The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for our area starting January 2 at 10:00pm through January 3 mid-day. Conditions could be hazardous so plan ahead and stay safe. Learn more here.


There is nothing fresher than springtime in the North Carolina Smokies. As March, April, and May roll in, the mountains awake from their winter slumber and eagerly welcome the first blossoms of spring color. Set against the scenic backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains, the picturesque towns of Waynesville, Maggie Valley, Canton, Clyde, and Lake Junaluska offer the ideal seasonal getaway.

Fondly referred to as “the other color season,” the North Carolina Smokies come alive with the early blossoms of spring. Daffodils, dogwoods, and cherry blossoms paint the landscape with vibrant hues. This is the best time to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, known for its stunning wildflower hikes and diverse wildlife. 

As the weather warms up, warmer days and mild evenings provide the perfect opportunity to indulge in a plethora of outdoor adventures and explore unique local hotspots. Whether you’re looking for an “off the beaten path” hiking excursion or want to test your golfing skills, the North Carolina Smokies have something to satisfy every taste. 

In the charming mountain towns of Waynesville, Maggie Valley, Canton, Clyde, and Lake Junaluska, you can find a variety of accommodation options, including vacation house rentals and cozy cabins, to make your stay even more memorable.

Don’t miss out on the freshest springtime experiences in the North Carolina Smokies. Plan your visit during the months of March, April, or May and immerse yourself in the beauty of the blooming landscape, the captivating wildlife, and the abundance of outdoor activities that the region has to offer.



Waterrock Knob

Waterrock Knob is a must-stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Located at Milepost 451.2, it features the last hiking trail along the Parkway as you travel toward the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This peak (6,292 feet) is the 16th highest mountain in the Eastern United States and the the 15th highest of the 40 mountains in North Carolina over 6,000 feet. This is one of the best places in the North Carolina mountains to watch a sunrise or sunset. If you do feel like hiking you will be rewarded with views like the one above.

Milepost 451.2
Difficulty: Moderate (but steep!)
Mileage: 1.2 miles

Sam’s Summit Loop

The hike is composed of six different trails that form a loop and can be broken down into individual shorter hikes. Here, you can find features like the cascading Flat Laurel Creek Falls, incredible 360 views from the top of Sam’s Knob of Cold Mountain, Richland Balsam, and Black Balsam, and even an opportunity to stroll through the dense quiet of a native spruce plantation. This a perfect hike!

Hwy 215
Difficulty: Easy-Difficult
Mileage: 0.6-2.25

Max Patch

Hike a piece of the Appalachian Trail at Max Patch, one of North Carolina’s most popular Appalachian Trail hikes, on a grassy, bald mountain, rising 4,629 feet that’s covered in wildflowers. Catch a gorgeous sunrise, sunset, or afternoon picnic on this moderate two-mile loop with stunning 360-degree views. Hike through miles of wildflowers, wild blueberries, blackberries, and wispy, tall grasses.

I-40 Harmen Den Exit
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Mileage: 1.4-mile short loop trail that crosses the summit.



Daffodil, Dogwood, Painted Trillium, Phacelia, Pink Lady Slipper, Yellow Lady Slipper, Pinkshell Azalea, Redbud, Tulip


Crab Apple, Dogwood, Flame Azalea, Japonica, Mountain Laurel, Mountain Magnolia, Pinkshell Azalea, Trailing Arbutus, Painted Trillium, Violet, Wild Cherry


Fire Pinks, Flame Azalea, Gray’s Lily, Ox-Eyed Daisy, Purple Rhododendron, White Rhododendron, Turkeybeard


Elk in Spring

Calving Season: Late Spring

Most calves are born in late May through June. The cows hide their calves in the high grass. For safety and to avoid disturbing the calves, visitors should stay out of fields. Cows can be aggressive in protecting their young. By late June, visitors can often see calves up and moving with the herd. Get our elk watching guide here!

Black Bears

Newborn Cubs Emerge

One to four cubs are born during the mother’s winter sleep, usually in late January or early February. Bears weigh eight ounces at birth. Females with newly born cubs usually emerge from their winter dens in late March or early April. Commonly born in pairs, the cubs will remain with the mother for about eighteen months or until she mates again.

Bird Watchers

Devil’s Courthouse & Black Balsam

This area offers superb high-elevation birding, with excellent opportunities for some of the more sought-after species in North Carolina, including Peregrine Falcon, Alder Flycatcher, and Northern Saw-whet Owl. There are easy to moderate high-elevation hiking trails at Black Balsam and a short, more strenuous hike to the top of the rocky outcrop at Devil’s Courthouse. Check out our bird-watching guide here!

Guided Tours & Slingshot/UTV Rentals

Want to see an elk at sunrise or learn to fly fish in the local rivers and streams? Guided tours are a great way to learn about and experience the wildlife here.
Cataloochee Valley Tours 
Maggie Valley Fly Shop
Tuckaseegee Fly Shop 
WNC Shuttle 

Zip through the Smokies in a Slingshot or UTV! The Blue Ridge Parkway, Hwy 215, Hwy 209, or any motor touring route are great places to explore in the springtime. 
Cataloochee UTV Adventure Rentals 
Scenic Tours & Rentals 
Slinging in the Smokies 
Smoky Mountain Slingshot Rentals

Spring Events

Experience vibrant festivals and happenings during the springtime in the NC Smokies. With a variety of events from street to flower festivals, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy. For a full schedule of spring events visit our events calendar

Wildcat Ridge Festival of Peonies
Boho Hippie Fest
Whole Bloomin’ Thing