Where to Photograph in Smoky Mountains National Park
From personal experience, these locations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are the best for landscape photography. I also offer my thoughts on when are the best times of the year to be there to capture the best possible photographs.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of my favorites for all the beautiful mountain scenes and winding rivers. There is also something very cozy and comfortable about this Park that makes it a joy to be in.
My Favorite Locations
Nothing speaks Smoky Mountains more than a photograph of the surrounding mountains from Clingman’s Dome, the high point in the park. The area is laid out perfectly for photography with a curved, double width sidewalk that extends all the way from the east to the west to provide for both sunrise and sunset photography. It can be chilly up there, so be prepared.
The rolling meadows, tree lined lanes and the restored structures of the Cades Cove settlement provide the photographer with a multitude of possibilities. In the Spring, there can be some nice fog in the valleys in the early morning. I recommend getting there well before they open, as the one way loop road can be crowded and slow. I just can’t shoot in the Smokies without going there at least once.
The Little River runs along side the winding road on the north side of the Park. There are numerous pullouts and photographic possibilities. Spring brings bright green foliage and Fall brings warm yellows and oranges. The curving road with stone walls is an attraction by itself.
Heading south from Laurel Creek Road just outside of Townsend is Tremont Road that follows along the Little River and the Middle Prong of the Little River. The width of the river is narrower here than it is on the main road, allowing for better scenes of overhanging branches from the trees. There are lots of places to park along the road and explore.
Other Locations In Great Smoky Mountains National Park
If you have the time, it’s worth checking out The Foothills Parkway, Roaring Fork Motor Trail on the north side of the Park. Along US 441 going over the mountains there is the Chimneys Picnic Area, Chimney Tops Trail, Alum Cave, Morton Overlook and Newfound Gap. On the North Carolina side, there is the Mingus Mill, Mingo Falls and some more great river access areas.
Best Times To Be At Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Spring brings wildflowers and Dogwood trees in bloom, usually in mid-April. Fall colors can be from the beginning to the end of October, depending on elevation. The third week of October is usually the best compromise. There’s not much going on after October, but there’s more than enough to keep a photographer busy in the other months.