Perhaps no other type of landscape is more capable of creating powerful photographs than mountains. Whether you are showcasing a flowing mountain stream, beautiful snow-capped peaks, or a pristine lake in a valley, the mountains provide plenty of possibilities. In this article we’ll showcase ten destinations in the United States that are ideal for mountain landscape photography.
→ Related reading: 10 Tips for Impressive Mountain Photography
Grand Teton National Park – Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park is located in Wyoming, just south of Yellowstone National Park, and is well known as a great place for mountain photography. Conveniently, many amazing views in the park are also relatively easy to access. The Snake River Overlook, Oxbow Bend, and Schwabacher’s Landing all provide iconic scenes. Teton Park Road, Jenny Lake Scenic Drive, and Signal Mountain Summit Road will all give you some great views.
Glacier National Park – Montana
Glacier National Park in northern Montana is a favorite of many landscape photographers. Going-to-the-Sun Road is one of the most scenic roads you will find anywhere. The road crosses through the park high in the mountains, proving plenty of great views and photo opportunities. The park is also home to several lakes that are great for including in your mountain photos. Lake MacDonald is shown in the photo below.
Mount Rainier National Park – Washington
Mount Rainier National Park, about 60 miles southeast of Seattle, includes Mount Rainier and other peaks in the Cascade Range. At more than 14,000 feet, Mount Rainier rises impressively above the surrounding landscape. The mountains, valleys, waterfalls, and meadows make this a great park to photograph.
Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park is conveniently located near Boulder and Denver. While there is no shortage of mountain views throughout Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular places. The park features stunning mountain views, lakes, wildlife, and trails for exploring. Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road provide plenty of beautiful views.
Sawtooth National Recreation Area – Idaho
The Sawtooth National Recreation Area in central Idaho includes 40 mountain peaks over 10,000 feet in height, and more than 300 lakes. The Sawtooth Scenic Byway (Idaho State Highway 75) provides access to the area. Redfish Lake and Little Redfish Lake are excellent for photographing with the mountains in the background.
Shenandoah National Park – Virginia
Shenandoah National Park is just about 75 miles west of Washington, DC. The centerpiece of this mountain park is Skyline Drive, a 105-mile road that runs the length of the park and includes 75 scenic overlooks. In addition to the overlooks, you can also find spectacular views from any of the hiking trails within the park (most of the trails start somewhere along Skyline Drive). For more details see our Guide to Photographing Shenandoah National Park.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Tennessee and North Carolina
The most-visited national park in the U.S., Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an ideal place to capture beautiful mountains in any season. Spring and fall are especially popular, but summer and winter are also great possibilities in this park. There are a few different roads that travel through the park, with overlooks and viewpoints providing quality photo opportunities. You can drive to Clingmans Dome and walk a short distance to reach the highest point in the park. For details please see our Guide to Photographing Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Mount Shasta – California
Mount Shasta is a 14,000-foot volcanic mountain in northern California. It rises beautifully above the surrounding landscape, making it a perfect subject for photos. The majestic, snow-capped peak is a favorite of many photographers.
Denali National Park – Alaska
Denali National Park in Alaska is home to Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley). At more than 20,000 feet in elevation, Denali is the tallest peak in North America. Denali Park Road provides access to the park and its spectacular views, although only a portion of the road is open to private vehicles. Traveling by tour is required to continue on the road beyond that point.
Wrangell – St. Elias National Park – Alaska
Wrangell – St. Elias National Park in Alaska ranges in elevation from sea level to 18,000 feet. Roads in the park are limited, but unlike several national parks in Alaska, traveling by car is possible.