Hike into spring in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Firepink-heysmokies

The amazing fire pink (Silene virginica) wildflower can often be found in sunny, rocky outcrops alongside trails and roads.

Hike into spring in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Spring in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina is magical. A time of renewal and rebirth and it has never been more welcome than this year following on the heels of the recent devastating fires.

Spring is a season best experienced first hand. Poplar and Sourwood trees are showing their buds. Delicate pink and white Dogwoods can be found blooming throughout the landscape and soon will usher in a blazing display of color as wild azaleas strut their stuff, punctuating the mountains against the dense evergreen of Mountain Laurel, Rhododendron, and Hemlock. A warm, gentle breeze carries the hint of blossoms, moist earth, and that indefinable smell of spring. A favorite activity for us is to hike with spring over the coming months as warm temperatures climb the mountains heralding the seasons change at each elevation.

One of our favorite places to enjoy spring and view amazing wildflowers is the Porters Creek Trail in Greenbrier. This trail is easy to find and fairly easy to walk. In addition to an amazing wildflower display you can enjoy the impressive John Whaley cantilevered barn built in 1875 and the historic Smoky Mountain Hiking Club cabin.

porters-creek-trail-heysmokies

Porters Creek Trail is a great hike for the entire family!

Beyond the the historic structures, a profusion of wildflowers carpet the forest floor. Keep an eye out for bloodroot, hepaticas, white fringed phacelia, trilliums of every color, bluets, and jack in the pulpit.

Approximately two miles above the trailhead is the spectacular Fern Falls which plunges sixty feet down to the trail and beyond to it’s confluence with Porters Creek. These falls are dramatic during times of high water, and the cool breeze flowing down from its rocky heights is always refreshing during warm summer months!

The trail continues another 1.7 miles past Fern Falls ending at Backcountry Campsite 31, a spacious site located conveniently next to Porters Creek and in the shadow of Mount LeConte and adjacent to the Appalachian Trail.

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