Spring into the Smokies
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 adventure 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.
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!
Mileage: 3.2 miles
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!
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
Mileage: 1.4-mile short loop trail that crosses the summit.
FREE HIKING MAPS
Before you hit the trails, make sure to download a map of some of our favorite hikes:
Elk in Spring
Calving Season: Late Spring
Most calves are born in late May thru 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!
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.
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.
They say the early bird gets the worm…well, so do the trout! Purchase a 3-day, $7.00 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.
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 filled with 6 lures/flies and you can borrow either a fly rod or a spinner rod.
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.
276 Chambers Farm Ln (in historic Bethel), Canton 28716
Haywood’s only commercial flower farm. 45+ varieties of flowers. U Pick, wedding flowers and plant starts available.
234 Tommy Boyd Road, Waynesville 28785
Open most Sat, March – May, 10:00-2:00 or by appointment. U-Pick flowers and elderberries.
158 Chambers Farm Ln (in historic Bethel), Canton 28716
Apr 15-Oct 15, 10-6. Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries and seasonal blooms. U Pick, for sale on farm.
3553 Panther Creek Rd, Clyde 28721
Fresh cut peonies & plants—herbaceous & intersectional. U Pick or we pick during bloom season. Cut flowers for special events.
SIGNATURE SPRING EVENTS
After you’ve spent the day adventuring outdoors, head inside to one of our fantastic breweries, theaters, 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!
38 N Main St, Waynesville, NC, 28786
Stop by Haywood County’s only movie theater to catch a show! Not only does it serve all of your favorite theater snacks, but there’s also a full coffee bar, beer, wine and an assortment of locally-made ice cream.
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. Our 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. We host year-round events dedicated to the love of great drink and exceptional gourmet flavors. Visit our EVENTS page for drop in and seated events including a gourmet small-plates menu.
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.
3732 Soco Road Maggie Valley, NC 28751
Western North Carolina is definitely known for its moonshine, so you won’t want to leave without tasting the local flavor at Elevated Mountain in Maggie Valley. Owner Dave Angel uses local mountain water in his spirits, all of which are brewed on-site in a one-of-a-kind hybrid still. You can get a tour and tasting for $5.00. Not only will you learn about his unique whiskey and moonshine, but you’ll get a healthy dose of local history, too. This is a can’t-miss attraction here in Haywood County!
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!
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.
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.