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when to visit Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

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Burlington, IA
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when to visit Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

I am trying to plan a week long visit to the area but have not been able to figure out when to go. I am thinking of April or May of 2008. When are the flowers usually in bloom? Is the flowers that big of deal in the Gatlinburg area? I want to avoid the crowd as much as possible so I don't want to go in July and August or even late June. Thanks for the help.

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1. Re: when to visit Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

hi ! every year the smokies has a wildflower pilgrimage week...usually around the 3rd week in april..when the 2008 calendar of events comes out it will be listed...it is a big deal..many return year after year...it is not as crowded as fall and july....we go every year..we have our favorite trails that have the flowers...most of the spring flowers are very delicate,in shades of pink,purple,and yellow...some are a rare find (yellow lady slippers) and if you see one its like you have discovered a buried treasure! timing can be very trying...last year there was a very early spring,and most were gone...either way it is a wonderful time to go...if you decide to go i will be glad to share with you the trails we have found that provide the best viewing..altho its no big secret,,the info on the trails are very avalible at all park sites... i do love the fall,but the spring is so beautiful,its like watching the mountains waking up after a long winter..the park rangers also host walking seminars with visitors to introduce them to the different species....it is a great experience

Austin, Texas
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2. Re: when to visit Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

I am also thinking about a spring trip to avoid the crowds. Maybe the first week in May (before school lets out). I was just down there last w/end and I am not into crowds, I usually avoid PF and Gatlinburg and stay in the GSMNP as much as possible.

Gatlinburg, TN
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3. Re: when to visit Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

I am originally from the farm country SE of the Quad Cities. We made the 700 mile move here 5 yrs ago. When we came here on week long vacations, like you, we didn't want to fight the crowds. We normally came in April, May or September. The weather was always very pleasant and everything was open. In April & May there were always so many beautiful shades of green along with flowers, dogwwoods, mountain laurel, etc. As an added bonus, since it is not peak season, hotel & cabin rates are more affordable. Weekends are busy. The biggest caution during May or September are the Pigeon Forge Rod Runs that are scheduled for a couple of weekends during those months. If you get into the area when they are going on, the Parkway is a 3 lane parking lot both ways. Gatlinburg is always very well decorated with foilage no matter what the season. Its a great getaway after a long Midwest winter.

Bay City, Michigan
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4. Re: when to visit Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

Went over Easter a few years back. It was mid=April then. The Easter weekend was very busy, but the weekdays were not at all, so it was a good time to go. We enjoyed the weather (cool-some days warm) and the flowers were just starting in the mountains, not sure what kind-some rodo's probably. Many hotels and stores had flower baskets hanging out already. We liked the trees the best-some were in full bloom with full leaves, some were mid way and some were just in bud. This allowed us to see way into the forest, (yes, where we saw a bear), but it made if feel like Spring for us northerners, still experiencing winter. The bright green was beautiful also. I think this is one of the best times to go to the Smokies.

Glen Carbon IL
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5. Re: when to visit Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

I'd love to go in the spring, April or May. I bet the waterfalls are more full then.

Hokes Bluff, AL
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6. Re: when to visit Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

Anytime is great. We have been at least once in every month of the year. Each time there is always something to see or do. Each month also has something different about it. The Winter the snow on the mountains is beautiful. Spring the flowers are beautiful. Summer is a god time to see wildlife. Fall the leaves are beautiful. So to me anytime is great.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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7. Re: when to visit Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

I agree - if you really want to avoid spring crowds, do not go over Rod Run weekend. That being said, we always go because it usually falls over near our anniversary. The 2008 show is scheduled for April 17-20th.

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8. Re: when to visit Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

Anytime you can get there!!!!!!! I totally agree with Bical. Smokiesgrl, we too go for our anniversary . . . in Nov. (after the leaf crowd is gone). But we go several times a year and have been in each season. Spent Thanksgiving (a week) there last year with family at rented condo and it snowed!!! First time 7 yr old grandson had seen snow. Carrie, we have gone so much we know the back roads to avoid some of the crowd, but you can't get away from all of it if you want to eat. Weekdays are much better than the weekends . .

Cinn, OH
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9. Re: when to visit Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

We have been to the Smokies at all the different seasons, I can't say which would be my favorite. There are different things you can do depending on the weather. I must say one of our fav memories was when we went to Cades Cove right after a light snow, the deer were walking around, just beautiful.

Maryville, Tennessee
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10. Re: when to visit Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

There are several different rod runs during the year and that sometimes gets crowded. October is very crowded and Thanksgiving is reaaly crowded too. If you are aiming for April/May you should be good as far as crowds go...shouldn't be too crowded! Have fun!