June 10, 2018
We live and breathe these mountains and we are wildly lucky to live in an area like this. Let’s be honest, the Blue Ridge is the best. There are several places that photographers and clients alike love in the area – folks come from literally everywhere to shoot in these locations, and for good reason. Below are a few spots that you’ll see routinely on blogs, IG, and google’s top 10 epic Asheville elopement locations.
1: Black Balsam
Black Balsam is one of our favorite spots to spend time and hike. It’s special to us for a number of reasons and it’s woven into the threads of our love story. This particular area is super popular because it’s pretty central, an easy hike with mild elevation gain, and the views are killer. The trail itself has been overhauled due to erosion and it’s actually much easier now than it was in the past. Also, you can make the hike what you want, it can be 5 miles or it can be 1 mile. Lots of folks love Black Balsam because it offers a 360 degree view at the top. It also includes a rad pine forest at the trailhead and it makes a stunning and moody backdrop.
2: Looking Glass Falls
Looking Glass is gorgeous; like, jaw dropping gorgeous. It’s one of the easiest places imaginable to get to. You’ll find it right off of 276 – directly off the road. You walk down a couple flights of stairs and boom, you’re there. There are also a couple of viewing spots at the top of the parking area and at the bottom of the stairs. Looking Glass is great if you want to get a few shots of your couple or bride with an epic backdrop with zero effort. It’s also great for pregnant clients that need an easy walk.
3: Craggy Gardens
Craggy is similar to Black Balsam but a little easier. There are several places to step off the well worn trail to use for photos – including a small rock outcropping. It looks like Lothlorien in there, you expect to hear Sam’s pots and pans rattling as he and Frodo make their way down the trail. As you near the top of the Pinnacle trail there is a small area that is great for a few photo ops with awesome views. Once you’re at the top you’ll find a walled in area for shooting. A lot of folks hop the rock wall to get on the “cliff” below. The Forest Service asks that you don’t do that as to not threaten the endangered species of native flora that only grow in that habitat. When peak wedding season is in swing you’ll find it’s wildly busy with photographers and their clients, be sure to be courteous to others as it’s a small area with limited space.
4: Moore Cove Falls
Moore Cove is a spot that takes a bit more effort than Looking Glass Falls. Not as many people choose to shoot there because of the walk. We’ve recommended it to a few photographers and they have enjoyed taking their clients along the easy trail to the falls. The water flow is often dictated by the amount of rainfall we’ve had, it varies from a trickle to a solid flow. The area around the falls is easily accessible from the viewing area and it has a cave look to it. You can also walk behind the falls, it’s a unique experience. The hike is about 1.5 miles round trip with little elevation gain.
5: Max Patch
Max Patch is unique because you can make it a longer hike around the mountain or you can head directly up the well worn path from the trailhead. This is another great spot for a 360 view and the sunset here can’t be beat. The longer hike is around 2.4 miles and the shorter trail is 1.4 miles, it depends on the experience you want. The elevation gain is significant if you choose this way but it’s all exercise, right?
Despite all of their advantages and beauty, you won’t find us shooting at any of them very often. We don’t consider these areas adventures for a few reasons. One of those reasons is because they’re so popular, it’s difficult to find a place that offers privacy – especially during the high seasons. Another reason is their ease of access, walking down a flight of stairs or an easy trail doesn’t scream adventure to us. We believe an adventure shoot is more than just holding hands and walking down the parkway or using a pretty overlook. We aren’t knocking the idea of these areas being an adventure to some, they just aren’t to us or our adventure clients.
We take our adventure clients to places that you have to earn. We want to show you our mountains, the parts without tourists or other photographers. We want to show you a local perspective – including a love for the land. Our hearts beat to the silhouette of the Blue Ridge mountain range. We walk and explore the trails, we know the plants and animals, we swim in the rivers, we hug the trees, we spend time out in the woods because they are home. We love and respect them, they offer solace and renewal. Sometimes when we’re out exploring we’ll find areas that we know we’ll share with the right clients one day. We aren’t going to be scrambling around the masses trying to get “the shot”. We’ll enjoy our surroundings and experience what it’s like to be out in the wilderness, soaking up what Mother Earth has to offer. It’s not about “the shot” it’s about the experience. When we visit the areas listed above it’s likely because they have special significance to the clients we’re working with; that is something worth honoring. Or we know that the area will resonate with them the same ways it does with us – not just as a means to an end to get the “epic money shot”.
If you’re looking to book with us, you can expect more than jumping out of the car at an overlook or shooting at an instafamous location. We’ll take you to places you won’t find on google’s top 10, places you’ll have to give a name. Or, maybe you’ll take us to a place that is close to your heart. Either way, adventure awaits!