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6 Great Photo Opps In The Smokies

Posted by Leif Palmer in Smoky Mountains

These days, everyone's a photographer, right? It's pretty standard for folks of all ages to carry cell phones, and the vast majority of those phones have cameras. As a result, we're probably taking more pictures and documenting our lives more right now than at any point in history since the camera was invented.

Dolly statue in front of courthouse.

When you're visiting the Great Smoky Mountains, picture taking is a must. After all, there are so many gorgeous and photogenic locations that you'd be doing your friends, family and Facebook a disservice by not snapping away at all that beauty and sharing your pics for the world to see.

So the next time you plan to visit the Smokies (and hopefully stay in a Gatlinburg cabin rental), we have some suggestions for some places you might want to capture for your own personal archives. Whether you make those photos selfies or not is your business…

  1. The Dolly Parton Statue

Outside the mountains, this may be one of the most photographed sites in the Great Smoky region. The bronze statue is on the front grounds of the Sevier County courthouse in downtown Sevierville, and it depicts hometown girl Dolly Parton sitting with a guitar in her lap. No telling how many thousands of visitors have cozied up next to Ms. Dolly just to say, “cheese!”

  1. National Park Waterfalls

It's hard to single out any one waterfall destination in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so we'll just say that any waterfall or cascade you hike to is worthy of a camera click or 10. Some sites to consider include Abrams Falls, Ramsey Cascade, Henwallow Falls, Grotto Falls and Rainbow Falls. Just make sure you don't drop your phone in the water…

  1. Music Theater Shows

Here's one case where they'll take the pictures for you. Almost every music theater show in the Smokies gives you the option of having you and your party's pic taken by the house photographer on your way into the theater. You don't have to participate or purchase the final product, but these can make memorable keepsakes of your fun times in the Smokies. Similarly…

  1. Dollywood Rides

On many of the coasters and thrill rides at Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, cameras take your photo during particularly hair-raising moments. These pics aren't always terribly flattering – especially if you're in mid scream – but again, they can be amusing keepsakes of your visit to the Smokies.

  1. National Park Observation Towers

You don't always have to climb a mountain to get great views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Some of the area's notable observation towers are accessible by car and then require only a short hike. Examples include the Clingman's Dome observation tower in the national park and the Look Rock observation tower on scenic Foothills Parkway.

  1. Black Bears

Make sure you zoom in as close as possible, however. If you're so close to a bear that you can count his teeth in your camera's viewfinder, you might be a little too close. Always remember to keep a safe distance from bears you encounter and give them plenty of space to do what they're doing. No photo is worth ultimate harm to the bear or yourself.

Leif Palmer - Smokies blogger

About Leif Palmer

Leif Palmer loves residing in the Smoky Mountains. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.


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