Enjoying Nature’s Landscapes

By: Jackie Eurice-Kenney
A pasture with mountains in the distance

Mother Nature is an artist! From the floral blooms that decorate the valleys to the rolling hills and waterfalls surrounding Cades Cove where settlers lived off the land, the sights in the Great Smoky Mountains are gorgeous. While you are here, make sure to see some of these beautiful natural settings.


With over 100 cascading waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains, it’s no surprise that visitors jump at the chance to see some. They are often considered to be the most beautiful natural features in the park. And even though people will hike miles to get to impressive waterfalls, there are a few that are located close to a passing road for easier access. Rainbow Falls near Roaring Fork is famous for the spectrum of colors that is seen in its mist. Nearby is Grotto Falls, where visitors can walk behind the waterfall. Abrams Falls in Cades Cove showcases the force of gravity in its powerful waters. Serious hikers may enjoy taking an 8-mile round-trip hike to the largest falls in the Smokies, the 100-foot-tall Ramsey Cascades. If you’re traveling by car, look out for Meigs Falls west of Sugarlands Visitor Center, and the Place of a Thousand Drips at stop #15 on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It is worth the journey to see these gorgeous spectacles. Read more about these magical Smoky Mountains waterfalls.


Visit the Forbidden Caverns to see a part of the natural world that is usually hidden from us by exploring a cave. The guides will take you on a tour through underground passages and by beautiful rock formations throughout most of the year. In the summer, it is especially refreshing to go below the surface of the earth, into the cool, misty caverns and escape the heat of the sun. This destination near Sevierville is sure to astound visitors and is a must-see attraction while in the Smoky Mountains.

Wildflower Landscapes

Flowers are in bloom throughout much of the year in the Smoky Mountains. The lush petals that are found on shrubs, stems and trees combine to create a vibrant landscape that is rich in color. In late winter, just before the warmer spring temperatures, ephemeral flowers such as bleeding hearts, columbines, crested dwarf irises, painted trillium and others appear before giving way to summer’s flowers. The blooming season continues into the fall and early winter with the unique yellow petals of the witch hazel plant—a useful plant that has a variety of medicinal and beauty applications!

To learn more about the flowers in the Smokies, plan to attend the 70th Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage on April 21-25, 2020. At this event, nearly 150 programs will take place not only on wildflowers, but also on birding, bats, bears and more. Guided tours will showcase natural displays and educate attendees on plants that are currently blossoming.

Take time to discover the many wonderful aspects of these unique natural settings nestled within the Great Smoky Mountains. The sights you’ll encounter will remain with you for a lifetime.