Best Places to View Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage in the Smokies

It’s time to get prepped for the fall! Before you head out on your foliage photographic journey, make sure you plan the perfect stops to take your shots! Besides listing some of the best places to view the fall colors in the area, we’ve also linked you up to some tips and tricks for getting those breathtaking photos.

Mountain Trails & Scenic Drives

Getting a brisk hike and pairing it with a memorable photo is always a winner. Some hiking trails that offer wonderful views are the Andrews Bald, Mt. LeConte, Rocky Top, and Mt. Cammerer (we’ve blogged about this one before). You can also take the steep hike up to Clingman’s Dome for a full panoramic view. Be sure not to miss the scenic photo overlooks where you can pull off and grab a picture from the Blue Ridge Parkway, which starts in the southern part of the Smoky Mountains at Oconaluftee (milepost 469), or the Foothills Parkway within the Smoky Mountains.

PRO PHOTO TIP: What about the weather? The Digital Photography School has some excellent ideas for shooting in rainy weather or a washed-out sky. Use a polarizing filter if there are harsh shadows and glare. Try taking photos just after rain when the sun is peeking through the clouds. Brave the cold and try to get frosty details on foliage.

Cabin Comforts

Cabins with a beautiful mountain view are plentiful in this area. You can get stunning photos from the comfort of your cabin. Wildwood Mountain Cabins, one of our partners, offers the Amazing Views cabin with stunning views, while accommodating up to 10 guests. Carries Cabin is a private oasis near Cosby, TN, with total seclusion and privacy and sleeps up to 12 guests.

Don’t Forget the Falls

Waterfalls beautifully display the majesty of nature and make a prime subject for photography. The Smokies are home to photogenic falls like Abrams Falls, Rainbow Falls, and Laurel Falls.

PRO PHOTO TIP: When taking pictures of waterfalls, make sure you take the right equipment, plan on shooting on an overcast day, and decide on the best composition of the falls. Then adjust your polarizing filter and do post editing if needed. Check out this tutorial on what equipment you should take and what settings you need to modify on your camera. Using a small aperture and the lowest ISO speed are a good start.

Photos and Fun

Who says you can’t have a little fun while planning some fantastic photography sessions? Places like Ober Gatlinburg are excellent for getting panoramic views, and you won’t spend too much to get them. Ober offers a chairlift up to Mount Harrison (3,590-ft elevation), where you can get a stunning photo of Mt. LeConte.

We hope this list added a few locations you hadn’t considered for your next photo outing. Let us know if the ideas we shared for taking photos helped you capture some amazing shots!