Registration for the 67th annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage opens at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, March 1.
UT’s partnership with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a unique and mutually beneficial relationship. This collaboration supports and enhances public access, appreciation, financial support, preservation and stewardship of the park, while providing essential educational, research, and service-learning opportunities for students and faculty.
Each spring, hundreds of pilgrims from across the country and around the world, descend upon the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to experience and celebrate the remarkable views in what is known as the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage. In 1951, the year of the first annual pilgrimage, visitors atop Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the
“Would it be feasible to promote some sort of a spring flower jubilee?” It was that simple question, posed 60 years ago, that birthed an event that now attracts people from all over the country and the world to the Great Smoky Mountains every year for the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, being held this year April
Sixty years ago it was just a seed of an idea inside Bart Leiper’s head — a celebration of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Leiper, general manager of Gatlinburg’s Chamber of Commerce, wrote Samuel Meyer, then head of the botany department at UT Knoxville, requesting the department to arrange a so-called spring flower jubilee.
Every spring for the past 59 years, hundreds of nature lovers from all over the world have descended upon the Great Smoky Mountains as part of the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage. The event, which began with botanists from UT Knoxville, now involves as many as 1,000 participants.