North Carolina

A Wildflower Quest in the Mountains of Western North Carolina

Explore world-famous wildflower trails in the Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, stopping to identify blossoms with a naturalist along the way.
Rating (5)
Program No. 23036RJ
6 days
Starts at
6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5B 4L 5D
Deep Creek, Waterfalls
Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
Purchase Knob, Free Time
Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
Program Concludes
Lake Junaluska, North Carolina
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At a Glance

The Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway are abloom in spring and fall with countless species of wildflowers, just blowing in the breeze and awaiting your discovery. With an expert naturalist, learn to identify the diverse flora along creekside trails, through hardwood forests, on Appalachian peaks and in open, grassy fields. Linger in sunny meadows as you watch for butterflies and learn about bird migration, and breathe it all in as you enjoy 360-degree mountain views.
Activity Level
Outdoor: No Sweat
Long walks (up to 4 miles a day) on well-traveled trails, on rocky, mountainous terrain which may have tree roots, be covered in wet leaves, or have narrow footlogs to cross streams. We will hike along streams, in grassy meadows and in higher elevation locations along the Blue Ridge Parkway above 5,000 feet, making lots of stops along the way to view wildflowers and look at their characteristics. Various ability levels can be accommodated.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Walk along well-known wildflower trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park such as Kephart Prong and Baxter Creek.
  • During trailside lunches, learn about flower identification and the history and environments of the areas you’ll explore from your expert naturalist.
  • In the evening, enjoy live local music performances and presentations on topics such as explorers Bartram and Michaux and the local Cherokee peoples.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a single room to yourself for only $100 more (for many programs).
Featured Expert
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Michael Skinner
Michael Skinner is the executive director of the Balsam Mountain Trust, the nonprofit environmental education and research arm of Balsam Mountain Preserve located in Sylva, N.C. He is responsible for directing natural and cultural resource management, environmental education programming and scientific research on the Preserve. Before coming to Balsam Mountain Preserve, Michael was the Emmy nominated host of “Georgia Outdoors” on Georgia Public Television. He is an experienced field ecologist, naturalist, nature photographer, environmental educator, taxidermist and musician.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Michael Skinner
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Angela Martin
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Suggested Reading List
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