4 Insider Tips For Planning Your Roan Mountain Engagement Photos

You’re Planning Out Roan Mountain Engagement Photos, Let Me Give You The Inside Scoop:

I may be biased, but there are no views quite like the ones you get from the Appalachian Mountains. Unlike anywhere else in the country, you’ll find the most lush mountain greenery from just about any spot and panoramic views that take your breath away. One session I always enjoy getting to hike for, though, will always be Roan Mountain Engagement Photos.

There is something just so intimate and wonderful about climbing up from Carver’s Gap to the top of the Round Bald and capturing gorgeous engagement photos. That being said–those Roan Mountain engagement photos can be quite tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. So, let me help:

First things first, prepare for a hike!

Typically when couples ask me about taking photos on Roan Mountain, they’re referring to the Round Bald. Roan Mountain is quite vast, so there are plenty of other locations to use but Round Bald is by far the most notorious (and easiest!). To the top of the Round Bald from the Carver’s Gap parking area it’s just over a .75 mile journey to the top and about 300+ ft elevation gain.

It’s not a terrible trek at all, but if you aren’t accustomed to hiking it can be a bit daunting. I always advise my couples to bring comfortable athletic shoes to wear on the way up and a backpack to carry all of your attire up to the top!

Bathrooms Are Limited

The Carver’s Gap parking area technically has a bathroom. I’d say of all the trips I’ve made to Roan Mountain (there have been a LOT), it’s probably only open for use every other time. It’s also a long trek down, so if you’re planning on using a bathroom to change clothes I’d make other plans!

Be Comfortable With Wind

If you’re hoping for those perfectly polished hair photos, then I’m just going to be honest–Roan Mountain engagement photos may not be for you. The top of a mountain can be gusty and more often than not we will be working with quite a bit of that Beyoncé wind throughout your session! We’ll focus on movement, motion, and lots of beautiful light while we’re up there. It may feel chaotic with the wind whipping your hair all over the place, but I promise it turns out gorgeous in photos!

Know Your Seasons

One thing to factor in when planning for Roan Mountain engagement photos is the elevation difference from the cities down below. Johnson City, Tennessee is 1525 feet above sea level whereas the Round Bald is 5,826 ft. What does this mean for your session? It’s always a bit colder up on the mountain than down at the bottom!

If you’re planning for springtime Roan Mountain engagement photos, take into consideration that higher elevations of Roan Mountain are almost always a month or so behind in seasons. Early April may be full of blooms at home, but on the mountain it’s still a chilly late February vibe. Those autumn colors and fall foliage? They’ll be happening sometime in early September for Roan Mountain engagement photos instead of October.

Choose An Experienced Photographer

No really, this one is super important! Capturing those absolutely stunning Roan Mountain engagement photos requires a good bit of knowledge about the area and the trails you’re choosing for your photos. Roan mountain is expansive and there are so many spots along the way that deserve some photo time. I get so many couples asking me to take photos in certain spots, which I only know of because I’ve done Roan Mountain engagement photos a bazillion times (and I still love it!).

Don’t believe me? Check out this gorgeous session featured on Magnolia Rouge!

If you’re looking to capture gorgeous engagement photos on Roan Mountain, please get in touch. I would love pencil in a hiking date with you and take some stunning photos along the way!


Looking for additional Roan Mountain engagement photo inspiration?

Hi there—

i'm danielle

I'm a Virginia-based wedding & portrait photographer capturing photos that look like actual ART. 

If you're hoping for the inside scoop, my newsletter is where it's at. 

explore services →

see my work →

subscribe to 

The Sunday Scoop

Thank you for subscribing!

hi, i'm danielle—

In the past 10+ years as a Wedding & Portrait Photographer, I’ve found that, aside from arming myself with my cameras to catch swoon-worthy moments of my couples on their day, I’m also bringing a few other unexpected things. 

Like my tough love mom-voice that will keep your bridal party in check, my air of calm if you’re feeling overwhelmed, and the corniest jokes so no one has the jitters in front of the camera!

Because so much more goes into getting those gorgeous wedding photos than just hitting “click!”

and I'm not just bringing my camera to your big day.

Wanna know what you need for                        
detail photos?


In the hundreds of weddings I’ve photographed, I’ve created as many different flat lays as you can imagine. And so I’ve curated a complete list of must-have items for you to gather so your detail photos are even more special. For the free list, enter your email below:

Thank you for subscribing!

© danielle defayette, 2023

Design by Tonic

customized by kleist, copy by btl