Photo Ops in the Smoky Mountains: 3 Great Locations

Photo Ops in the Smoky Mountains: 3 Great Locations

Given its diversity of flora and fauna, the Smoky Mountains is regarded as one of the most picturesque locations in the Eastern United States. Amazing sights are around every corner, and photographers seek out perfectly-timed shots of the the Smoky Mountains’ historic landmarks and amazing peaks.

It’s impossible to choose the best location for a shot of the Smoky Mountains, but three locations stand out due either to their unique vantage points or to their abundance of photo opportunities.

Cades Cove

One of the most popular areas in the Smoky Mountains, Cades Cove is a favorite among locals and visitors. Formerly home to several early settlers, this valley contains numerous historical sights and wildlife. It’s unusual not to see at least one bear or deer during summer and spring, and Cades Cove Loop, an eleven-mile loop which cuts around Cades Cove, provides fantastic shooting opportunities from the comfort of your vehicle.

Clingmans Dome

At over 6,500 ft high, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in Tennessee, and this dominant view of the Smoky Mountains is perfect for vast landscape shots during every season. The observation tower, built in 1959, seems designed with the photographer in mind, offering 360-degree panoramic views of various landmarks, mountain peaks, and cities. Visibility changes frequently, due to haze, so a quick check of the weather helps to choose which day to visit the tower. 

The Gatlinburg Bypass

Many visitors are unaware of the Gatlinburg Bypass, a route which cuts around the city of Gatlinburg, ending at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Though useful for avoiding heavy traffic in Gatlinburg, the Bypass consists of a number of pull-offs along the way. These easily accessible parking spots offer a bird’s-eye view of downtown Gatlinburg and the surrounding mountains. Spring, summer, fall, winter—each season affords the photographer different textures and perspectives of the city of Gatlinburg.

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