Top 3 Things to Do in Gatlinburg in the Spring

View of the Great Smoky Mountains in the spring

Do you feel that? The sun on your face, warm breeze circulating through your hair and dew – not frost – tipped grass under your feet – it’s Gatlinburg coming to life with springtime. If you’re looking for a way to indulge in the recent warmth, look no further than the Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Smoky Mountains or check out these other great things to do in Gatlinburg in the spring.

Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in Gatlinburg

Scheduled at the peak of spring, the event presents the Smoky Mountain wildflowers – and several other of the area’s assets – to tourists and locals in their most vibrant stages of bloom.White Smoky Mountain trillium flowers

The 65th annual wildflower event in the Smoky Mountains will be held Wed., April 21 through Sat., April 25, serving as a celebration of Gatlinburg ecology and culture. Over the course of five days, attendees can choose from nearly 150 indoor and outdoor programs, including wildflower, fauna and natural history walks, photographic tours, motorcades, art classes, and seminars. Programs will be hosted at the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and area venues throughout Gatlinburg, Tenn.

The Pilgrimage fee for adults is $50 for one day or $75 for two or more days. High school and college students are admitted for $15 for one or more days, and children 12 and under are free. Pilgrimage fees cover all program costs except for Wednesday’s luncheon event, which is $25 per person.

The following events are free and open to the public:

Wed., April 22

  • 5:30-7 p.m. – Featured Wildflower Artist Reception | Arrowmont School of Arts  and Crafts
  • 7:30-8:30 p.m. – Live Birds of Prey Show | Mills Conference Center
  • 9-10:30 p.m. – Night Owl Prowl | Mynatt Park Parking Area Off Cherokee Orchard to Begin Carpool

Thurs., April 23

  • 5-7:15 p.m. – Smokies Life Magazine Reception and Celebration | Mills Conference Center Ballrooms A & B

Fri., April 24

  • 7-7:15 p.m. – Photography Awards Ceremony | Mills Conference Center Ballrooms A & B
  • 7:30-8:30 p.m. – The Tropical Smokies: From Warbler to Tanagers and from Cuckoos to Hummingbirds, How Our Birds Fit into a Tropical Landscape |  Mills Conference Center Ballrooms C & D

Anyone interested in exploring all the springtime beauty that the Gatlinburg have to offer can register online through 9 a.m. on April 20 or on-site at the Mills Conference Center starting at 5 p.m. on April 21.

Wild purple orchids in GatlinburgEarth Day Festival in Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg’s Earth Day festival on April 23 is a great way to tap into the area’s springtime beauty while learning how to keep it green and clean for years to come. Bring the entire family to Mynatt Park on Airport Road in Gatlinburg from 3-7 p.m. to learn about green practices while enjoying music, games, demonstrations, face painting, craft stations and more. Food and ice cream will be on sale from Cabin Café and Ben and Jerry’s.

Gatlinburg Hiking Trails and Nature Walks

Whether you’re investing a couple hours or several days, Gatlinburg hiking trails and nature walks are great things to do in Gatlinburg in the spring. Breath in the fresh mountain air and get moving on one of these trails listed below:

  • Gatlinburg Trail (easy) – 1.9 miles – As the only pet-friendly trail in the area, Gatlinburg Trail is perfect for the whole family, including Fido. This easy, relatively flat trail runs alongside the Little Pigeon River.
  • Little River Trail  (moderate) – 4.9 miles – This trail features wildflowers and a cascading stream as it climbs a gentle grade along an old railroad bed.
  • Middle Prong Trail (strenuous) – 8.3 miles – Previously a railroad bed used by the Little River Railroad Company, this challenging trail is worth hike, as it features some of the best waterfall views in Gatlinburg.
  • Cove Hardwood (easy) – .75 miles – This self-guiding nature trail offers some of the best spring wildflower viewing in Gatlinburg.
  • Appalachian Trail (strenuous) – 70+ miles – While the Appalachian Trail runs from Maine to Georgia, more than 70 miles of crestline trail runs through the Great Smoky Mountains and alongside Gatlinburg. The trail’s highest point, Clingman’s Dome, is nestled in the Smokies.


Looking for more family-friendly activities for your vacation? Be sure to visit our Gatlinburg events page for more things to do in Gatlinburg in the spring.

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