Skip to main content

Discover the Wonders of Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook

Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook

image provided by Gatlin Scenic Overlook

Visitors know that when they visit Gatlinburg they will get some of the most fantastic views in the world. The Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook, however, is a must-see spot that takes the picturesque landscape of the Great Smoky Mountains to an awe-inspiring level. Below is everything you need to know. 

The Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook provides guests with a view of not only the majestic mountains but an incredible perspective of the downtown area below. With no admission fees and open 24/7 all year long (except for inclement conditions), you can enter the overlook at any time.

When To Visit

Preview the morning hours where you can gaze upon the misty mountains, or stop by during the clear light of late morning and afternoon. At night, the twinkling lights of downtown Gatlinburg and all its restaurants and attractions are a sight to beyond, especially the lit-up Space Needle, a 407-foot observation tower in the middle of the city. You will also see Anakeesta, a popular outdoor adventure spot in Gatlinburg that features ziplining, dining, and a mountain coaster.

image provided by Gatlin Scenic Overlook

Every season is magnificent, offering different perspectives of the mountain range, the hiking trails, and the valleys below. The brilliant reds, oranges, and golds of the fall foliage and vast variety of trees are breathtaking, but so is the snowy mountainside of the winter months. In fact, since the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook is situated on the Gatlinburg Bypass between the Spur and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the winter views of the overlook are some of the most photographed spots in the area. 


When you arrive at the bypass, you’ll find four parking areas. While all have a great view, parking in the second or third lot is highly recommended for the best and most dynamic shots. Start snapping your photos as soon as you get out of your vehicle since every angle offers a different perspective of the mountains, especially the third highest peak, LeConte Massif, with Gatlinburg in the background and below.

Tips For Capturing The Perfect Shot!

Another place to check out on the overlook is the sign that reads, “How is the view?” Here guests will see a photo of the spot from the past, letting you see how the landscape may (or may not!) have changed over the years. The plaque in this spot also points directly on LeConte right in front of you, just in case you aren’t sure which peak it is. There is another photo at this checkpoint that shows what a hazy day in the mountains looks like, an unfortunate side effect of air pollution. Compare the photo to what you see that day to check out air quality during your visit. 

One of the most dramatic details you’ll notice at the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook is the elevation contrast between Gatlinburg itself and the Smoky Mountains. The height and beauty of the mountain range is stunning, and seeing the twinkling, bustling city below creates a perfect photo op.

Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook

image provided by Gatlin Scenic Overlook

The photos you take at the overlook will make great memories for your scrapbook or photo album, but they can also be part of your next holiday card, family photo on your wall, or a party invitation. Think about the story you want to tell with your photo and select the right spot from there. For example, if the mountains are your focal point, make sure you see plenty in the frame, but if it’s the colors or the city below, shift your central image. 

Time of day is also important, and earlier is actually better for your photo’s lighting. Noon sunshine can be bright and harsh, which will affect depth in your images. Softer morning light offers the best contrast. For night shots, choose early evening when it is not too dark yet but the mood of the final product will be just right.

While the mountains are an incredible focal point in your photos, don’t forget the smaller details, like an interesting flower or tree, or even wildlife you won’t find in your hometown. Zoom in on those for a different type of picture.

Some technical tips to remember include taking several shots of the same photo so you have options, bringing extra batteries and memory cards for cameras, and using a tripod for a stable, well-set photo that will have less blurring.

Explore The Gatlinburg Scenic Outlook!

Don’t forget to put down the devices and just enjoy the beauty of nature while you are standing on the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook!

Looking for luxury in the Smoky Mountains? Be sure to check out these stunning properties in Gatlinburg Tennessee to find the perfect one for you!