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Wildflower Trails in the Great Smoky Mountains

Wildflower trails in the Smokies are not in short supply. From flame azaleas to rhododendrons, the Great Smoky Mountains are filled with so many glorious types of wildflowers. Check out these top wildflower trails this upcoming spring or summer.

Wildflower Trails

A great way to start your wildflower hiking expeditions is by familiarizing yourself with some of the countless amazing flowering species native to the area. You've probably heard of white trillium, bloodroot, and of course rhododendrons; but can you spot phlox from a purple crested dwarf iris?

Wildflowers

Chestnut Top Trail

According to the little brown book Hiking Trails Of The Smokies, Chestnut Top is perhaps the most spectacular wildflower trail in the national park. You'll find species like bloodroot, hepacia, trillium, toothwort, fire pink, and many more. Hike this trail in April from the Townsend Y for premium foliage peeping.

Chestnut Top Trail
Phlox on Cucumber Gap Trail

Cucumber Gap Trail

This 2.4 mile trail is most often hiked as a small loop when combined with Little River Trail and a small portion of Jakes Creek Trail from Elkmont. In the springtime this wildflower trail is bursting with color in every direction. The loop makes for a great beginner hike for both young and old.

Cucumber Gap Trail
White Trillium lining Huskey Gap Trail in April

Huskey Gap Trail

Not far from Cucumber Gap, this 4.1 mile wildflower trail begins in the first couple of miles on Newfound Gap Road. A spring hike on this trail immediately reveals incredible greenery with lots of purple, white, and yellow sprinkled all over the sides of the trail. Several small branches of water crossings make a gorgeous place for phlox to grow among the boulders.

Huskey Gap Trail

Brushy Mountain Trail

This trail is 11.8 miles roundtrip and is rated moderate. trailhead is accessed 1 mile up the Porters Creek Trail. At the top of the road, turn around to find the beginning of the Brushy Mountain Trail. This trail has frequent patches of wildflowers in the spring and several stream crossings.

Brushy Mountain Trail

Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail

This easy loop hike inside the Chimney’s Picnic Area provides easy access to a stand of old-growth forest, making it a great wildflower trail in the spring. Simply drive up Newfound Gap Road/US-441 to the Chimney’s Picnic Area and then look for parking on the right almost immediately upon entering this area. The trailhead is above the parking lot.

Gregory Ridge Trail

This trail is 4.9 miles one way and is rated moderate with an elevation gain of 2,700 feet. The trailhead is located at the end of Forge Creek Road. This trail is one of the most popular routes to get to Gregory Bald, which in the spring is a patchwork quilt of blooming azaleas. The scenery is stunning and the hike to Gregory Bald is a must-do in the springtime.

Gregory Ridge Trail

The Gregory Ridge Trail begins by leading around the base of a ridge through lush rhododendron and mountain laurel, both adding to the spring and summer floral display for which this trail is famous. Also, at 0.3 of a mile you will see where Bower Creek spills down to join Forge Creek.

Porters Creek Trail

This trail is 3.7 miles one way and is rated easy. Head east from Gatlinburg on US-321, turn south at 5.9 miles into Greenbrier. The road follows along the west side of the Little Pigeon River and becomes gravel in one mile. Continuing straight, you’ll pass a picnic area on the left and then reach the end of the road and the beginning of Porters Creek Trail.

Porters Creek Trail

Porters Creek Trail is an outstanding hike to see wildflowers! In March and April you’ll find bloodroot, trillium, May apple, trout lily, chickweed, phlox, spring beauty, and toothwort. Elevation for this trail is 1,550 feet.

Ramsey Cascades Trail

This trail is 8 miles roundtrip and rated moderate. trailhead access for Ramsay Cascade is found by turning left at 3.2 miles along the Greenbrier Road. This road follows along the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River for 1.5 miles until it is blocked; this is the trailhead for Ramsay Cascades.

Ramsey Cascades

The trail begins at the end of the parking lot area and soon crosses the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River on a wooden bridge. You’ll gradually ascend through large boulders and a forest of hemlock and mixed hardwood along an old roadbed with a stream on the right. Elevation gain for this trail is 2,200 feet.

Russell Field Trail

This trail is 5 miles one way and is rated moderate with an elevation gain of 2400 feet. The trailhead is located at the back of the Cades Cove Picnic Area or 1.5 miles down the Anthony Creek Trail. This short trail serves to connect the Anthony Creek Trail with the Appalachian Trail to form a backpacking loop while passing Russell Field.

Russell Field Loop

Snake Den Ridge Trail

This trail is 5.3 miles one way and is rated moderate. The trailhead is located in Cosby Campground, in the southeast corner, at campsite B55. Walk up the gravel road and the trail joins a horse trail from the left that is a connector trail with the Low Gap Trail. Along this road you’ll walk through second-growth deciduous forest, and in the fall, the woods are draped in brilliant reds and yellows. The trail climbs up the ridge of Snake Den Mountain through a series of switchbacks.

At 2.4 miles, an overlook provides a view of Cosby Cove. Continuing straight ahead, the Snake Den Ridge Trail passes spruce and fir as it reaches the crest of the mountain range at 5.3 miles and joins the Appalachian Trail at Inadu Knob.

Sugarland Valley Nature Trail

The Sugarland Valley Nature Trail was built in 1993 to provide a paved, flat trail into the woodlands of the Smokies. This 3,000 foot loop allows visitors requiring handicap access a chance to see historical remains and a beautiful river while experiencing nature all around them. Stop by the Sugarlands Visitor Center to pick up special media which can guide visitors along the trail. The trailhead is located 1/4 mile up Newfound Gap/US-441 from the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

Appalachian Trail

About 72 miles of the Appalachain Trail cross through the Great Smoky Mountains. While many places on this massive stretch are sure to make great wildflower trails, a particularly good spot to hike is from Newfound Gap west toward Indian Gap.

AT Smoky Mountains