Archived Outdoors

Group size limited at Whiteoak Sink during wildflower season

A photographer bends down to frame a wildflower. NPS photo A photographer bends down to frame a wildflower. NPS photo

During the wildflower season at Whiteoak Sink in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which extends through Sunday, May 7, visitors will be limited to groups of eight or fewer people.

Whiteoak Sink is a unique, sensitive area that hosts many rare plants. Limiting group size is intended to protect these species from trampling, which has been an issue in the past. Overuse causes damage and soil compaction when large groups crowd off-trail to take photos or view flowers up close.

A team of volunteers on site will provide wildflower viewing information and collect monitoring data. Park managers have monitored sensitive wildflower species in the Whiteoak Sink area since 2016. The Smokies has more species of flowering plants than any other North American national park.

Parking is limited, so visitors should come prepared with alternative destinations in case the lot is full. Parking is not allowed on road shoulders.

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