay in June and July).

Where the Wildflowers Are

The Park's quiet walkways and trails are opportunities to entice each visitor to get out of their vehicles and view the wildflower show up close. But for those who think it's just too hard to leave the comfort of their vehicle, check into one of the many auto tours offered by the National Park.

Each April, in conjunction with professors from the University of Tennessee, a Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage is conducted within the National Park for nature enthusiasts. Rangers lead hikes, walks, drives, and lectures throughout the Park and surrounding cities that are available for anyone who pays the $8 fee ($5 for students, kids under 12 are free).

NOTE: It is illegal to pick or dig wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Poachers are prosecuted because they in effect are responsible for the decline of certain species of wildflowers over the years. It should also be noted that most of these wildflowers can't survive in your home garden because the natural conditions can't be duplicated.

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