There has never been a better time to visit the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. True, the most popular time to visit the park is between the wildflower season of early spring through summer and into the peak autumn leaf color. But this may be all the more reason to explore East Tennessee with your camera during the wintertime.
Not only are the trails and roadways less traveled during these months, but with the leaves down, the sweeping views afforded from the mountains are not only more common, they are potentially longer, deeper, wider and all around more expansive.
Townsend, Tennessee roadway after a fresh blanket of snow.
One such photographic opportunity is the view from the perennially popular Clingmans Dome, deep in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains.
View from Clingmans Dome
Yet the wintertime photo-ops do not begin or end in the Great Smoky Mountains, but continue all across East Tennessee. From Roan Mountain and Rocky Fork State Parks in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northeast Tennessee, to the Tennessee River Gorge near Chattanooga, a keen photographer will relish winter's incredible and unique opportunities for the perfect shot.
Roan Mountain State Park views
Rocky Fork State Park
The National Scenic Byways of East Tennessee are one impressive - and, dare I say, warm - way to take in the wintertime views. A trip along the Cherohala Skyway, beginning near Tellico Plains, Tennessee and crossing the Cherokee National Forest into North Carolina, is one such drive. The two wings of the Foothills Parkway, located just outside the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, is another.
Truthfully, it is a physical impossibility not to find the picturesque beauty of East Tennessee in the wintertime. It won't take much to find it.
Hop in your car, turn the key and put it in drive.
Now head out on any road.
Great Smoky Mountains in snow
If you pay attention to the world as it slips past your windshield, you'll see it.
It's all around you, enveloping the landscape, immersive and immense.
It's East Tennessee, and I think you'll agree with me when I say that it's one of the world's most beautiful places - any time of the year.