horses in Cades Cove

Top 6 Wildflowers and Where to Find Them in Cades Cove TN

flame azalea at gregory bald
February 14, 2020

Wildflowers are just one of the things that draw people to Cades Cove TN. In the early spring to the late summer, you will be able to find all kinds of beautiful flora in the area. From hiking trails to the empty fields under the mountains, there are all kinds of places you will find flowers. Here are the top 6 wildflowers and where you can find them in Cades Cove TN:

1. Black Eyed Susans

black eyed susans with monarch butterflyAs soon as you drive onto the Loop, you’ll probably be able to spot black eyed susans. These yellow orange flowers have black centers, which is where they get their name from. You’re probably going to mostly find them in the empty fields all over Cades Cove where deer, turkey, and other wild animals like to graze. You might even spot some butterflies and bees pollinating them!

2. Flame Azalea

One of the most popular wildflowers you will see in Cades Cove TN are flame azalea. The most abundant growth of flame azalea is at Gregory Bald, which is an 11.6 mile trail that is considered difficult. The trek to the top is worth it because of the range of flame azalea. Gregory Bald actually helped the national park become established because of a botanist that was brought with a conservationist to scout out areas in the southeast for national parks. The botanist was blown away by the diversity in this area and advocated that just this area alone should make the government consider the area for a national park. Some of the colors of flame azalea you will see include red, orange, yellow, white, pink, and multi-colored.

3. Butterfly Weed

butterfly weedAnother wildflower you’re likely to see in Cades Cove TN is butterfly weed. This bright orange flower is hard to miss. You’ll probably see it along the road and in the fields, covered in butterflies and other pollinators.

4. Rhododendron

The Smoky Mountains are known for having rhododendron all over the place. You can see this wildflower along the road, on hiking trails, or pretty much anywhere! In Cades Cove specifically, you are likely to see it near some of the historic buildings, as well as along the Abrams Falls hiking trail in the spring.

5. Mountain Laurel

mountain laurelYou’re likely to see mountain laurel where you see rhododendron. This spring wildflower blooms along the path of hiking trails, including Rich Mountain Loop, Abrams Falls, and Gregory Bald. these dainty whitish pink flowers are very popular.

6. Lady Slipper

Cades Cove TN is full of purple, white, and yellow lady slippers. You can find them along the trails as you hike to the waterfall or bald. If you stop at any of the historic buildings where there are trees, you might see them there too. Lady slippers like the shade!

Bonus: Rich Mountain Loop

Rich Mountain Loop is another hiking trail that starts in Cades Cove TN. It is 8.3 miles roundtrip and is considered moderate. This hiking trail is known for the greatest diversity of wildflowers. There’s mountain laurel, violets, flame azalea, yellow ragwort, butterfly weed, and much more.

Cades Cove TN is the place to be if you want to see a wide range of wildflowers! You probably also want to see wildlife in Cades Cove. Check out these tips for when you see wild animals in Cades Cove!

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