Cruisin’ Little River Road for Wildflowers – A Photo Essay

What to do if you’ve got half a day to kill on the Tennessee side of the Smokies? Well, if it’s April, the obvious conclusion is a wildflower hunt along Little River Road between Sugarlands and the Townsend-Y.

On Saturday, April 21st, I had an invitation to the annual Great Smoky Mountains National Park Volunteers Appreciation Banquet, but it wasn’t to begin until 6:00 PM. So I planned to arrive in the morning and spend the day exploring various of the dozens of quiet nature trails looking for Spring wildflowers, and checking the progress of the greening season.

You don’t have to hike for miles to find interesting things in the Smokies. The nature trails are perfect examples. Each is anywhere from half a mile to perhaps a mile in length, and they may follow a creek, explore the forest, or offer the opportunity to find unusual wildflowers that may not be out along the roadside.

I found a couple flowers that were new to me including a lone Star of Bethlehem and white baneberry. It seems each time I go wildflower hunting I am rewarded with something new.

The nature trails aren’t the only places of interest along Little River Road for the 18 miles from Sugarlands to Townsend. The roadway follows Little River nearly the entire distance providing plenty of chances to grab a seat along the bank, and listen to the soothing rush of the flowing water.

The river bank also nourishes many a wildflower, and supports some beautiful flowering trees. There are plenty of pullouts along the way to more closely examine whatever sights may catch your eye.

I finished the day in the park before heading to the banquet at the Sugarlands Valley Interprative Trail, a half mile wheelchair accessible walkway through a dense hardwood forest. The devastating fire of November 2016 raged through here, so there is the obvious damage, but what is also noticeable is the natural recovery that is occurring. I even found an elusive wildflower I’ve been looking for for years the showy orchis a nice way to culminate the day.

Enjoy the photo gallery below of my April adventure to Little River Road. Please feel free to leave any comments you may have at the bottom of the page. Thanks for visiting!



This post was created by Jeff Clark. Please feel free to use the sharing icons below, or add your thoughts to the comments. Pack it in, pack it out. Preserve the past. Respect other hikers. Let nature prevail. Leave no trace.

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