There is nothing fresher than springtime in the North Carolina Smokies. As the mountains awake from their winter slumber and eagerly welcome the first blossoms of spring color, you will find the ideal seasonal getaway in the picturesque towns of Waynesville, Maggie Valley, Canton, Clyde, and Lake Junaluska. Fondly referred to as “the other color season,” the area comes alive with the early blossoms of spring-like daffodils, dogwoods and cherry blossoms.

Warmer days and mild evenings offer the perfect opportunity to enjoy a plethora of outdoor adventures and unique local hotspots amidst the scenic backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains. Whether you’re looking for that special “off the beaten path” hiking excursion or an epicurean adventure, the North Carolina Smokies are serving up the freshest springtime experiences around.


📍 Black Balsam Knob

Graveyard Fields

Graveyard Fields offers a great display of wildflowers common to the Blue Ridge Parkway, like rhododendron, larkspur, foamflower, jack-in-the-pulpit, evening primrose, bellflower, and many more. Graveyard Fields features many blackberry and blueberry bushes, too. Park rules allow one gallon of blueberries per person per day. This area is very popular, so head out early to catch the blueberries while you can!

Milepost 418.8
Difficulty: Easy-Intermediate
Mileage: 3.2 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.


Before you hit the trails, make sure to download a map of some of our favorite hikes:


Purchase Knob

Blackrock Mountain

Sam’s Summit


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!


Father and son fishing at Sunburst Swimming Hole in the NC Smoky Mountains.
📍 Mountain Heritage Trout Waters

They say the early bird gets the worm…well, so do the trout! Purchase a 3-day, $10.00 fishing license (ages 17 and over) to fish in the designated Mountain Heritage Trout Waters in Waynesville and Maggie Valley. This special 3-day license can be purchased online at www.ncwildlife.org or by telephone Monday-Friday, 8-5 at 888-248-6834.

For a relaxing fishing excursion, visit Ferguson’s Trout Pond behind Ferguson Supply in Clyde, NC! This kid-friendly pond is regularly stocked with rainbow trout and the perfect place to spend the day fishing.

Did you forget your fishing pole and tackle box? No worries! Stop by the Haywood County Visitor Center and pick up a free tackle box (1 per group) filled with 6 lures, and you can borrow a spinner rod for your adventures.

Mountain Heritage Trout Waters Map



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


From sprawling picturesque farms to family-owned and operated homesteads, bring the whole family for a U PICK adventure!

Call ahead because U PICK’s are seasonal.

Genesis Gardens

276 Chambers Farm Ln (in historic Bethel), Canton 28716
(828) 356-4783

Haywood’s only commercial flower farm. 45+ varieties of flowers. U Pick, wedding flowers, and plant starts available.

Frog Holler Organiks

234 Tommy Boyd Road, Waynesville 28785
(828) 356-7652

Open most Sat, March-May, 10:00-2:00 or by appointment. U-Pick flowers and elderberries.

The Ten Acre Garden

158 Chambers Farm Ln (in historic Bethel), Canton 28716
(828) 235-9667

Apr 15-Oct 15, 10-6. Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, and seasonal blooms. U Pick, for sale on farm.

Wildcat Ridge Farm

3553 Panther Creek Rd, Clyde 28721
(828) 627-6751

Fresh cut peonies & plants—herbaceous & intersectional. U Pick or we pick during bloom season. Cut flowers for special events.


Sling shot riding along paved road


Zip through the Smokies on a Slingshot! The Blue Ridge Parkway, Hwy 215, Hwy 209, or any motor touring route are great places to explore on a Slingshot. Driver must be 21 or older.

Slingshot Rentals

Slinging in the Smokies – Maggie Valley, NC
Smoky Mountain Slingshot Rentals – Waynesville, NC


Check out our events calendar for up-to-date spring events.


After you’ve spent the day adventuring outdoors, head inside to one of our fantastic breweries, distilleries, or wine shops. Many of these venues offer live entertainment on certain nights of the week. Plus you’ll always be able to find delicious food and great drinks throughout Haywood County!

Bosu’s Wine Shop

138 Miller St, Waynesville, NC, 28786

Like the south itself, Bosu’s Wine Shop is an exercise in contradiction. The shop is at once laid back and full of energy, but it’s also a serious wine lover’s paradise. Their boutique wine store is Waynesville’s favorite wine, beer, and gourmet retailer; and a cozy spot where locals and visitors alike enjoy weekly wine tastings and fascinating conversation. They host year-round events dedicated to the love of great drinks and exceptional gourmet flavors. Visit their EVENTS page for drop-in and seated events including a gourmet small-plates menu.

Classic Wineseller

20 Church St, Waynesville, NC, 28786

The Classic Wineseller is your go-to spot for craft beers and unique wines. They have one of the largest selections in Haywood County! Settle down to locally-made appetizers and other menu items. There are regularly scheduled live music events, so check their website often for the full schedule.

Bearwaters Brewery

101 Park Street, Canton, NC 28716

Located in Canton, Bearwaters features a number of brews (some of them are even award-winning!), a small menu selection, and a fun atmosphere. Simply relax with your brews by the creekside or play cornhole on the patio. Check out their website for a schedule of live music and events. Pets are also welcome here, so bring along your furry friends!

Frog Level Brewing

56 Commerce St, Waynesville, NC 28786

In the Frog Level District of Waynesville, you can find Frog Level Brewing. Their fantastic outdoor patio is one of the best places in the county to relax with a brew! Bring a crowd of friends, your pets, and some snacks, and spend your time socializing by the creek. Events at Frog Level Brewing include food truck visits, bands, and more. See a full schedule of events on the Frog Level website.

Boojum Brewing

50 N Main Street Waynesville, NC 28786

Right in the heart of downtown Waynesville, you can find Boojum Brewing. Boojum brews and serves its own brews, but there’s also a large selection of guest beers on draft, too. They have an extensive food menu, plus gluten-free bottled beers, wines, and cocktails. Guests over 21 can play pool, darts, shuffleboard, foosball, and other bar games at their downstairs bar, The Gem.