While winter snow can be an amazing sight to see in person, it can also make photography a challenge. Snow-covered landscapes look very different from their summer counterparts, and photographers often find themselves having to navigate new and complex lighting conditions when trying to take beautiful photos of the season’s first snowfall. For the best results, check out these 10 places in the U.S. for snow photography — all you’ll need is your camera and an adventurous spirit!
1) Yellowstone National Park
Photographers who want to capture animals at play or undisturbed by human presence, Yellowstone is a great place to go. Even if you’re not going there specifically for that reason, it’s hard not to fall a little bit in love with all of those elk and bison lounging about on their winter vacation.
2) Yosemite National Park
If there’s one place you should visit during winter, it’s Yosemite National Park—particularly if you have a thing for snow. In fact, there are only two seasons in Yosemite: summer and winter. That’s because most of its attractions are best appreciated when Mother Nature does her thing, like draping Half Dome with a blanket of snow or highlighting North Dome with cascading icicles.
3) Glacier National Park
Considered one of North America’s best places to see snow, Glacier National Park is home to a number of breathtaking views as well as winter sports enthusiasts, who come from all over to try their hand at cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Hikers also flock here during cold months; exploring its trails is a popular pastime.
4) Olympic National Park
This national park, located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, is a photographer’s dream with lush green forests and snow-capped mountains and peaks—just what most people think of when they imagine a winter wonderland. The park offers snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails for beginners to experts, as well as dog sledding, guided walks and ranger programs that will get you outdoors even if you don’t want to brave cold temperatures or unpredictable weather.
5) Zion National Park
This place has so much beautiful scenery to photograph during winter, from Snow Canyon to Weeping Rock, and from Zion Canyon Overlook to The Great White Throne and Checkerboard Mesa. Since it is a park within an hour’s drive of many major cities, such as Las Vegas, St. George and Salt Lake City, it is one of the best places for snow photography in winter due to its accessibility.
6) Canyonlands National Park
Winter is a great time to visit Canyonlands National Park, which straddles Utah and Arizona, to get away from crowds and take advantage of striking winter scenes like snow-topped mesas. As temperatures drop during these months, wildlife can also be spotted more easily than in warmer weather.
7) Cuyahoga Valley National Park
What started out as a national park in 1974 has transformed into a destination that draws photographers to Ohio year-round. The Cuyahoga Valley runs alongside one of Ohio’s biggest rivers, which is frozen solid during much of winter and ideal for ice photography. It’s not only snow and ice that bring photographers here, though; Cuyahoga also features plenty of wildlife that is well-suited to stunning nature photos, including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys and beavers.
8) Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Nestled in Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a photographer’s dream—with its scenic trails and views of waterfalls and mountains alike. Home to black bears, white-tailed deer, raccoons and more than 100 types of birds, it’s a wildlife lover’s paradise, too!
9) Grand Teton National Park
It’s one of America’s most photographed National Parks, and with good reason: It has a ton of beautiful spots for snow photography. One thing that makes it even better is that Jackson Hole, Wyoming is only about a two-hour drive from Denver International Airport! This means you can easily get there during your winter vacations; you don’t have to wait until spring break or summer vacation.
10) Mount Rainier National Park
With 100+ inches of snow each year, Mount Rainier is one of America’s premier destinations for snow photography enthusiasts. On a clear day, you can see 16 mountain ranges from its 5,400 foot peak—one of which is Rainier itself! For more information, check out our guide to Mount Rainier National Park’s hiking trails and top 10 waterfalls.