Spring in the Great Smoky Mountains: Apr 28—May 05, 2012

Birds and Botany in the Southern Appalachians

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Please contact us if you would like more information on upcoming departures for this tour.

Departs: Knoxville
Tour Limit: 7
Operations Manager: Margaret Anderson
Download Itinerary: PDF (109.9 KB)

Tour Leaders

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Steve Hilty

Steve Hilty is the senior author of A Guide to the Birds of Colombia, and author of Birds of...


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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park— Photo: Steve Hilty

Birding and botanizing in one of North America's best known, and floristically most diverse national parks. Enjoy spring warblers and early and late spring flowers at their showiest.

The famous smoky haze, the rugged mountains, and the hardwood forests—these are images that bring to mind this well-known region. Many have seen the area from the byways and parkways, but it can be explored and enjoyed on many levels. This trip takes a slower, more probing look at the complexity of this timeless and multifaceted region.

Like our Ozarks and Tallgrass Prairies trip, this tour seeks to bring together birds, botany, and a natural and cultural history of the Southern Appalachians. We will visit plenty of back roads as we bird and botanize through wet valleys and along high ridges. Our trip coincides with spring migration and with the blooming of many spring wildflowers. Expect a diverse array of activities and a fully packed natural history experience.

This is a non-strenuous trip operated at a leisurely pace. Our longest walks (two) are about one-and-a-half miles. Participants should be in reasonable physical condition, but there are no strenuous hikes. The maximum elevation on this trip is 6,600 feet, but most activities are below 3,500 to 4,000 feet. This is an excellent trip for photography.

Good accommodations and food; most of trip operates from one location; travel by van; easy walking on well-maintained trails; relaxed pace; some outdoor picnics; curvy mountain roads.