4 of the Best Spring Hikes in the Smoky Mountains

Scenic photo of the Smoky Mountains during the spring in Gatlinburg.

It’s springtime in the Smoky Mountains, and the weather is perfect for being outdoors. Not too cold, not too hot! During this time of year, there are wildflowers all throughout the mountains and creatures are coming out to explore. If you’re wanting to get out and see the beauty of nature this spring, you’ll definitely want to try out 4 of the best spring hikes in the Smoky Mountains.

1. Cove Hardwood Nature Trail

White Dutchman breechesKnown as the best trail to see wildflowers, the Cove Hardwood Nature Trail is definitely one of the best hikes in the Smoky Mountains. With a length of 0.75 of a mile, this hike is simple for the youngest and oldest people who want to see nature! Some of the flowers you’ll see during the spring are Dutchman’s breeches, squirrel corn, wild ginger, white fringed phacelia, white trillium, and yellow trillium.

2. Schoolhouse Gap

Between Townsend and Cades Cove, Schoolhouse Gap is a 3.8-mile roundtrip trail that is great for seeing all kinds of wildflowers. At first, you’ll come across Virginia bluebells, then beaked violets, golden aster, lyre-leaf sage, red clover, star grass, sun drops, and trillium. You’ll definitely want to stop and take pictures of all the flowers you see. Streams and creeks are also along this trail, and horses are allowed to walk on this trail. You should be careful since bears and other wildlife have been known to frequent this trail. It is also great for families since it’s fairly easy to walk.

3. Little River Trail

purple crested dwarf irisFor something more moderate in difficulty, you should try the Little River Trail. It is a large loop, so you only have to walk in one direction. The entire trail is 5.6 miles long. You walk along a river for a good portion of the trail, allowing you to watch the water run over rocks and watch creatures in the water like fish and salamanders. After about 2.2 miles, you’ll find Husky Branch Falls, a 20-foot cascade. At the beginning of the hike, there are old cottages built in the 1920s that are neat to see. As far as wildflowers go, you’ll find Canadian violets, crested dwarf iris, rhododendron, spring beauties, trailing arbutus, and yellow trillium.

4. Porters Creek Trail

The Porters Creek Trail is a 7-mile trail that is moderately hiked and fairly moderate when it comes to difficulty. For the first mile, you’ll walk along a gravel trail where yellow trillium line the sides. You’ll also be able to see Porters Creek while you walk. After about a mile, there’s a split in the trail; the right side goes to an old farmstead where you can see an old cabin and cantilevered barn. When you go left at the split, you’ll be heading towards Fern Branch Falls, which is 60 feet tall. All along this trail, you’ll see all kinds of wildflowers, including baneberry, blue phlox, May apples, Jack-in-the-pulpits, violets, wild geranium, and woodland bluets.

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