5 Best Spots to Shoot Photos on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Each year there are more and more photographers taking the scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to capture pictures of the Appalachian Mountains. The Parkway is dotted with overlooks with long range views that are easily accessible without even having to go very far from your car. Narrowing it down to just 5 was difficult, but I have compiled a list of my favorite spots to take pictures on the Blue Ridge Parkway for you to enjoy.
1. Craggy Gardens
Craggy Gardens is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway between milepost 364-367. The area has popular hiking trails that are known for their vast mountain views and one of the largest natural rhododendron displays the area has to offer. The eastern and western views provide excellent options for sunrise and sunset. The Craggy Gardens Trail takes you from the visitors center and is a mellow, steady uphill climb that crosses the high mountain grassy bald and leads you to Craggy Flats. The Craggy Pinnacle Trails lead you through exposed rocky outcrops up the trail to the top of the mountain where you will be afforded a view of the visitors center and the winding roadway below. The mountains, blanketed with grasses and mountain shrubbery, give the impression of a large garden.
2. Waterrock Knob
Waterrock Knob is located on the southern Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 451. It is the Parkway’s highest visitor center with beautiful 360* views of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains and into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including a view of Cherokee, NC in the valley below. There are both western and eastern views right from the parking lot which are perfectly suited for shooting pictures at either sunrise or sunset. You can also take in the scenic views along a somewhat steep hike to the top of the mountain on the half mile trail that leads out from the visitors center and takes you to a summit that is over 6,000 feet elevation.
3. Grandfather Mountain State Park
Grandfather Mountain, the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Linville, North Carolina. This State Park is a nature preserve with a wildlife habitat and the famous mile high swinging bridge. The 360* panoramic views often put you above the clouds giving surreal beauty of the mountain tops floating in the fog. Big rocky outcrops line the road offering excellent choices for stopping along side and snapping pics of the mountain views without much hiking. The environmental habitats for wildlife allows you to get natural pictures of the black bears without worry of getting too close. Open daily from 9-5 there is and admission fee to drive a vehicle through the park.
4. Julian Price Memorial Park
Julian Price Park is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 297. The 4200 acre park includes a beautiful high elevation scenic mountain lake with a 2 1/2 mile hiking trail that loops around the lake offering views in every direction. Grandfather Mountain can also be viewed in the background offering a iconic picture opportunities with the mountains reflection on the lake. You'll also find a campground there which is an ideal place to stay for easy access to other great photo spots in the area to shoot like the popular Rough Ridge trail, Beacon Heights, and the iconic Linn Cove Viaduct bridge that wraps around the side of the mountains.
5. Mabry Mill
Mabry Mill is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 176. The historic watermill is the most photographed place on the Parkway. It was built in the early 1900’s and it is still operational. Next to an old fence and rhododendron bushes the picturesque old mill is situated in a clearing above a pond offering some fantastic reflection possibilities. The Mabry Mill Trail is a half mile hike that loops around the mill and includes more picture taking opportunities of this idyllic setting. The best time to get good lighting is early morning just after the sun rises.
I hope these tips will help you to improve your own photography. Use the links to navigate forward, backward, or go to the "Main Menu"