Enjoy Wildflowers Among the Wild Waters

Wildflowers by Ron JonesSpringtime at Rafting in the Smokies is an awesome experience.

Get ready to experience your own wildflower “pilgrimage” on our magical Adventure Island!

The area in and surrounding the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its variety of wildflowers. In fact, more than 1,500 plants can be found here. Did you know that the Park is known as the “Wildflower National Park?”

Thanks in part to the abundance of rainfall in the area and nutrients left from the leaves of last fall, the forest floor is very moist. Before the trees leaf out, the warming sun streams through and awakens the earth and voila! out pop the wildflowers!!!

In late March and early April, the flower show begins and the island is dotted with pops of colors from a variety of spring blooms. Wild phlox, Trillium, Lady Slippers, Columbine, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and Bluets are just a few of the rare species you may find.

And while you’re enjoying the flora, you can’t help but be serenaded by the songs of our feathered friends. Blue Jay, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Red-bellied Woodpecker and Ruffled Grouse make their nests here. You may also see a Screech-Owl, Whip-poor-will or Chipping Sparrow. Listen! That rustling in the leaves may be a flock of Wild Turkey!!!

Trees and shrubs are abloom, too. The mountains are awash with the blooms of Flowering Dogwood, Redbud, Tuliptree, and Silverbell. And Spicebush and Dog-hobble make their home near the forest floor. This area is well known for blooming Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron.

Remember – Adventure Island and Rafting in the Smokies is bordered by the Big Pigeon River, so bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a day long adventure!!! The rushing waters are very soothing – you might just take a nap!

And be sure to bring your cameras, you’ll likely get a great picture of some of our forest friends on this natural preserve called Adventure Island.

The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage is an annual five-day event in Great Smoky Mountains National Park consisting of a variety of wildflower, fauna, and natural history walks, motorcades, photographic tours, art classes, and indoor seminars. Most programs are outdoors in Great Smoky Mountains National Park while indoor offerings are held in various venues throughout Gatlinburg, TN. Register at www.springwildflowerpilgrimage.org

Nearby Knoxville celebrates with their Dogwood Arts Festival which features a vibrant mix of blooming gardens and trails, culinary and visual arts, crafts, theater, dance, music, film, and literary arts. Log onto www.dogwoodarts.com for more information.