Park & Pilgrimage Information

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Important Details About the 2017 Pilgrimage

The 67th Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage offers 148 programs over four days during the peak of the spring flowering season in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Professionally guided walks and evening presentations explore the region’s rich natural and cultural resources. Most programs are conducted on trails in the park while evening talks are presented in the Mills Conference Center. All programs are held rain or shine. The Pilgrimage headquarters is located at the Mills Conference Center in Gatlinburg, Tennessee where participants pick up pre-registration packets, register on-site, attend evening programs, and meet for van departures.

The program booklet lists Pilgrimage programs by date and time. Each description includes meeting places(capital letters in parentheses are keyed to map on pages 27-28), walking distances, hiking difficulties, trail ratings from easy to very physically challenging, and registration limits. Driving time (DT) is from Mills Conference Center in Gatlinburg, Tennessee to the meeting site. Popular programs are repeated at different times and days and are referenced under “similar programs.” An alphabetical index of all program topics and destinations appears on page 21 of the brochure. Programs that begin at trailheads or other park sites require participants to arrange their own transportation.
Vans are provided where trailhead parking is limited and are denoted with a trolley icon. Participants are strongly encouraged to use the free van service when provided.

Overview of the Event
Mills Auditorium will be open on April 11, 2017 from 5-9 PM for onsite registration and registration pick-up for those who registered on-line. Programs begin on Wednesday morning April 12 and continue until Saturday afternoon April 15.  Evening indoor programs are conducted at Mills Conference Center April 12-14 and at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts on April 12. Outdoor programs are conducted in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and are led by National Park Service staff and volunteers, educators, and professional and amateur naturalists.