One of the best parts of any vacation is sharing the sights, experiences, and memories of your trip with friends and family back home. When you return from your trip to the Smoky Mountains, you'll surely want to bring some excellent photos to share your stories.
But where can you find the best places for taking photos in the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge?
Besides showing off the views you enjoyed on your Gatlinburg log cabin's porch, here are the top 11 places for taking photos in Gatlinburg and the National Park!
Smoky Mountain Nature Photos
1. Newfound Gap
Newfound Gap is one of the most popular spots for photos in the national park for several reasons. First, this destination rests along the main crest of the Smokies and offers views of mountains in two directions.
Next, Newfound Gap sits squarely on the Tennessee and North Carolina state border. Vacationers travel here to take the ever popular "standing in two states picture."
Finally, the beautiful Rockefeller Monument is built into the mountainside and offers a stunning spot for photos. Additionally, the Appalachian Trail crosses through this spot.
Morton Overlook just before the Newfound Gap Parking Area is another classic Smoky Mountain overlook for photos. From here, you'll be looking back at the Newfound Gap Road as it winds through a series of ridges.
2. Cades Cove
A drive along the 11 mile Cades Cove Loop Road will yield dozens of photo opportunities. From towering mountain backdrops to lovely fields to simple homesteads and mountain churches, there are plenty of memorable photo spots. Cades Cove is also home to beautiful wildlife like deer, turkey, bears, birds, and bobcats.
3. Clingman's Dome
Going up to 6,644 ft. is bound to take your photo op to a whole new level! From the New Found Gap parking area, vacationers can drive the gorgeous Clingman's Dome Road up to a small parking area near the mountain peak.
The lot is located on an open face of the mountain that offers stunning views of the North Carolina Smokies. By hiking a bit further, visitors will notice the prime photo opportunities provided by the Clingman's Dome Observation tower.
4. Grotto Falls
One of the most unique photo spots in the national park is Grotto Falls on the Trillium Gap Trail. Over time, erosion has created a cave that the water cascades over. The Trillium Gap Trail passes behind the waterfall by going through the cave. Not only is this a one-of-a-kind photo opportunity in the Smokies, but it's also a great way to stay cool in the summer heat.
5. National Park Signs
As cheesy as taking a family photo beside a national park sign can be, it's hard to turn down a classic. You can find these signs at every entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and each one of them offers a pull-off just for your photo shoot.
5. The Foothills Parkway
This scenic roadway is a lesser-known treasure outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but it offers incredible overlooks that just beg for photo opportunities. The section of the foothills parkway near Townsend, Tennessee is especially beautiful. Visiting the parkway in the fall will yield gorgeous pictures as the mountains turn into a patchwork of yellows, golds, reds, and orange hues.
6. The Gatlinburg Space Needle
You'll find great panoramic views of Gatlinburg to share with family and friends from atop the Gatlinburg Space Needle. From this viewing tower in the heart of town, you can see the entire valley below.
7. Gatlinburg Bypass
This overlook close to town sits along the Gatlinburg Bypass that's a prime area for photos. In addition to offering a scenic route around Gatlinburg, you can admire the tall mountains above Gatlinburg, TN including Mt. LeConte.
8. The Gatlinburg Sky Lift
This scenic chairlift operates right from downtown and brings guests high atop Crockett Mountain near Gatlinburg. The views of Gatlinburg from here are from a higher elevation than both the Space Needle and the overlook on the Gatlinburg Bypass.
9. The Historic Ogle Cabin in Downtown Gatlinburg
Not to be confused with the Bud Noah Ogle Place, built by a descendant of William Ogle, that rests within the boundary of the national park, this Ogle cabin is located near the Arrowmont Crafts School in downtown Gatlinburg. In fact, this cabin is one of the oldest buildings in all of East Tennessee.
Pigeon Forge Photos
10. The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel
For unforgettable views and jaw-dropping pictures of Downtown Pigeon Forge, a trip to the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel at the Island is in order. This is no simple Ferris wheel but is instead a large wheel with climate-controlled gondolas. Bring your camera for photos of Pigeon Forge and the nearby high peaks of the Smoky Mountains.
11. The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge
The oldest structure in Pigeon Forge and one of the most photographed spots in the Smoky Mountains can be found at the Old Mill near Patriot Park in the heart of Pigeon Forge. S. River Road is directly across the Little River from the Old Mill. A picture of your family with the iconic old mill in the backdrop is a must for your Smoky Mountain vacation. After you snap some great family pictures, you can grab a delicious dinner at the Old Mill Restaurant.
Final Thoughts on Great Photo Spots in the Smokies
From panoramic mountain views to beautiful, old home sites, there are plenty of golden places to take gorgeous pictures of the Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg. Don't forget to bring your camera to share the unforgettable sights you'll see on your next vacation!
Have any pictures from a past trip to the Smokies? We'd love to see them! Simply share them in the Facebook comment bar below.
Written by Hayden Brown