5 of the Best Summer Wildflower Hikes in the Smoky Mountains
When you think of wildflowers, you probably think of spring. In the Great Smoky Mountains, we have wildflowers in the spring and summer! There’s a ton of hikes in the Smoky Mountains you can take to find these summer wildflowers, and we want to share them with you! Find out more about 5 of the best summer wildflower hikes in the Smoky Mountains:
1. Schoolhouse Gap Trail
Schoolhouse Gap Trail is a moderately easy trail with a roundtrip of 3.8 miles. The beginning of the trail is wide and simple to walk on. You’ll love seeing the trees along the trail and all the native plantlife. You might even see some wildlife! Some of the wildflowers you’re most likely to see during the summer include purple ironweed, southern harebell, blue lobelia, and sweet Joe Pye weed. Schoolhouse Gap Trail ends at the Chestnut Top Trail.
2. Chestnut Top
If you are an avid hiker and want to see summer wildflowers, then you should hike the Chestnut Top Trail. It is 8.6 miles roundtrip and is considered strenuous in difficulty. The flowers you will see during the summer are hairy beard-tongue, rattlesnake hawkweed, and squawroot. The farther you get on the trail, you’ll be able to see mountain views. Once at the end, you’ll be at the end of the Schoolhouse Gap Trail.
3. Andrews Bald
Andrews Bald is a moderate hiking trail that stretches 3.5 miles. You can reach it from Gatlinburg or Cherokee in just a short drive, and you’ll start at the parking lot for Clingman’s Dome. This was one of the roughest hikes in the Smoky Mountains before the Trails Forever Program made it safer for the public. While you’re hiking on the trail, you’ll probably see thyme-leaved bluets and violets. Once you reach the bald, you’ll have incredible views of the mountains. In the meadow, you’ll see flame azalea and rhododendron in all kinds of colors. Andrews Bald is the perfect place to have a picnic once you’re at the top!
4. Spence Field
As a trail that is definitely for hiking hobbyists, Spend Field is overflowing with wildflowers in the early summer. The roundtrip length of this hiking trail is 10.3 miles. After about 5 miles, you’ll come to a fork. You’ll need to turn left on the Appalachian Trail to get to Spence Field. Before you reach the field, you’ll walk through small meadows that will have pink and white mountain laurel. For incredible views of the mountains and hundreds of blooms, keep going until you pass the junction. You can also picnic in this meadow, but taking in the scenery is well worth the hike!
5. Gregory Bald
At 11.3 miles roundtrip, Gregory Bald is considered strenuous. At the top of the summit of this trail, you’ll find hundreds of different colored azaleas. This area is actually a major factor as to why the park became a national park. People come from all over to see this impressive collection of wildflowers, and the British Museum of Natural History has actually collected samples of these incredible flowers. In addition to the azaleas, you’ll have beautiful views of the mountains.
You have a variety of hikes in the Smoky Mountains to choose from if you want to see summer wildflowers. Our list has some pretty hard hiking trails, and if you want something that’s more attainable for you, check out these 5 easy hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains.