National Parks,  Nature

Hike the Ocanaluftee River Trail for Wildflower Photography

If you want a break from hiking steep mountain trails to photograph waterfalls, try the Ocanaluftee River Trail in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Creeping Phlox

Creeping Phlox

In the Smoky Mountains, I found wildflowers along almost every mountain trail.  However, sometimes a nice flat trail is a welcome change.

The Ocanaluftee River Trail is a flat 1.5 mile (one way) trail that runs along the Ocanaluftee River.

The trail starts at the Ocanaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, North Carolina.  The trail is mainly shaded by trees once you get past the farm settlement at the visitor center.

Roundleaf Ragwort

Roundleaf Ragwort

In the spring, the trail is loaded with wildlflowers.  Since the trail is shaded, it provides a good opportunity to photograph wildflowers during the daytime without blowing out the colors in the flowers.  Below are some of the wildflowers that I photographed along the trail.

  • Creeping Phlox
  • Roudleaf Ragwort
  • Wild Stonecrop
  • Mayapple
  • Wild Geranium
  • Purple Phacelia
  • Woodland Phlox
  • Buttercups

Wild Stonecrop

Wild Stonecrop

I also saw several birds along the trail including a Pileated Woodpecker.  So it may be a good idea to bring along a longer lens for some bird photography.

Written by Martin Belan

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