Spring Wildflowers in the Smoky Mountains
Your Guide to Spring Wildflowers in the Smoky Mountains
Images from Great Smoky Mountains National Park
With spring just around the corner, the Smoky Mountains are ready to bloom. The area is home to beautiful wildflowers, including over 1,600 species of flowering plants. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, often known as the “Wildflower National Park,” is a great place to find these spring wildflowers.
Types of Spring Wildflowers
Here are some of the most common wildflowers you’ll find during spring in the Smoky Mountains.
Spring beauty is one of the first species of wildflowers to bloom in the Smoky Mountains. Look for its unique striped petals that bloom white or pale pink. Spring beauty can be found throughout the park.
Another flower that blooms in early spring, the bloodroot has narrow white petals surrounding gold stamens. The flower gets its name from the orange-red sap inside its roots. Bloodroot wildflowers open in full sun and close at night. Bloodroot are frequently seen in the lower elevations of GSMNP.
Lady’s slipper, one of the largest native orchids, can be found both in low, sandy woods and in higher, rocky woods of mountains. The rare species of flower is known for its expanded pocket or “slipper” and spiraled petals. These woodland wildflowers are an endangered species so, if you manage to find them, be sure to take photos but not disrupt them.
The showstopper of spring wildflowers, the white trillium is frequently cultivated in wildflower gardens. You won’t miss the large, bell-shaped white flower petals with a yellow center. The underground rootstalks were used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes. White trillium is typically found in GSMNP’s low to mid elevations.
Yellow trillium consists of a single yellow flower with three narrow petals. These are frequently found in the lower elevations of the park.
Noticeably bright pink or purple in color, the wild geranium has five petals on each blossom. These are most commonly found in the lower to mid elevations of GSMNP.
The trout lily gets its name from the Cherokee Indians who believed that when the flower bloomed, it was time to fish. The leaves look like brook trout, with spots on the yellow petals. Trout lilies can be found throughout the park.
White Fringed Phacelia
When white fringed phacelia is in bloom, they transform the forest floor to a blanket of white. The individual flower has white petals with a cup shape. The wildflowers grow in large colonies and can be found in the mid to high elevations of GSMNP.
Named for its two hollow spurs that resemble a pair of pantaloons, the Dutchman’s Breech is a white, nodding flower on a leafless stalk. This blossom wildflower can be easily found throughout the park.
Thyme-leave bluets bloom in late spring. This small flower has four blue petals surrounding a yellow center. These flowers can be found in groups throughout the park.
When to See Spring Wildflowers in the Smoky Mountains
Wondering when you can see these beautiful wildflowers? Here is a breakdown by month.
Bloodroot, Jack-in-the-pulpit, Sharp-lobed hepatica, Spring Beauty, Trout Lily and Violets.
Dutchman’s Breeches, Fire Pink, Foam Flower, Large-flowered Bellwort, Little Brown Jugs, Purple Phacelia, Squirrel Corn, Trout-Lily, Violets, White Fringed Phacelia, White Trillium, Wild Geranium, Wild Ginger, Wood Anemone and Yellow Trillium.
Yellow Lady’s Slippers, Bleeding Heart, Blue Phlox, May Apple, Mountain Laurel and Flame Azaleas.
Catawba Rhododendron (elevations of 3500 feet), Flame Azaleas at higher elevations, Indian Pink, Mountain Laurel at higher elevations, Mountain Spiderwort, Rattlesnake Hawkweed, Rosebay rhododendron, Speckled Wood Lily, Sundrops, Squawroot, Wood Sorrel, Woodland Bluets and Yellow Star Grass.
Wildflower Walks at Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has several trails that are perfect for viewing the spring wildflowers.
- Oconaluftee River Trail
- Deep Creek Trail
- Gregory Ridge Trail
- Kanati Fork Trail
- Schoolhouse Gap Trail
- Little River Trail
- Middle Prong Trail
- Cove Hardwood Self-Guided Nature Trail
- Porters Creek Trail
- Appalachian Trail