The Great Smoky Mountains area is an exceptional destination to experience the beauty, color, and rebirth of spring. As temperatures rise and the frost-covered ground thaws, hundreds of flowering plants begin to bloom and wildlife emerges from winter resting places. Spring is a wonderful time to experience a more serene Smoky Mountains, as the land starts to awaken before the busy summer tourist season arrives. During spring, you will find comfortable temperatures in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, offering much needed opportunities to experience the outdoors after the cold and restless days of winter. There are a variety of hiking trails for every skill level that offer beautiful wildflowers, mountains, and waterfall views. There are also a number of special spring events to choose from in the surrounding towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, ensuring your Smoky Mountains spring vacation is a fun and memorable trip. Here are our top picks for things to do during your Smoky Mountains spring vacation.
Hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
As America’s most visited National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re interested in family-friendly hikes or long backpacking trips, the Smokies boast a variety of trails suitable for every skill level.
Spring is an exceptional season for wildflower viewing on your hikes through the Smokies. Often referred to as Wildflower National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a world-renowned preserve of diverse wildflowers, with over 1,500 kinds of flowering plants found within the park, the most diverse plant population in all of North America.
If you are most interested in wildflower viewing, the popular Little River Trail is best hiked between mid-March and April. The relatively flat trail runs along an old gravel railroad bed parallel to the Little River. Along the trail you will pass the remains of several old cabins formerly used as resort cottages in the early 1900s. Experience the beautiful color of the Smokies as you hike along patches of rhododendron, hepaticas, rue anemone, crested dwarf iris, yellow trillium, dwarf cinquefoil, stonecrop, Canadian violets and umbrella leaf.
Take a Stroll on the Rocky Top Wine Trail
Located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, the Rocky Top Wine Trail consists of five local wineries and one distillery that together offer over 75 unique varieties of wine and moonshine to sample. The self-guided trail is completely free with free wine tastings offered at every location and free tours at the Hillside Winery, Mountain Valley Winery, and Sugarland Cellars locations from noon-5pm. Taste the unique local wines the Smoky Mountains have to offer while learning about the winemaking process during a free tour. The trail spans about twelve miles, so be sure to have a designated driver that will get you safely to each winery. At your first stop, grab a passport and have it stamped at each location. Once you visit three of the six wineries, you will receive a free gift, and you will earn another free gift when you finish the entire trail.
Take Part in Special Spring Events
Your Great Smoky Mountains spring vacation would not be complete without attending at least one of the many annual spring events offered for people of all ages. With events such as fishing tournaments, guided hikes, and artist workshops, spring is an exciting time to visit the Great Smoky Mountains.
Great Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament
The 19th annual Great Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament will be held April 1st and 2nd in Gatlinburg and is open to fishers of all ages. Over 10,000 trout will be stocked in 20 miles of streams surrounding Gatlinburg prior to the event. With multiple contests offering over $10,000 worth of cash and prizes, the largest trout tournament in the Smokies is sure to be a hit with families.
If you’re looking for a more guided approach to seeing the spring wildflowers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, consider taking part in the 67th annual Wildflower Pilgrimage from April 11-15. The annual five-day event offers professionally guided programs exploring the region’s wildflowers, wildlife, natural history, ecology, and culture through hikes, motorcades, seminars, and art and photography workshops. This year is a particular special time to learn about the area’s cycle of rebirth as the land recovers from recent wildfire damage. Special guest speakers will discuss fire ecology and other environmental aspects affecting the Smokies in addition to events discussing history, art, literature, and science relating to the area.
Hands On Gatlinburg
The 2017 Hands On Gatlinburg weekend on April 7-9 offers an opportunity for artists of all ages to create a work of art to take home with them to remember and cherish their experience in the Smokies. Visitors will create under the guidance of local artists from over 15 studios throughout the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community. The community will host over 40 different classes focusing on a variety of mediums including knitting, pastels, painting, jewelry-making, watercolor, scarf-making, weaving, pottery, crochet, woodworking, soap-making and much more.
Visit the Smokies in Spring
With an abundance of beauty, attractions, outdoor activities, and special events, the Great Smoky Mountains area is an amazing destination for romantic getaways or family vacations year-round. The beauty and color of spring makes the season an especially special time to visit the Smokies, offering a beautiful and serene setting for both a relaxing and fun filled vacation.