There has never been a better time to visit East Tennessee than in the winter months. With the leaves fallen, the sweeping views afforded from the mountainous area are not only more common, they are potentially longer, deeper, wider and all around more expansive. Here are just a few winter photo spots to explore in Tennessee.
Take in the expansive views from the popular Clingmans Dome, deep in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. Climb to the observation tower of Clingmans Dome for 360-degree views of mountains and spruce-fir forest. It's the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at 6,643 feet and is the highest point in Tennessee. The site is also the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi River. On clear days, you can see over 100 miles of views.
Make Northeast Tennessee your outdoor playground. Mountains surround you when you make your way to Roan Mountain State Park in Roan Mountain. At the base of Roan Mountain is the state park that is more than 2,000 acres full of rugged ridges, Doe River that runs through the center of the park and mountain views that will take your breath away. Stay in one of the cabins or tent camp at one of the 106-site campgrounds. Hike along the creeks and ridges on the 12 miles of trails or cross-country ski during the winter. Whatever activity you choose, you'll want to stop every so often to take in the beauty of the area and, snap a picture or 100.
Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park offers expansive views of the southern Appalachian Mountains with 2,076 acres of outdoor adventure. Nearly 20 miles of marked trails provide views of the Southern Appalachian Forest and direct access to the famous Appalachian Trail. Multiple granite and quartzite cliff faces can be found in the park, making it a great place to rock climb. Make your way to Whitehouse Cliffs for nearly 40 routes currently developed or in development. A climbing permit for each climber is required.
A trip along the Cherohala Skyway, beginning near Tellico Plains, Tennessee and crossing the Cherokee National Forest is a drive full of scenery and unique stopping points. With the Great Smoky Mountains to the northeast and the Tennessee River Valley to the west, you're in for a scenic treat. Vistas, hiking opportunities in the Cherokee National Forest and many pull-over stops for a quick photo can be found along the skyway. Before you start your trip, visit the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center where you can get help on mapping out your course and browse local area souvenirs and gifts.
Foothills Parkway - Gatlinburg
The Foothills Parkway's east and west routes, located just outside the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, are a must-drive. Take the Foothills Parkway East portion for a scenic drive down the historic highway for beautiful mountain views to the south and the valley to the north. The Foothills Parkway West portion will take you to unparalleled views of the Smokies, valley and ridge from the western section of the Chilhowee Mountain. Scenic pull-offs for many photos are along the way. About 10 miles into your drive, visit the observation tower at Look Rock, the section's highest point.
Enjoy the picturesque beauty of East Tennessee in the wintertime and share your captured moments on social media with #madeintn and tagging @tnvacation.