Beginning in April, Tennessee’s hillsides become awash in color as trees and flowers burst into bloom. Although you can take in these views from afar, hiking along one of the state’s impeccable trails is a great way see spring’s colors in vivid detail. And you’ll get some exercise, too.
Many local state parks, as told by Tennessee TripTales, host spring nature festivals and wildflower walks that offer a great opportunity to see spring colors with local experts. If you’re more adventurous and want to set out on your own, here’s a list of the best hiking trails in Tennessee where you can see beautiful flowering plants this season.
Grassy Ridge Bald on Roan Mountain
Located in Carter County in the Northeast part of the state, Roan Mountain is home to fantastic hiking trails as well as the world’s largest rhododendrons garden. Hike along the Grassy Ridge Bald to see rhododendrons, flame azaleas and various other types of wildflowers. Given the high altitude of around 6,000 feet, however, flowering plants won’t reach their peak until June. The trail extends for several miles and varies in difficulty; make a point of reaching the trailhead using TN-143 and NC-261, which connects the towns of Roan Mountain, TN, and Bakersville, NC.
Kanati Fork Trail
Located between Cherokee, NC, and Newfound Gap, Kanati Fork Trail offers hikers an abundance of wildflowers in the spring. The trail is four miles long, but your best viewing of wildflowers is in the first two miles. As early as March, you’ll encounter yellow violets. By April, cut-leaved toothwort, dwarf cinquefoil, large-flowered bellwort and white baneberry are in bloom. Summer and fall hikers will discover bee balm, beaked dodder and Turk’s cap lily. The trailhead parking area is located along Newfound Gap Road, about eight miles south of its intersection with Clingman’s Dome Road.
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Chestnut Top Trail
Look for sweet white trilium, bloodroot, Bishop’s cap and wild stonecrop as you hike along Chestnut Top Trail, located near Townsend. The trail is just over four miles long, per TripAdvisor, and offers a moderate share of vibrant foliage for most hikers. But don’t turn back when you think the wildflowers have stopped; keep going until you find the fire pink wildflower a little further up the hill. The parking area is located near the junction of Route 73, Little River Road and Laurel Creek Road.
Trails at Frozen Head State Park
Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg in Morgan County offers the chance to see seven kinds of wild violets, crested iris, nodding mandarin, wild geranium, mountain laurel and a valley filled with white trillium. Trails along Panther Branch are relatively easy to hike and filled with wildflowers in the spring. Several waterfalls are also located in the park, which is located off Highway 62.Get some fresh air while taking in some of the beautiful spring color by exploring the best hiking trails in Tennessee. Wildflowers, colorful trees and outstanding bushes will make it a memorable experience for the entire family.
Most outdoor activities have some level of risk, and you may need to consult an expert before engaging in the activity. Always check the current weather conditions before embarking on any outdoor activity.