The 49th annual Wildflower Pilgrimage will be held 22-24 April this year. Conducted by the Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association, the Pilgrimage consists of nearly 100 guided long and short walks, auto tours, talks and demonstrations to view wildflowers, trees, ferns, geology, and more. You don't have to be a biology major to appreciate this event - it's designed for the average Park visitor. The cost is normally $8 for adults and $5 for students. Children under 13 are free. Write GSMNP, 107 Park Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738 or call 423.436.1200.
On Wednesdays and Sundays at the Oconoluftee Mountain Farm Museum, Park staff and volunteers demonstrate and discuss selected aspects of past rural life in the Smoky Mountrains. All demonstrations are during the hours 2:00 to 4:00 PM.
The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont
The institute at Tremont is located on the Townsend, Tennessee side of the Park. Year-round, the Institute offers workshops and programs for all ages - from grade school children to groups and teachers. Programs include hiking, slide show demonstrations of mountain music, living history, and wildlife. A small fee applies. For more information, call (423) 448-6709.
The Smoky Mountain Field School
offers weekend workshops, hikes, and adventures for adults and families throughout the year. In cooperation with the National Park Service and University of Tennessee, experts on Smoky Mountain plants, wildlife, and history lead programs. A fee is charged. For more information call (423) 974-0150.
Cades Cove Biking
Each Wednesday and Saturday morning from May 'til September, the Cades Cove loop road is closed to motor vehicles until 10:00 AM for the benefit of walkers and bicyclers. If you don't have your own, bicycle rentals are available at the Cades Cove store for $3.25 per hour.
Nature empties her paint bucket on the trees each Fall in the Smokies. Foliage reaches peak color at the higher elevations first two weeks in October. During the latter two weeks of October, colors peak in the lower elevations. Some pockets of good color remain into early November.
For More Information
For events in towns adjacent to the Park, see the "Calendar of Events" in Rod's Guide to the Smoky Mountains.
You can also visit the pages of the National Park Service at www.nps.gov/grsm
Write: Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association, 115 Park Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738. Phone: (423) 436-7318