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2023 Native Azalea Celebration

The 6th Annual Native Azalea Festival in #YourNaturalDestination will kick off June 1st and last through Sunday June 15th! This year's festival will include both Virtual and In-Person opportunities to enjoy the blooms! 

Top Ways to Celebrate this Year's Native Flame Azalea Bloom

  • Capture the beauty of these incredible blooms and submit your images to the Graham Star's photo contest.  From local, backyard blooms to images of the abundant reds, oranges, and golds atop Hooper Bald, there's countless spots to grab that picture perfect moment. Be sure to pick up a copy of the Graham Star Newspaper or explore their website for the digital publication here

  • Enjoy the landscapes all across Graham County, NC along a self-guided, driving tour of easily seen Azalea blooming sites. Meander along the Cheoah River, explore Stecoah Valley, and even head up across the Cherohala Skyway National Scenic Byway for a journey you won't soon forget. Grab your driving guide here. Also available for download at the bottom of this page.  

  • Curious how Hooper Bald became such a stunning destination? Wondering what history this place of the Azaleas offers? Join Revonda Williams, as she presents Hooper Bald: A Legacy in the Making at the Graham County Library on June 6th at 6:00PM. She'll share her family's history as the caretakers to one of the South East's most storied hunting lodges along with how she assisted in protecting and celebrating the Native Flame Azaleas that adorn the bald today. The Graham County Public Library is located at 80 Knight Street Robbinsville, NC 28771.

  • Ready for some "Flaming Hot Wings?" Thinking of trying an Azalea cocktail? Well, keep your eyes peeled as you stop in at our area resorts and restaurants for specials celebrating the annual Native Flame Azalea bloom. Who knows, this may be an opportunity to add to your photography submission for the Graham Star Azalea Photo Contest. 

  • Take a hike atop Hooper Bald for one of the most stunning vistas in the Appalachians. Wind through a secret garden of towering azalea bushes in a rainbow of fiery shades. These self-guided hikes are a great way to explore the beauty of the season along a fairly flat hiking trail. Don't forget your camera, comfortable hiking shoes, water, and snacks. 

  • Plan a picnic! After hiking up to Hooper Bald, plan a picnic at one of the countless pull-offs along the Cherohala Skyway National Scenic Byway. Many of the seasonal blooms can be enjoyed from your picnic table while taking in sweeping vistas that span states. 

  • Prefer a guided hike? Looking to dig a bit deeper into the history and lore of Hooper Bald? Then it's time to plan ahead for the ever-popular Hooper Bald guided hikes on June 10th. Be sure to call and register at Travel and Tourism. There's limited space so don't delay!  828.479.3790

  • Ready to try your hand at growing Flame Azaleas of your own? You're in luck! Join us at the Cigar Box Guitar Festival on Saturday, June 10th to purchase a flame azalea from Satterfield's Briar Patch.  These always go quickly so plan to arrive early for this one-day azalea plant sale. 

  • Send off the Azalea season with a very special Azalea Celebration Concert at Stecoah Valley Center on June 11th at 7:00 PM featuring "The Tim Shelton Syndicate." Come out for an evening of heart wrenching country ballads, splashed with elements of classic rock, anchored in hard driving bluegrass music. Learn more and grab your tickets here. 


Azalea hiking and area touring maps are NOW available at the Graham County Travel and Tourism Office located at 474 Rodney Orr Bypass Robbinsville, NC 28771 


Can't make it this year, be sure to Subscribe, Like and Follow our Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube pages. There you can view images from year's past, watch a 360* hike to Hooper Bald, enjoy a virtual hike from the comfort of your home, and even learn about the history and important cultural significance of Hooper Bald and the Native Flame Azalea. 

Past Native Azalea Festivals

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