Landscapes,  National Parks,  Travel

Where to Photograph to Sunrises and Sunsets in the Smoky Mountains

The Smokey Mountains has numerous locations to photograph beautiful mountain vistas.  The sunrises and sunsets are especially Beautiful with the mountain scenery and ethereal fog.  Here are a few of my favorite spots for Smoky Mountain sunrises and sunsets.

Sunset at Newfound Gap

Sunset at Newfound Gap

Morton Overlook.  (Sunset)   GPS 35.617184, -83.423001

Morton Overlook is one of the most popular places to view and photograph the sunset in the smoky mountains.  From Morton Overlook you can directly photograph the setting sun.  Depending on the time of year and your positioning, the sun can be aligned to set between the peaks. 

Morton Overlook is a small pullout on the right hand side when coming from Gatlinburg on route 441.  The pullout is located right after the 3rd tunnel when driving from Gatlinburg.  The pullout fills up quickly in peak seasons and on weekends.  Plan to get there about an hour early to find a parking spot and claim your spot.

Sunset, Morton Overlook

Sunset, Morton Overlook

Newfound Gap. (Sunrise / Sunset) GPS: 35.611237, -83.424865

About 30 minutes from Gatlinburg and a little past the Morton Overlook is Newfound Gap.  The Newfound Gap provides a nice view of mountain vistas that can be photographed at almost any time of day.

The parking lot is on your left hand side when coming from Gatlinburg.  It has a large parking lot so parking is less of an issue than Morton Overlook.  Newfound Gap also has restroom facilities.

This is a better spot for sunrise if you want to directly photograph the rising sun.  However, this is a great spot to photograph the colors of the sunset reflected in a partly cloudy sky.

Sunrise, Little River Road

Sunrise, Little River Road

Clingman's Dome (Sunrise / Sunset) GPS: 35.557978, -83.493477

Clingman's Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  It is a good location to photograph both sunrise and sunset.

There is a 1/2 mile trail from the parking lot to the observation tower.  The trail is paved but steep.  However, good photographs can also be taken from the parking lot.

Pullouts on Little River Road (Sunrise)

There are several small pullouts along Little River Road between the Sugarland Visitor Center and Laurel Falls that are terrific to photograph the sunrise.  Even though these pullouts are small, crowds should not be a problem for sunrise.  There is much more competition for sunsets than sunrises.

If you are on your way to Cades Cove or another destination on Little River Road, take a minute to check the sunrise at these pull outs.

If you have a favorite spot to observe or photograph the sunrise or sunset in the Smoky Mountains, leave a comment and let us know.

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