9 Best Adventure Photography Locations Around Western North Carolina

Asheville's Best Adventure Engagement Locations

These are our top picks as local Asheville Photographers for Adventure Engagement Photography and Adventure Elopement Photography locations around Western North Carolina. We chose these locations with photography in mind, if you are looking to just have an adventure these locations work as well. Looking for photo spots closer to Asheville or the Biltmore?


A newly engaged couple stands on top of Max Patch, looking off into the distance as sun rays peek through the clouds onto the distant mountain tops.

#1. Max Patch

A Favorite among locals and visitors alike; it is simply amazing on Max Patch regardless of the time of the year or the weather. It is a relatively short hike to the top, and Max Patch is on the Appalachian Trail if you want to do a bit of adventuring. If you want an adventure photography shoot without a long hike, this is the spot. In recent years, this site has been extremely popular, please practice “Leave No Trace”

Check out this guide to Max Patch

#2. Black Balsam

This is another bald mountain with long-range views. Black Balsam is also home to our favorite trails, which provide fantastic Balsam forest photos and mountain top photos. It is also possible to get waterfalls photos in this area to have it all in one photoshoot.

Asheville proposal photography adventure on top of black balsam. Newly engaged couple embracing one another on top of the mountain with distant views of the Blue Ridge Parkway and other peaks

#3. Janes Bald

Jane’s Bald is Wills’ personal favorite for hiking and photography. Jane’s Bald is located in the Roan Highlands and offers some fantastic photo opportunities. Janes Bald is also located on the Appalachian Trail, so there are plenty of adventures to be had. This area is called Carver’s Gap in the Roan Mountain Highlands.

#4. John's Rock

This is another fantastic area for adventure photography around Asheville. It provides long-range views at the top with a nice view of looking glass rock. It is also possible to take waterfall photos are Looking Glass Falls or any other falls in the area.

Couple in wedding outfit holding one another posing on a rock in the middle of the River you can see the white water washing by
Looking Glass falls in the background as looking glass stream cascades in the foreground. Best Waterfall Around Asheville for Photos

#5. Looking Glass Rock

Just down the road from John’s Rock, this is another go-to hike for Adventure photography. It is a slightly longer hike than John’s Rock but provides some fantastic views.

#6. Dupont State Forest

Land of the waterfalls, this is it! The trails are wide and easy to access, the waterfalls are stunning and numerous. We recommend Triple Falls, High Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Wintergreen Falls for photos. Hooker Falls for swimming. Anyone who wants Water Falls in their engagement photos should consider Dupont State Forest. Here is our guide

A newly proposed engaged couple in DuPont state forest out for an adventure. The couple holds each other as sunlight breaks through the forest, lighting her blonde hair in a golden bath. Both are visibly happy from the proposal and smiling at one another
Picture of one of the many waterfalls we use for Adventure photography in Asheville, NC

#7. Panthertown Valley

Waterfalls, waterfalls, and more waterfalls, if you are up for the hike in this rugged wilderness, you will be rewarded. If you love waterfalls, this is your spot. It is easy enough to visit six different falls in one adventure photoshoot. This area also offers privacy as it does not see as much traffic as some of the other spots.

#8. Cataloochee Valley

Fields, streams, and mountain views all with a large elk herd that will be present during the photoshoot. Some old houses and churches are accessible for the shoot as well. This place offers some one-of-a-kind adventure photos without much hiking.

Long Range view of Cataloochee Valley. Old Wooden fence in the forground and mountains with a sea of low lying clouds. This area makes for a wonderful engagement location.
Andrews Bald & Clingmans Dome is one of the best Adventure Photography Locations, capturing stunning image of couple standing on top of the bald mountain at sunset. The mountains are purple and the sun is bright orange.

#9. Andrews Bald & Clingmans Dome

Last but not least, Andrews Blad and Clingmans Done are located near Bryson City, North Carolina. Expect long-range views of the Great Smoky Mountains as you cross the balds. The grass fields make great backdrops for photos.

If you are looking for something a little different, maybe more remote or maybe fewer people we can help you find the perfect spot. We scout hundreds of locations per year, many have never been part of a photoshoot. Others are just off the beaten path yet perfect in every way. Example

The Best Adventure Photography Experience Ever

Julie Thomas

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