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Rhododendron in bloom - hiking trails in June?

Miami Beach, Fl
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Rhododendron in bloom - hiking trails in June?

Could anyone recommend hiking trails that will have rhododendron in bloom in Graham County or in the southern part of the Smoky Mountain National Park (perhaps the Twenty Mile Falls Trail)?

We will be staying outside of Robbinsville, on Lake Santeetlah from June 9 - 21.

Thanks in advance!

Adirondack, New York
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1. Re: Rhododendron in bloom - hiking trails in June?

The two most fabulous displays of Catawba rhododendron and flame azalea are on Andrews Bald and Gregory Bald.

Andrews Bald is around 4 miles round trip hike from the end of Clingman Dome Road. Mid-June should be a perfect time for this hike.

Gregory Bald is 17 miles round trip but this hike takes you to the most breathtaking display of Catawba rhododendron and flame azalea you ever see. The trailhead for this hike is near Fontana Dam and I recall we passed the park ranger station somewhere in that area. Display of rhododendron and flame azalea should be glorious around June 20.

Miami Beach, Fl
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2. Re: Rhododendron in bloom - hiking trails in June?

Thanks for the trail information, Adirondack.

I had emailed Graham County Travel & Tourism and I am going to copy & paste their response as it may be helpful to others:

Mountain laurel (rhododendron family) are now in full bloom and will be for

the next two weeks. As the Mountain laurel fades out the larger leaf Rhododendron will come into bloom from the middle of June thru the end of the month. Both are highly visable along the shores of Santeetlah Lake. Both species are common along most any trail in Graham County. The Mountain laurel is found on primarily drier, sunnier exposures and the Rhododendron is found in the wetter, more shaded areas.

The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Trail is a good place to find Rhododendron and there's a short trail near the Cheoah Ranger Station that usually has lots of Mountain laurel in bloom. It's called the Massey Branch Fitness Trail and is less than a mile walk.

Please stop by Visitor Center on the US 129 Bypass between Cable Auto Parts and Collins Auto Sales when you're here and we will be happy to give you more detailed info/maps. The Cheoah Ranger Station is another good source for trail info. They actually have better maps (for sale) there.

Edited: 02 June 2010, 01:53
florida
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3. Re: Rhododendron in bloom - hiking trails in June?

You may be a little early from the 9-21. With that said let me fill you in.

Take the Cherohala Skyway out of Robinsville. As you climb in elevation the rhodos and flame azaleas should start to appear. When you get over 5,000 feet look for the pull off to Hooper Bald. Turn in here and go to the parking area. Take the short easy 1/2 mile hike to Hooper Bald. You will find some of the most beautiful Flame Azaleas in the world. You will see yellow, red and orange ones. I would go around June 15th here.

I would take the Smokey Mountain eway to Cherokee. Get on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Cherokee. The next 50 miles will be the most beautiful drive you will ever take. The first 20 miles as you climb up will be flame azaleas and mt. laurel ivy in bloom. Once you get to 5,000 feet the rhodos will begin to chime in. It is so pretty. Around June 16-20 is best.

One other place near Robinsville to see the flame azaleas is Wayah Bald. So pretty here.

Do a google on all these. Hope this helps.

Lake Santeelah is a beautiful lake. I envy you.

Edited: 02 June 2010, 06:24
Miami Beach, Fl
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4. Re: Rhododendron in bloom - hiking trails in June?

Thanks so much for the information! We are so excited!

florida
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5. Re: Rhododendron in bloom - hiking trails in June?

How about a trip report Journeyer?

Miami Beach, Fl
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6. Re: Rhododendron in bloom - hiking trails in June?

It's my pleasure to share our experience this past June in Graham County! Sorry about the delay in posting. I'll put the trip report as a separate post.

Thank you for your comments and suggestions! It was much appreciated!

Edited: 10 August 2010, 21:14
Miami Beach, Fl
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7. Re: Rhododendron in bloom - hiking trails in June?

Posted trip report! Can be found here:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1438847-i12759-k3…

florida
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8. Re: Rhododendron in bloom - hiking trails in June?

I did read your trip report. It was wonderful. Sounds like you two had a very realxing 2 weeks. I can see you buying a summer home in the area haha.

Next time visit the last week in April. The redbud and dogwood trees are in full bloom. The wildflowers are at peak. No one around at this time. Hope this doesn't get around lol.

Miami Beach, Fl
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9. Re: Rhododendron in bloom - hiking trails in June?

Good tip about earlier in the spring. Who knows.....Once again, thanks for your helpful tips.

10. Re: Rhododendron in bloom - hiking trails in June?

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