Where to Photograph 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
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
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
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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Thanks for sharing your photos and info in this post. My favorite locations are Clingman's Dome and Newfound Gap. I think I photographed from Morton's Overlook, based on your description of it, but I don't remember seeing the name of the overlook while I was there. At my blog I've published a detailed guide to the park that you may be interested in – https://loadedlandscapes.com/great-smoky-mountains-national-park/
Thanks for the comment and visiting the blog.