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.

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Sparks Lane in spring.

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

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

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

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Springtime wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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Twilight atop the snow-covered ridges near Newfound Gap.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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Snow covers the boughs of these evergreens.

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