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Utah Top 10 Places - Landscape Photography

It can be a daunting task to find Utah's best landscape photography locations, and to also find the best time of day to shoot pictures of that particular vantage point.  Below we've identified the Utah Top 10 landscape photography destinationa, based more-so on popularity, and then we've also identified what may be considered the Utah Top 10 lesser-known locations for landscape photos.

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

  • Location: Near Moab, Utah in the mid-southeastern part of the state.
  • Best Points for Photos:
    a- Looking east at from the Double Arch parking area with the Manti LaSal mountains in the background.
    b- Delicate Arch at sunset provides a classic scene, and the Windows section has multiple unique framing opportunities.
  • Best Time of Day: Sunrise or sunset, depending on the backdrop you want, when the warm light enhances the red rock formations.
Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Location: Central Southern Utah.
  • Best Points for Photos:
    a- Sunrise Point and Sunset Point, at Bryce Canyon National Park are two locations that offer breathtaking views of the hoodoos, especially during the "golden hours." 
    b- Inspiration Point and Bryce Point are also excellent locations.  Moving just a short distance on overlook trails can vastly change the perspective.
    c- Take any trail down among the Bryce Canyon Hoodoos to capture astounding views upward of the glowing hues of orange, and the deepest blue sky you may ever see. 
  • Best Time of Day: Sunrise or sunset for dramatic lighting and shadows on the intricate rock formations.

Zion National Park

  • Location: Southwestern corner of Utah.
  • Best Points for Photos:
    a- The Narrows is a great place to capture images and because of the depth of the canyon, this area can be successfully photographed any time of day where the light is not direct, but is reflected.
    b- Observation Point is one of our favorites because this vantage point may offer the best views of the length of the park, and here you'll be standing 800' above the top of Angels Landing
    c- Angels Landing offers great photos at almost every point in the trail. 
    d- Court Of The Patriarchs is a lesser-known location for photography within Zion National Park.
    e- Canyon Overlook Trail provide diverse landscapes and stunning vistas.
  • Best Time of Day: Early morning or late afternoon to capture the canyon's red hues and avoid harsh light.  Remember that this may not apply to sections of The Narrows where light cannot reach the narrower parts of this slot canyon in Zion National Park. 
Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

  • Location: Near Moab, Utah in the mid southeastern part of the state
  • Best Points for Photos:
    a- Mesa Arch at sunrise is an iconic location that is very popular with photographers.
    b- Grand View Point overlooks vast canyons
    c- Dead Horse Point State Park offers views across Canyonlands National Park
    d- We've found that a helicopter or airplane tour over the park can also offer some great opportunities to capture great images of Canyonlands but remember to set your aperture speed high to avoid vibration blur.
    Best Time of Day: Sunrise to capture the warm glow on the red rock formations.
Monument Valley

Monument Valley

  • Location: Eastern side of the Arizona-Utah border.
  • Best Points for Photos:
    a- The Mittens and Merrick Butte offer iconic shots, especially during sunrise or sunset and can be taken from the main lodge area.
    b- The Forest Gump highway view is very popular and is taken on Highway 163 near the border.
  • Best Time of Day: Sunrise and sunset for long shadows and vibrant colors.

Dead Horse Point State Park

  • Location: Near Moab, Utah in the southeastern area of the state.
  • Best Points for Photos: The Dead Horse Point Overlook provides panoramic views of the Colorado River. Move around along the rim to capture numerous perspectives and overlooks.
  • Best Time of Day: Sunrise and sunset for a mix of warm and cool tones on the landscape.

 

Antelope Canyon (Slot Canyon)

  • Location: Near Page, Arizona (close to the Utah border).
  • Best Points for Photos:
    a- Antelope Canyon slot canyon is managed and guided by members of the Navaja Native American tribe.  The play of light within these narrow slot canyons creates mesmerizing images.
    b- For some it may be closer and easier to enter other slot canyons on a guide tour such as are guided by EastZionAdventures.com on the east side of Utah's Zion National Park.
  • Best Time of Day: Mid-morning or mid-afternoon when sunlight filters through the slot canyons.

Great Salt Lake or Bonneville Salt Flats

  • Location: Northwestern Utah.
  • Best Points for Photos:
    a- Bonneville Salt Flats is not only a good place for landscape photography but also for model photos, and even night sky milky way photos.
    b- The Spiral Jetty and Antelope Island offer unique perspectives of the lake.
    c- Great Salt Lake views can also be obtained from Stansbury Island 
  • Best Time of Day: Sunset for vibrant colors reflecting on the water.

Goblin Valley State Park

  • Location: Central Utah.
  • Best Points for Photos: The Valley of the Goblins provides an otherworldly backdrop.  Find high viewpoints to look across the park, but best views of the Goblins will be acquired by walking down among the formations.
  • Best Time of Day: Sunrise and sunset for soft lighting and long shadows on the unusual rock formations.
Snow Canyon near St. George Utah

Snow Canyon State Park

  • Location: Near St. George, southwestern Utah.
  • Best Points for Photos:
    a- Petrified Dunes and Red Rock Canyon offer striking landscapes.
    b- The Overlook at the northeast end of the park.
    c- Red Mountain trail overlook
    d- White Rocks area of the park (views from on top of the white rocks).
  • Best Time of Day: Sunrise or sunset for warm, golden tones on the red sandstone.

Utah's landscapes offer a myriad of opportunities for photographers, with each location providing a unique and captivating backdrop to acquire breathtaking images. Exploring these sites during the recommended times can elevate your personal photography to new heights.

Utah TOP 10 Lesser Known Photo Landscape Locations.

The state of Utah is rich in hidden gems that provide unique and lesser-known opportunities for landscape photography. Here are ten such places, along with the best time of day, camera direction, and notable features:

  1. Devils Garden

    • Location: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
    • Best Time of Day: Sunrise and sunset.
    • Camera Direction: West for sunrise, east for sunset.
    • Description: Unique rock formations, including hoodoos and natural arches, create an otherworldly landscape. The soft morning and evening light accentuates the intricate details.

  2. Little Wild Horse Canyon and Bell Canyon

    • Location: San Rafael Swell.
    • Best Time of Day: Early morning or late afternoon.
    • Camera Direction: Varies based on the specific slot canyon you're exploring.
    • Description: Narrow slot canyons with towering walls and curving passages. Play with light and shadows to highlight the textures and colors within the canyons.

  3. Grosvenor Arch

    • Location: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
    • Best Time of Day: Late afternoon.
    • Camera Direction: West for optimal lighting.
    • Description: A stunning double arch formation with contrasting red and white rock layers. The warm afternoon light enhances the colors and textures.

  4. Goosenecks State Park

    • Location: Near Mexican Hat.
    • Best Time of Day: Sunset.
    • Camera Direction: West for capturing the winding San Juan River.
    • Description: Deep canyon with intricate meanders of the river. The setting sun casts warm hues on the canyon walls, creating a mesmerizing scene.

  5. Parowan Gap Petroglyphs

    • Location: Near Parowan.
    • Best Time of Day: Late afternoon.
    • Camera Direction: West for optimal lighting on the petroglyphs.
    • Description: Ancient petroglyphs on the rocks depict various symbols and figures. The low-angle sunlight brings out the details and enhances the contrast.

  6. Notch Peak

    • Location: House Range.
    • Best Time of Day: Late afternoon.
    • Camera Direction: West for optimal lighting on the peak.
    • Description: One of the highest limestone cliffs in North America, with stunning views of the surrounding desert. The low-angle sunlight accentuates the rugged textures.

  7. Kodachrome Basin State Park

    • Location: Near Cannonville.
    • Best Time of Day: Sunrise or sunset.
    • Camera Direction: Varies based on the specific formations.
    • Description: Unique sandstone spires and monolithic rock formations surrounded by vibrant colors. Soft, warm light during sunrise or sunset enhances the surreal landscape.

  8. Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest Mirror Lake Scenic Byway

    • Location: Eastern Utah.
    • Best Time of Day: Early morning or late afternoon.
    • Camera Direction: Varies based on the specific location along the scenic byway.
    • Description: Alpine lakes, dense forests, and mountain vistas. The serene reflections on Mirror Lake during quiet moments provide excellent photo opportunities.

  9. Cedar Breaks National Monument

    • Location: Near Brian Head.
    • Best Time of Day: Sunset.
    • Camera Direction: West for optimal lighting on the amphitheater.
    • Description: A natural amphitheater filled with colorful rock formations, similar to Bryce Canyon but on a smaller scale. The setting sun adds a warm glow to the already vibrant landscape.

  10. Fisher Towers

    • Location: Near Moab.
    • Best Time of Day: Sunrise or sunset.
    • Camera Direction: East for sunrise, west for sunset.
    • Description: Towering red rock spires with unique and dramatic shapes. The soft, golden light during sunrise or sunset creates a surreal atmosphere around these formations.

Exploring these lesser-known locations in Utah offers photographers a chance to capture the state's diverse and hidden beauty, away from the more crowded and well-known spots.

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