Photography Destinations in the Smokies

It’s almost impossible to not reach for your camera when you visit the Smokies. A photographer’s dream is here among the diverse plant and animal life, expansive mountain views, and magnificent displays of nature at its wildest. Since the sprawling landscape offers too many picture opportunities to choose from, we picked our favorites for you.

Grab your camera and head to these photogenic locations of the Great Smoky Mountains!

  1. Capture History at Cades Cove


Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations for scenic views of the National Park. At times, that means cars and crowds, but if you get here at the right time, you might land on a great photo opp.




Mama bears have been known to amble through this area with their cubs making for a photo your friends won’t believe you captured. You can also wander through the historic structures here, such as a preserved church, a misty cemetery, and the old log cabin homes of a mountain farm.



Open sunrise to sunset, the drivable loop has a gorgeous mountain backdrop for some stunning photographs.




 2. Laurel Falls: A Short Hike to Beautiful Falls


Laurel Falls is a favorite for many.



It’s a beautiful waterfall with a bridge you can cross or just stand on right in a flat spot of the falls.



Roundtrip to the falls is 2.6 miles, and the hike is considered moderate in difficulty. This waterfall presents many wonderful photos with its centrally located bridge and standing room on both sides of the falls.


You’ll be able to get beautiful shots from just about anywhere around Laurel Falls.

  1. Picture 31-Miles of Beauty in the Newfound Gap



If you’re up for a mini road trip, the picturesque and extensive valley road of Newfound Gap snakes through the mountainous terrain between Cherokee, NC and Gatlinburg, TN.



The high elevation offers several ridges where you can pull over for a bird’s-eye view of the famously bluish and hazy mountains around you.



Capture the colorful Appalachian landscapes as you leisurely drive from overlook to overlook.


For the history buffs, several monuments dot the road, including the Rockefeller Memorial, and the place Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugurated the park in 1940.

     4. Photograph Expansive Vistas from Clingman’s Dome


Want to see it all? Experience the highest peak in Tennessee (and of the Appalachian trail) at Clingman’s Dome. A quick half-mile walk to the circular observation deck places you on what feels like the edge of the world.


At an elevation of over 6,000 feet, you get a panoramic view of the entire Smoky Mountain range. Take photos of foggy valleys, lush forests, and blue skies from this mountain where you can see 100 miles in every direction on a clear day.

   5. Abrams Falls


Although it may only be 20 feet high, Abrams Falls is a sight to see with the amount of water that flows over it. It’s a powerful flow of water, and a great place for pictures. The hike to see the falls is 5 miles roundtrip and considered moderate to hard. The hike is definitely worth the reward which you will see when you arrive at this breathtaking sight.




These are just a few of the hundreds of beautiful places for pictures here in the Smoky Mountains. The spots for pictures are endless, but these 5 we’ve listed off will definitely satisfy any nature lover’s appetite for a good photo opp.