sun rays shining over a valley in the Smoky Mountains
September 21, 2012

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a city that serves as the gateway to the Smoky Mountains National Park. It is surrounded by mountains and offers many photographic opportunities of the spectacular and ever-changing Smoky Mountain views. A few of these spots are must-haves for the photo album of your trip.

View From the Aerial Tramway

Gatlinburg’s Aerial Tramway was built in 1973 to allow skiers easy access to the resort at the top of the mountains. It has become one of the best ways that visitors can enjoy the spectacular views of the city and surrounding areas as the tramcar rises 2.1 miles up the mountains.

Wildlife Viewing at the Cataloochee Area

If you enjoy photography and are wondering what to do in Gatlinburg, try the Cataloochee area that lies in the southeastern section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can generally see the elk that inhabit the area in the early morning or late evening. The elk are usually active on cloudy days or after storms have passed through the area. You will need stay a good distance away and use a telephoto lens to avoid scaring the animals.

Grotto Falls

One of the best photo spots in Gatlinburg is with in the park at Grotto Falls. This picturesque waterfall is 25 feet high surrounded by rocks and foliage. A round-trip hike to the falls takes about 3 hours. Portions of the trail to the falls are rocky so bring sturdy shoes and extra water.

Chimney Tops

One of the more interesting photo spots in Gatlinburg is in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at the top of the highest mountain in the range called Chimney Tops. The hike is steep and the rocky final portion of the trail makes for unique photos of the mountains. Along the way you will see wildflowers, mountain streams and a number of unique viewpoints of the mountain range.

Gatlinburg Space Needle

The Gatlinburg Space Needle is a 342-foot tower that offers visitors a 360-degree view of the Smoky Mountains and the city of Gatlinburg. You can ride the glass elevators to the top of the tower and find local landmarks in the viewfinders that are provided. Visitors can photograph a number of different aspects of the mountain views from this vantage point.

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