The signs of spring are everywhere! Longer days, warmer temperatures, and flowers peeking from the ground are unmistakable indications everyone looks for this time of year. As spring fever spreads like an epidemic, the urge to bolt from our houses and do something outside seems overwhelming.
A trip to the Smoky Mountains is the perfect outlet for those itching to break free from long underwear and parkas. Say goodbye to Old Man Winter and welcome Mother Nature with these fabulous activities.
Mother Nature Shows Off Her Beauty
If you like flowers, then the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the place for you. The park is home to over 1500 varieties of flowers, with over 300 classified as rare. Spring flowers typically bloom from late March through mid May. Some of the beauties you’ll find include trillium, birdfoot violets, jack-in-the-pulpits, dutchman britches, purple phacalia and showy orchids.
The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage is an annual seven-day event includes natural history walks, motorcades, and photographic tours as well as art classes and seminars. What a great way to see and learn more about the breathtaking flowers of spring.
Rather get out on your own? Take advantage of the vast number of hiking trails the Smoky Mountains have to offer. It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced hiker looking for an all-day trek or if your pace is more of a leisurely stroll. With almost 800 miles of hiking trails, you’ll find trails that lead through the gorgeous spread of wildflowers no matter what your speed.
When you truly want to commune with nature, rent a cabin during your visit. Instead of a hotel room surrounded with buildings and asphalt, rent a cabin in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge and surround yourself with the wonder of nature. Whichever way you choose to view the scenery, make sure you bring your camera. According to photographer David Middleton, “The Smokies are the best place in the east to photograph spring – wildflowers, dogwoods, rushing streams and mountain scenes.”
Wildlife In The Park
The Smoky Mountains not only contain a wonderful array of wildflowers, they also provide a home for many different types of wildlife. More than 65 species of mammals live here including red and gray squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, raccoons, opossums and deer. The animal that most often reminds people of the Smokies, however, is the black bear. There are approximately 500-600 bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Late March or early April is the time when most females and their cubs begin to emerge from winter dens.
Birds are also abundant in the Smokies. Roughly 230 species can be found in these mountains. Some of those commonly seen are juneos, mourning doves, chimney swifts, barn swallows, blue jays, cardinals and chickadees. Hawks and eagles can also be found here and in late March you’ll begin to hear the first peeps of the songbirds.
Overcome your case of spring fever with a good dose of outdoor adventure. Pack your camera and binoculars and head for the Great Smoky Mountains. Whether you crave peaceful beauty or an exciting excursion you’ll find just what you’re looking for in the Smokies!
Bennie McCann is Reservations Manager of Volunteer Cabin Rentals specializing in cabins near Pigeon Forge. Visit the main website to book cabins for weddings, vacations, reunions and other special events.