Smoky Mountain National Park {St. Louis Landscape & Nature Photographer}

March 25, 2020 · Landscape & Nature, The Great Outdoors, Vacations

It’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago, I was exploring Smoky Mountain National Park with my parents, husband, and children. We were at the very beginning of the pandemic known as COVID-19, and on the brink of a very different way of life.

Upon our arrival home on March 17, 2020, we stepped into a new reality. I was grateful to have secured enough toilet paper for our family of five a week before leaving for Tennessee, as well as a decent amount of food, but I was still forced to make a few trips to multiple grocery stores over the course of the next five days in order to get more food to sustain us. I did thoroughly shower immediately upon returning home!

Photography events for which I was scheduled to shoot this Spring have been rescheduled for the Fall, many art shows have been canceled, and Spring portrait sessions are not being booked. My husband is working from home and the kids are soaking up as much screen time as they can before jumping into “Distance Learning” in a couple of days. Who knows what the next few months will bring! Until then, here are some images I captured during our time in Tennessee. I hope they bring a little bit of happiness and inspiration!

With Love,


I took this image by panning my camera downward with a long shutter speed.

We were lucky to see a mother Black Bear and her three cubs as we drove through Smoky Mountain National Park! Here’s one of the babies before she realized her mother and siblings were on their way up the mountain.

Mama Bear (with a baby in front of her):

Baby Bear calling for Mom:

We saw a lot of waterfalls as we drove through the park, some trickling down the mountainside and others only accessible by hiking on trails.

The trailhead to Laurel Falls is located 3.8 miles west of the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg or 13.7 miles from the Townsend “Y” intersection near Cades Cove. To get to the falls, it is a 2.3 mile round trip hike and is rated 2.93 (easy).

Please be careful when you get to the falls. Not only is it likely to be crowded, but the slick rocks between the top and bottom of the falls can be slippery and dangerous. We saw a number of people fall on the slippery rock.

It was practically a miracle that I was able to get this image from the bottom of the falls without any people in it! What appears to be the top of the falls is actually a big rock in between the upper and lower cascades. It took a lot of patience for me to finally have a few moments when that area wasn’t filled with visitors.

Abrams Falls is located about halfway through the eleven-mile drivable loop in Cade’s Cove. To get to the falls takes a 5.2 mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain of 675 feet. You’ll be at 1,758 feet at the highest elevation point. The trail is rated 6.55 (moderate).

A lone tree stands in the valley of Cades Cove with low hanging clouds drifting by the mountains in the background…

Located along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina is Newfound Gap, a mountain pass near the center of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Tennessee and North Carolina state lines crosses the gap, as does Newfound Gap Road. The view below faces Tennessee.

Here are two of my favorite images, both taken along the drive through Great Smoky Mountains National Park…

Great Smoky Mountains National Park {St. Louis Landscape & Nature Photographer}

One Comment

  • Kevin Luecke · Posted March 25, 2020 at 5:14 pm · Link · Reply

    So beautiful! Makes me want to go back so bad!

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