Top Ten Parks for High-Summer Wildflowers

East & Central: "Wildflower National Park" (Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina/Tennessee)

The Smokies are such a rich biological stew that they are pretty much aflame with different blooms from early spring to the first killing frost of fall. In fact, among botanists, this park is known as "Wildflower National Park." The stretch from mid-June to mid-July is as good as it gets. Much of the park becomes overgrown with lush greenery, and immense rhododendron thickets—with brilliantly purple Catawbas and delicately light-pink rosebays—overwhelm all else in the higher elevations. Spiky, bright-red bee balm blooms along the banks of creeks; coneflowers, tall meadow rue, and joe-pye weed light the meadows; and in the steamy dells, ghostly-white Indian pipe and oddly coiled fiddlehead ferns hide in the shadows.

More Southeast Hot Spots

Other choice parks for southern Appalachian blooms are Shenandoah National Park, George Washington National Forest, Pisgah and Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina, and Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee.

More GORP Great Smoky Mountains National Park


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