There is truly something for everyone in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, especially in the springtime. Whether you want to strap on your boots and hit the trail, meander through a meadow covered with wildflowers, saddle up on the back of a horse, or paddle on clear blue water under the shadows of the Smokies; you will have an incredible and epic experience in the Great Smoky Mountains!
Hiking: Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains is absolutely ideal in the spring. Getting up high to vistas, you are rewarded with expansive views of forested-mountains, and sometimes, able to watch an afternoon storm roll through the distant ridgelines. Even if you don’t hike high in elevation, the views of the Smokies in the spring are unbeatable. Many trails take you through meadows of wildflowers, or are famous for a certain wildflower growing along the path. For a list of best wildflower hikes, click here, or read our trail descriptions below.
Backpacking: One of the most unforgettable experiences in the Smokies is a backpacking trip. By getting off the popular trails and exploring the heart of this world-renowned wilderness, you are giving yourself a chance for solitude and tranquility, as well as views unlike any other. The park hosts more than 100 backcountry campsites, giving you plenty of opportunity to string some together for a multi-night adventure. Spring is an ideal time to backpack in the park because the summer crowds have yet to arrive, and the wildflowers are blooming in abundance along the trails.
Kayaking: Whether you wish to paddle on Fontana Lake, or ride the rapids on one of the many rivers, kayaking is a great activity in the spring. Fontana Lake offers clear blue water and is surrounded by the mountains, giving you a perfect oasis for paddling; and the rivers that run through the park offer sections of peaceful floating mixed with heart-racing rapids. Kayak rentals are available in Bryson City, NC and Paddle and Hike trips are available for those who want to experience the best of both worlds within the park.
Fishing: As the weather warms during the spring, trout become much more active. The park has 730 miles of fishable streams, giving you many opportunities to catch a big one. Spring is one of the best times of year to fish because the scenery surrounding the stream is vibrant with new life. For more information about fishing in the Smokies in spring, click here.
Bicycling: Not all roads are created for bicycling in the park, however, Cades Cove is perfect. The 11-mile, one-way loop road has ideal terrain for biking, while providing extraordinary views of the lush forest and historic homesteads, and has fantastic opportunity for spotting wildlife. On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, from early May to late September, the road is closed to vehicle traffic until 10 am, giving bicyclists freedom to explore the area. Bikes are available for rental at the Cades Cove Campground.
Horseback Riding: A great way to see the park in the spring is one the back of a horse. With the blue sky above you and the blooming flowers below you, horseback riding is an epic way to explore the mountains in the style of park pioneers.
Sightseeing: Whether you want to view the Smoky Mountains from an overlook on Newfound Gap Road, try to identify as many anchor textwildflowers as possible, or watch wildlife through a pair of binoculars, there are so many ways to sightsee in the Smokies, and spring is the perfect season for it! Also, keep your eye out for the Synchronous Firefly; they put on a synchronized light show during their mating season that could take place between the third week in May and the third week in June.