Last week we showcased 15 of the most iconic destinations for landscape photography in the United States. While all of those locations are well worth a visit, there are plenty of other locations that are equally perfect for photographing, even if they are not as well known. Today we’ll showcase 10 of these under-the-radar locations. Many of these places are popular within their regions, but they don’t have the national, or even worldwide, recognition of places like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone.
Browse through this list and see if there are any destinations that would be easy for you to visit.
Related reading: 25 of the Most Surreal Landscapes in the United States
Bushkill Falls, Pennsylvania
I lived in Pennsylvania for about 20 years before knowing that Bushkill Falls existed, but as soon as I visited for the first time it became one of my favorite places in the state. Located in the Pocono Mountains, Bushkill Falls is a privately operated and includes several different waterfalls. The main falls are easy to access, aside from many stairs that might wear you out a little. Other falls require a hike, a few miles roundtrip. The park is beautiful in all seasons (although it is closed for much of the winter), but it is especially amazing in the fall. See our Guide to Photographing Bushkill Falls.
Redfish Lake and Little Redfish Lake, Idaho
Idaho’s Redfish Lake and Little Redfish Lake are located on the northeast edge of the Sawtooth Mountains. Little Redfish Lake is located about one mile away from Redfish Lake. The area includes several lodges and campgrounds. Photographers can capture beautiful views of the mountains and lake, such as the one shown above.
Great Falls Park, Virginia
Great Falls Park is located in Virginia, just 15 miles from Washington, DC. It’s a small park of just 800 acres along the Potomac River, but it includes some beautiful views. The park includes 15 miles of trails, but the falls can easily be seen from a main viewpoint. The falls and the rocks of Mather Gorge make it a destination well worth visiting. If you’re going in the summer get there early because the parking lot is fairly small and can fill up, especially on weekends. See our guide to Photographing Great Falls National Park.
Mt. Shasta, California
Mt. Shasta is an impressive 14,000 feet and is separated from other mountains, so it makes for quite a stunning scene. The snow covered peak provides an opportunity for beautiful mountain landscape photos.
Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
About 30 minutes from Salem, Oregon is the beautiful Silver Falls State Park. The 177 foot South Falls (pictured above) is an amazing scene, and you can even walk behind the falls. A 9 mile loop allows you to hike through the park and see several different falls as well. In total there are 24 miles of trails in the park. If you want more than a day to explore and photograph the park camping is available.
Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania
Pine Creek Gorge is referred to as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. While it may not be quite as grandiose as the real Grand Canyon, it is still an amazing site worth seeing and photographing. You can get easy access to beautiful views of the gorge and the Tioga State Forest from the main entrance area, and there are also trails that you can hike all the way down to the canyon floor and the creek.
Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia
Blackwater Falls State Park is located in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia and is a great place for photographing waterfalls. The main Blackwater Falls is more than 60 feet high. The park also includes a canyon, and you can get a great view of the canyon at the Lindy Point overlook. Follow the trail that starts near the park lodge to reach Lindy Point. The lodge, cabins, and restaurant are open year round. See our Guide to Photographing Blackwater Falls State Park.
Cuyahoga National Park, Ohio
Cuyahoga National Park is located south of Cleveland and includes several different waterfalls. Brandywine Falls is easy to access and about 60 feet high. Blue Hen Falls can be accessed by a half mile trail. It is not a high waterfall at just 15 feet, but it is very picturesque, especially in autumn (as shown above). Also located in the park near Blue Hen Falls is Buttermilk Falls, although it is slightly more difficult to get to.
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is located on the coast of northern California. It is home to massive redwood trees, providing opportunity for photographers. The park is also full of wildlife, including elk, deer, coyotes, bears, mountain lions, and bobcats. There are 75 miles of trails in the park to allow you to get around.
Custer State Park, South Dakota
Custer State Park is located just south or Mount Rushmore and Rapid City, South Dakota. It’s also about an hour and a half drive away from Badlands National Park. The park covers more than 70,000 acres, includes granite peaks, and plenty of wildlife. You’re likely to see bison walking across the road or congregating in the fields. An 18 mile road loops around the park, making much of the park very easy to access. The park also includes campgrounds and lodges if you choose to stay overnight. See our Guide to Photographing Custer State Park.