Flowers do more than lift our mood and fill the air with the kind of perfume you can usually only get in the finer department stores. Some studies suggest these colorful wonders can bolster your compassion or even help you heal. If you’re interested in seeing the best that nature has to offer in Asheville, we’ll tell you where to see the best wildflowers.
1. Graveyard Fields
Despite its name, Graveyard Fields is one of the more popular trails in the Smoky Mountains due to its large open areas and rushing waterfalls. Honeysuckle, asters, and galax are just the tip of the iceberg during spring. Depending on the rainfall and annual flower patterns, you’ll see anything from evening primrose to foamflower. Visitors are delighted by the sheer variety of blooms when they visit during spring, but they’re not left disappointed if they come in the summer either. The wildflowers may not be as bright in the hotter months, but the blueberries and blackberries are out in full force.
2. Linville Falls Trail
When the rhododendron bushes are in bloom on Linville Falls Trail, it seriously competes with the views of the eponymous waterfall. But no matter which part of the trail is the most memorable for you, this trail has something for everyone. Amidst the carpeted grassy woodlands, oak trees, white pines, and birch, wildflowers peek out from every corner on the trail. Stop and marvel at the tiny flowers, or try to capture part of its intricate beauty with your camera. Simply walk over the bridge that spans the river to start the hike and get ready for the path to give way to a pastel wonderland.
3. Craggy Gardens
Located in a subrange of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Craggy Gardens can be a dangerous place to visit in the winter. But when the weather starts to even out, the area is a must-see for wildflower buffs. Craggy Gardens isn’t known for its towering trees, which is how its shorter shrubs can flourish in the sun. During the latter part of June, the gardens truly come alive with color. And while you won’t get quite the same effect if you come later on in the summer, many of those flowers have a long shelf-life that will last throughout the season. If you’re feeling like a bit of a walk, try the Craggy Pinnacle Hike. This short trip provides a birds-eye view of the flowers below.
4. Rainbow Falls
The mist from the many falls in Asheville provides more than just relief for sweating hikers, it also gives the wildflowers the nourishment they need so their petals can really thrive. Located in Gorges State Park, Rainbow Falls is named for the colorful prism that shows up in the sunlight. But even if you go on a day when you can’t see a rainbow, that doesn’t mean you won’t see all your favorite hues from the wildflowers in the steep meadow along the way. As with so many of the hikes in this area, it’s the rhododendron that creates the scents you’ll associate with the mountains all-year-round.
5. Shortoff Mountain Trail
The Shortoff Mountain Trail has been rocked by fires more than once, but nature has a way of renewing itself without any help. As you head down the trails, you’ll see the remnants of the original trail before the fires in the form of hollowed-out tree trunks. The lack of trees in this area may be unfortunate after the devastation of the flames, but the lack of coverage has only encouraged more wildflowers to thread through this still gorgeous trail. Make sure to bring your sunscreen and get an early start on this one during the summertime.
6. Bridal Veil Falls
Home to a number of famous movie scenes, there’s a reason why the dramatic Bridal Veil Falls is featured on this list besides its iconic tumbling waters. Nearly every route you take to this destination will give you a glimpse at the plant life of the DuPont State Recreational Forest. White, pink, and purple flowers are usually the most common colors you’ll see in this area, but don’t be surprised to see some bright oranges and yellows, depending on the time of year you go.
7. Wildcat Rock Trail
This hike may be on the demanding side, but it’s also on the most rewarding excursions you can take near Asheville. The banks of the streams along the way provide some of the best living conditions for a wide array of wildflowers. From the ruby giant to the spring beauty, you might want to take a nature book along the way to ensure you don’t miss a thing. The diversity of the Wildcat Rock Trail is legendary, and a truly great way to distract yourself from the heart-pounding inclines that you’ll experience on your way to the top.
8. Max Patch
There are few things more enticing to nature lovers than the prospect of seeing endless meadows and fields full of color. Max Patch is an unrivaled viewing spot to see the Bald Mountains along the border of North Carolina, and one of the most beloved spots on the nearly 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail. While not the tallest perch by any stretch of the imagination, it’s one of the more appealing places to see the flowers from above. And while you won’t be able to capture the details the way you would on a trail, the sprawl can be every bit as beautiful.
Whether you spot blooms in the flowerbeds of Asheville’s main roads or you take to the highest peaks of the mountains, you’ll have plenty of opportunities no matter where you roam. The best part is that no two days are the same because the landscape is constantly changing. If you explore one or more of our top picks, there’s no doubt you’ll find your own favorite viewing areas for wildflowers.