Date: Friday June 02 - June 04, 2017
Time: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
Category: Featured Events
Cost: $95-$115

Grandfather Mountain’s celebrated Nature Photography Weekend returns for 2017, offering photographers of all levels a unique opportunity to focus their skills. Throughout the weekend, participants will visit Grandfather Mountain to hear presentations from top nature photographers in the evenings and photograph spectacular scenery and native animals during the day.

Photo by Daniel Busey | 2016 Nature Photography Weekend

2017 Dates: June 2-4

Registration opened Monday, April 3

This year’s speaker lineup features:


Charles Glatzer
David Marx
Mary Presson Roberts
Kendall Chiles
Kevin Adams


2017 Schedule 2017 Speakers 2017 Presentations 2017 Contest Rules 2017 Winners



The annual Nature Photography Weekend at Grandfather Mountain allows participants to hear presentations from top nature photographers in the evenings and photograph spectacular scenery and native animals during the day. Images from Friday and Saturday’s photo excursions are entered in an informal contest, with winners announced at the event’s conclusion Sunday. New this year are several field sessions taking place during the day!


The Contest

Photo by Joanne Senkus | 2016 Nature Photography Weekend

The Grandfather Mountain Nature Photography Weekend includes a friendly but competitive contest. Speakers give presentations during the evening sessions, leaving the days free for participants to practice their skills at one of the most spectacular destinations for photographing nature in the Southeast.

Participants will turn in their digital images at 3 p.m. Saturday on a flash drive supplied by Grandfather Mountain in the registration packet. Each person selects three images to enter in any combination of four categories (Animals in Habitats, Animals in the Wild, Wildflowers, and Scenic) and two classes (beginner or advanced).

Images may be touched up using computer software. Be warned that the judges do not look kindly on images that were not taken during the weekend (images of a flower that bloomed in April), contrived images (like placing a giant gorilla on Linville Peak) or images that have been manipulated to the degree that they violate the spirit of the contest (like bringing the end of a rainbow down in the center of the Mile High Swinging Bridge).

You will need to bring (or borrow) a computer to save your images to the flash drive. Grandfather Mountain cannot promise computer time to any participant. See the 2016 winners here.

View and download the official contest rules here.


Registration and Check-in

Registration is now CLOSED.

Online registration opened at 8 a.m. Monday, April 3. To register, click here.

Check-in will take place during the event from 10 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Friday, June 2, with late check-in from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday, June 3. The location for Friday check-in is MacRae Meadows (Gate 3), about 10 yards on the Linville side of the driveway from the Grandfather Mountain Office and 30 yards on the Linville side of the attraction Entrance Gate. In the case of torrential rain, registration will move to the Nature Museum. Late check-in takes place at the Nature Museum.




Although Grandfather Mountain does not operate a commercial campground, campsites are available at no charge in the Grandfather Mountain Woods Walk Picnic Area for people participating in this event.

Photo by James Lawson | 2016 Nature Photography Weekend

The picnic area has bathrooms and water fountains, but no other amenities. No formal spots are reserved, but participants usually have no trouble locating a place to pitch their tents or park their vehicles (because it is a big mountain).


For other accommodations

High Country Host

Avery Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce



Online registration is now CLOSED.

NPW Participant: $115 pre-registration fee covers 3-day park admission, Saturday evening meal, a seat in the auditorium for the programs, and a flash drive for turning in your contest entries. Family members and guests are welcome with an additional charge.

Guest NPW ticket: $95 pre-registration fee covers 3-day park admission, Saturday evening meal, and a seat in the auditorium for the programs. Ideal for photographers who want to learn and photograph in leisure, as it does not include entry in the photography contest.

Guest 3-day park admission only$40 adult, $20 child. [Regularly $60/$27]

Guest for Saturday dinner: $10

If tickets are sold out, please email to be placed on the waiting list.

Location: Grandfather Mountain
Address: 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646