Staff picks: Best photo op locations in East Tennessee


The Bearden Hiking Club always ends up in great photo op locations, such as this view from Spence Field on the club’s March hike.

Spring is a great time to go out and enjoy the outdoors and beautiful Tennessee scenery. Grab some pals and a camera, and go enjoy the spring weather while taking some Instagram worthy pictures at these spots close to home.

Farmer’s Markets are not only a great place to find fresh foods and handmade crafts, but they also look amazing on Instagram. Stacks of fruit, bright flowers, and rows of stalls make for great photo opportunities. As markets start opening, consider smaller markets like Ebenezer or Lakeshore as well as the larger Market Square Farmer’s Market. [Allie Gruszkiewicz]

I really love to hike, and a bonus is that some hikes have really beautiful trails and photogenic spots. Fall Creek Falls overlooks about six different waterfalls. All along the trails, there are little overlooks in which you can climb and take pictures next to some of the most beautiful natural waterfalls. Not only can you see these falls from a height, but you can hike your way down to the base of the fall and get a picture with the water above you. [Madison Tenney]

Since a photo is worth a thousand words, it’s worth it to search for a place to take the perfect photo. For a nice background and easy access to food, I would suggest the pond park on Northshore, located behind Moe’s and Papa Murphy’s. With benches, a waterfall, a bridge, and dappled sunlit trails, the pond is a great place for the occasional photo op. [Madison Chan]

Being an avid photography student, I have scoped out some easily accessible areas in Knoxville that I think are incredibly photogenic. One place that I love to visit often is Bluegrass Road. There are a couple of fields along the side of the road that are beautiful in the summer, and some of pastures have horses in them as well. I have used these spots for photography assignments many times before. A more general area that I love to take photos in are old buildings downtown. The old brick and the feeling of years of use can give an interesting tone to a photo. [Kira Suerth]

I am not a huge fan of taking pictures, but Knoxville has many great places to take pictures outdoors. One of my favorite places has to be House Mountain, which is only 30 minutes from downtown. House Mountain offers 5.8 miles of trails which offer many great places to take pictures while also giving you a fun hike along the way. [Tyler Hotz]

Even though I’ve only been there once, Norris Dam is a beautiful place to take pictures. I took my senior pictures there as did the other five groups of people in front of me. The greenery and old Grist Mill are the perfect backdrop for any kind of pictures as well as hanging out and enjoying the views. [Katie Matthews]

Ijams is an amazing place to explore and take pictures. There are so many hidden gems if you don’t mind a little hike. If you visit the visitors center, there is also a little Tennessee wildlife exhibit you can check out if you want to take a break. [Cassidy Bailey]

I definitely don’t decide to just go out and take pictures, but if you are that type of person, the Chimney Tops hike in the Smoky Mountains is awesome. If you climb the rocks at the end, the background is perfect for pictures. Of course if the Chimneys aren’t an option, Neyland Stadium is only 20 minutes away. [Wyeth Wilson]

If you are looking for a quality location to snap a picture of the amazing scenery that East Tennessee has to offer, but don’t have the time to go on a full blown hike, a brief, but fun, adventure is a trip up to the bluffs that overlook downtown Knoxville. The little trail near Quarry Trail Apartments leads to an overlook that offers an incredible view of the skyline with sights such as Neyland Stadium and the Sunsphere. [Maggie Kimber]

If you have a pet, literally anywhere can be turned into a photo op. Dog climbed a tree? Photo op. Cat brought a mouse in? Photo op. Hamster chewing on wood chips? Photo op. However, if you take a nice drive down Cades Cove and stop in one of the fields, you can get a majestic picture of your furry friend looking out at the mountains. Talk about serene. [Danielle Fannon]