Trips: Great Smoky Mountains Spring 2017 - Snowy Surprise

Springtime in the Great Smoky Mountains always brings beautiful wildflowers and a certain quiet. This was especially true as a surprise snow fell on the higher elevations in late April. Accessing many of the Parks on the east coast when there has been a recent snow is an increasing challenge, which made this experience all the more enjoyable.

Sparks Lane in spring.

Sparks Lane in spring.

Sparks Lane, a gravel road bisects Cades Cove, in spring.

Sparks Lane, a gravel road bisects Cades Cove, in spring.

Dogwoods bloom and sprng's tender leaves emerge on the cherries, walnuts and oaks that lines Spark's Lane in Cades Cove.

Dogwoods bloom and sprng's tender leaves emerge on the cherries, walnuts and oaks that lines Spark's Lane in Cades Cove.

A springtime stream, guarded by numerous blooming dogwoods, the state tree of Tennessee, crosses under the bridge near the halfway...

A springtime stream, guarded by numerous blooming dogwoods, the state tree of Tennessee, crosses under the bridge near the halfway point of Cades Cove.

Springtime wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Springtime wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A yellow trillium blooms in the moist fertile soils below the woodland canopy of the Great Smoky Mountains.

A yellow trillium blooms in the moist fertile soils below the woodland canopy of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Woodland phlox blooms amidst the moss-covered timbers in Great Smoky Mountains.

Woodland phlox blooms amidst the moss-covered timbers in Great Smoky Mountains.

A dogwood blooms in the Great Smoky Mountains, a sure sign that spring is at hand.

A dogwood blooms in the Great Smoky Mountains, a sure sign that spring is at hand.

A late spring snow coats the first and hemlocks atop the highest ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains.

A late spring snow coats the first and hemlocks atop the highest ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains.

A spring snow covers the trees in the Great Smoky Mountains.

A spring snow covers the trees in the Great Smoky Mountains.

A spring snow storm has passed and the last rays of twilight catch the treetops above Newfound Gap, Great Smoky Mountains, 2017...

A spring snow storm has passed and the last rays of twilight catch the treetops above Newfound Gap, Great Smoky Mountains, 2017.

A beautiful evening for a drive across the highest regions of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with a few inches of fresh...

A beautiful evening for a drive across the highest regions of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with a few inches of fresh snow still coating the trees and grasses.

Twilight atop the snow-covered ridges near Newfound Gap.

Twilight atop the snow-covered ridges near Newfound Gap.

The woods are quiet under the weight of a wet snow.

The woods are quiet under the weight of a wet snow.

Newfound Gap offers one of the finest views of the Blue Ridge mountain ridges to the east, coated here in a layer of snow.

Newfound Gap offers one of the finest views of the Blue Ridge mountain ridges to the east, coated here in a layer of snow.

A band of golden light emerges below the passing storm clouds that have dropped a few inches of snow on this spring evening in...

A band of golden light emerges below the passing storm clouds that have dropped a few inches of snow on this spring evening in the Great Smoky Mountains.

At dusk there is  a quiet calm atop Newfound Gap offering incomparable views to the east and west.

At dusk there is a quiet calm atop Newfound Gap offering incomparable views to the east and west.

Twisting and turning, Highway 441 carves its way through the snow from North Carolina into Tennessee.

Twisting and turning, Highway 441 carves its way through the snow from North Carolina into Tennessee.

Snow covers the boughs of these evergreens.

Snow covers the boughs of these evergreens.

Snow coats some of the pines on the wind-swept ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Snow coats some of the pines on the wind-swept ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains.