In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, autumn gets all the glory for its admittedly excellent leaf-peeping, but spring brings its own burst of color to this Southern Appalachian wilderness. Since this is the country's most visited National Park, planning a trip during the spring off season means you won't have to compete with as many crowds at the prime attractions.Grandfather Mountain — Photo courtesy of Hugh Morton - Visit North Carolina
The Smoky Mountains represent one of the most biologically diverse environments on earth with over 1,600 varieties of flowers, and in early spring, ephemeral wildflowers begin to peep out from the ground, creating a short-lived but brilliant display of color. For early wildflower viewings (in March and April), hike along the Chestnut Top Trail just outside of Townsend, Tennessee or the Bradley Fork Trail near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center.Tiny red forest springs from moss — Photo courtesy of Appalachian Encounters
Come mid to late April, it would be difficult not to see wildflowers blooming, no matter where in the park you visit. The lowland fields of the park become seas of yellow and white trilliums, while early flowers begin to appear even in the higher altitudes of the park. Gatlinburg hosts its annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage at the end of April with five days of guided hikes, photo tours, art classes and seminars.Waterfall at Deep Creek — Photo courtesy of Visit North Carolina
With daytime temperatures hovering in the mid-70s, springtime weather in the Great Smoky Mountains is ideal for hiking, biking or taking a scenic drive through the park.