Graham County, North Carolina
Graham County, North Carolina is home to a one-of-a kind variety of native flame azalea and the history and beauty of this extraordinary plant is certainly worth celebrating. The Hooper Bald Flame Azaleas have blossoms that can be as wide as 3 and 1/2 inches with the colors of the blossoms ranging from a scarlet red to a brilliant orange to a lemon yellow.
Robbinsville and Graham County are very fortunate to have several existing public gardens exhibiting native azaleas. Azaleas begin to bloom in our county as early as May and continue to bloom, depending on elevation, through the end of June.
The famed flame azaleas can be viewed on Hooper Bald along the Cherohala Skyway between Robbinsville and the Tennessee/North Carolina border in June.
The Azalea Society of America has been nurturing these azaleas for over twenty years on the top of Hooper Bald. Traditionally, during the festival, experienced guides and azalea experts will be available to answer questions and lead visitors through winding paths bordered by multicolored flame azaleas, rain or shine. (This service will unfortunately not be available during our 2020, 3rd Annual Native Azalea Festival - We hope to see you in 2021 for this addition)
Huckleberry Knob, also on the Cherohala Skyway, is another favorable habitat for the native azaleas. A lovely hike rewards visitors with beautiful vistas, opportunities for outstanding photos and a scattering of the same rare varieties of flame azalea that grow in abundance on Hooper Bald.
In nearby Stecoah, the Stecoah Valley Center features a memorial garden dedicated to a patron of this cultural center. At a much lower elevation, the azaleas are in full bloom in May and well worth the visit to the Center. The Center is housed in an old high school and includes a craft store featuring local artists’ work - a wonderful spot to stop for a unique souvenir when visiting the area during any season.
Blooming azaleas can be seen throughout the town and along highway 129 from May through June and helped to earn Robbinsville the title of “Azalea City” in June of 2018.
We hope you will plan your visit during this time and add a few extra days before and after to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.