Jon MattrischExplorer

Outdoor enthusiast and photographer from Milwaukee, WI. Camping, hiking, biking and more. I love it all and I try to capture as much of it as possible. Exploring my home state and more, exhausting all there is to see. See more:

This is a MUST-DO if you're near Kingsport. Bays Mountain has tons to offer, but quite honestly, this hike was extremely well worth it once you get to the fire tower at the top of the hike. If you're scared of heights, do whatever you can to work through that fear to climb the tower and see the views up top. The hike itself offers some decent elevation and beautiful scenes, but it's really the fire tower that makes it worth it all.

This hike is well worth the efforts put in. It's over 600 stairs in total to get to both waterfalls, but each worth the trek. The first waterfall has tons of room around it to explore and take in the sights while the second, lower waterfall has two tiers that offers a slightly more unique presence. Make sure you bring water and are ready to climb down and then back up 400ft of elevation!

Mead's Quarry Lake is a perfect getaway that's located minutes from downtown Knoxville. With trails all around the lake and options for swimming, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding and more, you have tons of options to explore while there. Take the trails around the park to get more unique views of this crystal clear man-made lake.

Snoopers Rock is one of those places that's not talked about often outside of locals, and that's a shame. The drive up to Snoopers Rock is half paved and then half gravel, up windy roads that lead you to a trailhead. From there, take the hike out to the rock that overlooks the horseshoe bend of the Tennessee River. Go early in the AM for sunrise to capture the mist hovering over the surrounding hill/mountainsides. It's a must-do when visiting TN and one you won't be dissapointed with!

We stopped hear for sunset on our way through AZ and could not have been happier with what we experienced. Up a steep, windy paved road lies the Massai Point Overlook. It is the highest point in the park and offers easily the best views around, especially at sunset. You can see the light hitting the hoodoos and touching the mountain tops in the far distance. There's plenty of parking up top and you can take short trails down to some more unfinished and unique viewpoints. All in all, an amazing place to witness a sunset.

Cape Hatteras lighthouse is a very unique site and a must-see when in OBX. Located just off the main road, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse stretches high above the OBX scenery and offers gorgeous views of the ocean and surrounding area. The grounds around it offer plenty of areas to relax and take in the sites as well.

We stopped at the Write Brothers National Memorial on our way through OBX and couldn't have been happier we did. The memorial itself on top of the hill, which the walkway leads to, is stunning and has a beautiful view of the ocean high on top of the Kill Devil Hills. It's easily accessible, a nice walk, and definitely a must if in the area.

Bodie Island Lighthouse is a must-see. The grounds around the lighthouse offer gorgeous scenery and a marsh land with an overlook to the ocean in the distance. There's a huge grass courtyard of sorts that surrounds the lighthouse itself that is open to visitors and allows you to capture some great shots of the tower. It's easy to get to and has lots of parking. Definitely a must-do!

We camped at Ocracoke Campground for 4 nights and had an incredible time. From the amazing scenery around you to the ocean just over the dunes in the back of your campsite, this was one of the best campsites we've ever stayed at. Signal was weak but available which was nice. The showers are cold and not heated, but are nice. Toilets are all flush toilets. The campground is about 3 minutes from the town itself making it easy to get to the restaurants and shops around there.

Located just outside the main visitors center, this trail provides stunning views of the New River Gorge bridge. To get the the lower viewpoint with the best view of the bridge, you have to go down about 140 stairs or so. It's not difficult and much shorter than it seems. The view of the bridge at the end and the surrounding canyon/river is incredible. Highly recommend!

Located just off I-40 in Amarillo, TX, Cadillac Ranch is a must-see roadside attraction. The famous 10 cadillacs in the dirt make for a great photo opp, especially if you have a wide-angle lens. Each cadillac is decked out in endless graffiti that changes almost daily by locals and visitors coming to make their mark on the famous landmark. There's plenty of parking off the road just outside of the attraction entrance and the short walk to the landmark makes it a very easy stop all around. Make sure to visit early in the morning or late in the evening around sunrise/set to get the best skies possible.

Located just outside Savannah, GA, the Wormsloe Historic Site is one of the most iconic sites in the state, if not the entire south. The long avenue of live oaks create a stunning canopy where light leaks through amongst the ancient trees. For $10/person, you can drive the avenue and take pics of the trees before heading to the museum and the various other historic sites around the grounds. Get here early in the morning for that soft morning light or later in the afternoon/early evening for golden hour. To get the best shots, use a long lens and bracket your shots and compile into an HDR image in post. That way you'll get all the highlights and shadows to create a crisp, clean image. The long lens helps to compress the avenue and make the trees seem even more imposing and impressive.

We drove the road through the Smoky Mountains and this was easily one of the best overlooks in the entire park. You can see so far in the distance and the mountains/valley create a beautiful scenic view. We went during sunset and were able to watch the sun slowly descend over the mountains in the far distance. The overlook definitely had a few people with the same thing in mind, but it wasn't overcrowded at all. It was an enjoyable experience and a very memorable one as well.

We took our pup on this easy out and back hike knowing that we'd have an incredible view up at Hawksbill peak. Wow, was that an amazing view. The highest point in Shenandoah NP was well worth it. We took about 15-20 minutes to just take in the massive vistas around us and captured some beautiful shots. All in all, a must do when in the park!

Dark Hollow Falls is a relatively quick hike, albeit with some good elevation change. The falls themselves have a few stopping points on your way down to the bottom of the hike that you can stop at to capture some cool shots. Take an ND filter with you to smooth out the water and you'll really get some nice pics. It's not overly steep, more gradual but about 440 ft of elevation change in total.

Devil's Hall is a moderate hike up through a stunning canyon which leads to a gorgeous end point for which it's named after. The actual "hall" is a narrow passage between two canyons. Prior to that is another very photogenic spot. A stepped tear that leads to a crevasse between two rock formations. All in all, a hike that's well worth it.

This is a very cool spot with a gorgeous lighthouse and some nice views of Lake Michigan. A nice beach is next to it and it's easy to get to with ample street parking nearby.

This is a very easy hike that's located down a gravel road in Pictured Rocks NL. It takes about 30-45 minutes total to walk and explore. Well worth it to view this big, gorgeous waterfall.

Simple as that! Easy parking and a very short hike that leads to a gorgeous waterfall tucked in a hidden area.

Hiking up a massive dune in soft sand is hard regardless of your physical condition, but the views are well worth it!



We stopped to check out Sable Falls while exploring Pictured Rocks NL and were really happy we did. This place is beautiful and has multiple spots to view the falls. Plus, you can access the lakeshore from the trail which is about .5 miles from the trailhead.

The view at the end of the hike (well, first part as this is an our and back) is one of pure awe. Seeing Avalanche Lake surrounded by the mountains capped with snow is an absolutely gorgeous sight to behold. The hike itself is fun, traversing ups and downs, rocks and tree stumps and massive root systems. The views along the way look out over the various other mountains within the park. Definitely don't pass this one up!

I've been to Old Faithful before, but something about this geyser was different. Most likely, it was the fact that I was alllll the way over in Iceland, a foreign country to me. However, this was still something extremely powerful to see in person. About ever ~2 minutes or so, the geyser would erupt nearly 2 stories high. Sitting patiently, waiting to catch another eruption and capture it with my camera was actually very fun. The surprise of the eruption excites you every time and makes your heart race. Definitely recommend!

Situated on the western peninsula, overlooking the ocean, this place is stunning. You're situated on cliffs that rise several stories above the ocean. Behind you are the towering mountains. If you're lucky enough to be here on a blue sky day with scattered clouds, you'll be amazed at the shadows the clouds cast over the mountains and cliffs.