In uploading my pictures from an especially scenic trip, I often find that I can never quite capture on a camera just what I saw in person. Of course, this is the case because in person I have taken in the entire experience—sights, smells, sounds, and the atmosphere of where I am. All of these components play a part in the image that we keep in our heads of a specific place. But I still love taking pictures of the places I visit, because pictures take us back. They not only serve as amazing art, but also as literal snapshots of moments in time that we wish not to forget.
Of all the places in the world I have visited, the Great Smoky Mountains have provided me with some of the most incredible photos yet. In the park, I can get mountain vistas, wooded valleys, quiet streams, families of bears and deer, and vivid wildflowers. In town, bright lights and bustling streets allow for great nights shots. If you want to take some amazing photos back home from your getaway to the Great Smoky Mountains, try visiting some of the following spots. They offer up some of the best views in the area.
Cades Cove: No matter how many times I take a trip around the Cades Cove Loop, I always end up with more pictures. I’m constantly on the lookout for wildlife, and if I don’t spot any bears, I can always get some great shots of the historic buildings and fields of wildflowers.
The Space Needle: If you’ve been dying to try out that panoramic feature on your camera, this is the place to go. This 400-foot high observation tower offers 360 degree views of the Great Smoky Mountains and downtown Gatlinburg. The changing of the seasons is quite an incredible sight from this vantage point.
Aerial Tramway: This is a 2.1 mile cable car ride up to Ober Gatlinburg that provides some breathtaking views of the Smokies. Once at the top, there are tons of things to do, so you will have plenty of chances to get more pictures with the wildlife encounter, the carousel, or the chair swing.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Of course you won’t leave Gatlinburg without a camera full of wonderful pictures of the Great Smoky Mountains. Visit a few (or all) of these places for some beautiful photo ops:
- Abrams, Grotto and Laurel Falls (waterfalls)
- Clingmans Dome and the Blue Ridge Parkway (fall colors)
- Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Oconaluftee and Roaring Fork (historic buildings)