Archived News

Take a walk in the woods

Trilliums bloom in the Highlands  Nature Center Botanical Garden. Dylan Lytle photo Trilliums bloom in the Highlands Nature Center Botanical Garden. Dylan Lytle photo

Spring is here, bringing with it ample opportunity to get outside, stretch your legs and enjoy the abundance of wildflowers and other plant life in the Southern Appalachians. 

  • Take an easy stroll through the Botanical Garden at the Highlands Nature Center in Highlands 4-5 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout April. Participants will see which spring ephemerals are blooming while learning identification tips and the flowers’ unique characteristics. Programs are free, with no registration necessary. 

  • Volunteer-led trail walks will explore the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville at 1 p.m. Tuesday, and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturdays. Topics and trails will vary based on weather, trail conditions and guide expertise. Walks are first-come, first-served, with signup sheets at Baker Visitor Center. 

  • The Haywood County Recreation Department is offering five hikes this month featuring wildflowers and warmer temperatures, starting with a moderately challenging 5.3-mile hike on the Chestnut Branch Loop in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Wednesday, April 5. Other hikes include a challenging 9.75 miles on the Art Loeb Trail Saturday, April 1; a 3.8-mile hike to Ferguson Cabin Tuesday, April 18; a 5-mile wildflower hike on the Mountains-to-Sea-Trail from Balsam Gap Ranger Station to Standing Rock Overlook Sunday, April 23; and the 6.3-mile Black Balsam Tennet Mountain Loop Wednesday, April 26. Register for hikes at

  • Spring wildflower hikes in the Big Creek Area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will step off Tuesday, April 11, and Saturday, April 15. Wildflower enthusiast Donna Machen will lead these 4-mile roundtrip hikes to Mouse Falls while helping to identify the diversity of wildflowers on display this time of year. The event is part of Haywood Waterways Association’s “Get to Know Your Watershed” series of outdoor activities. It is free for members with a $5 donation requested from nonmembers, who can sign up starting March 30. Space is limited, with a parking tag required to park in the Smokies. To reserve a spot, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 828.476.4667, ext. 2 or 3. 

Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.