Photographing Appalachian Mountains: Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook
Photographing Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook
Location: Blue Ridge Parkway
Best time of year to photograph: Year Around
Subject Focus: Landscape, Nature, Sunset
Mile Maker: 44.9 on The Blue Ridge Parkway
With an outstanding southwest view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook is a great spot to enjoy a beautiful sunset while driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
(200mm, F/16, 1/13 sec, ISO 100)
Located at mile marker 44.9 along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook is super easy to access and has an amazing view of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. Looking southwest over the Buena Vista, VA, this 2,485 foot overlook has a great view of the Apple Orchard Mountain and multiple other mountains and hills as they lead down to the Shenandoah Valley. Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook is located 0.6 miles north from the Humphreys Gap Entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway just off of US-60, making it super easy to get to. There is no park entrance fee, but this overlook is small, so only a few vehicles are able to park there at any given time.
(70mm, F/16, 1/4sec, ISO 100)
The main outlook facing west is overgrown, which blocks the view, but if you walk to the very southern end of Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook, it has one of the best views in Virginia along the parkway. The Shenandoah Valley and the multiple layers of nearby mountain ranges/hills make Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook an ideal place to photograph the Blue Ridge Mountains (click here for photography tips). Since the main vista looks southwest, this is a great spot for photographing sunsets. From late November through mid-February, you will be able to capture the sun setting from this vantage point. As the earth approaches the spring equinox, through the summer, until just after the fall equinox, the view of the sun setting will be blocked by a ridge directly to the west and trees to the northwest. But during these months, photographers will be able to capture a nice sidelight, which will help add depth and detail in the mountain ranges (click here for composition tips). With it being along the Blue Ridge Parkway, this makes it a great spot to stop and watch the sunset after a day on the trail.
(5 image pano, 110mm, F/16, 1/8sec, ISO 100)
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Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook is an easy to reach destination, located just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, North Carolina. The overlook provides a panoramic view of the Pisgah National Forest and Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain peak east of the Mississippi. In addition to being one of the most scenic spots on the parkway, Chimney Rock Mountain Overlook is also offers a perfect place to photograph sunrise. I arrived here well before sunrise, with enough time to set up my camera and find a perfect composition. The sun was rising behind me and shining through the a gap in the mountains in front of me. The light struck a series of small waterfalls that flowed through the mountainside below me, creating colorful morning rainbows as it passed through the mist. It was an incredible display of color, but more importantly it was an incredibly peaceful way to spend a morning, surrounded by some of nature's most beautiful sights.
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