ArikaLogo_Brown2.png

10 Epic Spots For Landscape Photography In Zion National Park

I'm so excited to have Eric with Horizon Photo Tours taking over the blog today to share all the beautiful places in Zion for epic landscape photography! He has so many great tips and info for capturing a little of that Zion magic with your camera.

Epic locations for Landscape photography in Zion National Park

One of the things I love most about Eric's photography is that when he photographs these beautiful Zion locations, he sees them differently. He gets creative and captures what he sees and feels, and doesn't just make an image of Zion that you have seen a million times. So make sure to check out his beautiful work here.


Hi there, this is Eric, and I'm a professional nature photographer living near Zion National Park in Southern Utah. I'm fortunate to spend much time here with my camera and want to share a few tips to help others discover Zion's beauty through the lens. Zion is an inspiring landscape full of immense beauty which changes constantly, but it can be challenging to photograph. Here are 10 amazing locations in Zion National Park to capture this stunning landscape, along with a "pro tip" for each location to further help you.


A pinhole image made with no lens at Canyon Junction Bridge in Zion National Park

A pinhole image made with no lens

Canyon Junction Bridge

The Canyon Junction Bridge is one of the most iconic locations in Zion National Park, offering an amazing view of the Virgin River and The Watchman. The composition here is great, particularly at sunset when The Watchman glows red and the curving Virgin River reflects the sky. Parking is limited for this spot, with all parking located past the bridge itself. You can also walk the Pa' rus trail from the Visitor Center, which follows the Virgin River to the bridge. Canyon Junction Bridge is most often photographed at sunset and night but can have great light in the morning too.


PRO TIP - There are 2 other bridges below the Canyon Junction Bridge that offer a more unique composition. Also, standing in the Virgin River below the bridge allows for another great perspective.


The moon with burning red cliffs in Kolob Terrace section of Zion National Park

Kolob Terrace Road

The Kolob Terrace Road starts in Virgin, UT, and heads up to 7900 feet above sea level. On the way up, the road passes many great locations to photograph Zion's amazing rock formations. This area of Zion is also one of the few areas which are great for sunrises and sunsets because of the many options. After a few miles, the road begins to climb as the road narrows. A mile or so before Zion Under Canvas, be sure to pull over and take in the view looking back down the canyon. You can also easily see the North and South Guardian Angel Peaks from here. Other locations along Kolob Terrace Road are Lambs Knoll, the meadow near the Hop Valley Trail, and Lava Point.


PRO TIP - Drive here 1 or 2 days before the full moon and catch it rising near North Guardian Angel at sunset. Parking at Lambs Knoll offers a great starting point for this photograph of moonrise and sunset.


Trees backlit agains red towering cliffs at Observation Point in Zion National Park

Observation Point

Observation Point is a 6.5 mile round trip hike to the grandest view in Zion National Park. Angels Landing is dwarfed by the magnitude of Zion Canyon from this vantage point. The Virgin River is 2500 feet directly below you and Zion Canyon extends to the horizon. Sunset and sunrise are both great here, and you'll be hiking in the dark one way regardless if you shoot sunrise or sunset. The temperatures are a bit cooler because of the elevation, so be sure to dress appropriately. The main composition here is obvious, so you really can't miss it. Go and enjoy some time at the most incredible view of Zion National Park!


PRO TIP - Bring binoculars and a long lens (300mm or longer). This location is a fantastic place to watch and photograph California Condors which frequently soar through Zion Canyon. They have wingspans of nearly 12 feet but can be difficult to spot despite their size. So be patient and look around and be prepared to be awed by their effortless and majestic flight through Zion.


East Side of Zion - Clear Creek - Many Pools

Locations east of the Mount Carmel Tunnel offer many great photography spots with far fewer people. Many Pools is a great option, especially after a rain. Flowing water and many pools (go figure!) fill the canyon making for great reflections. Park by the restrooms at the large pullout a few miles past Canyon Overlook. Be sure to watch for wildlife up here too! Many Pools is best photographed during mid-morning as it primarily faces to the East.


Below the highway is Clear Creek which is accessible via many of the pullouts. Clear Creek offers a few slot canyon sections, great mud patterns, and beautiful light. Clear Creek is often best in mid-morning and mid afternoon, making it a great choice for photographing after sunrise or before sunset.


PRO TIP - Fall is absolutely amazing on the East side of Zion as maples and cottonwoods change color. The last half of October is a great time for Fall Colors here and the busiest time for photography.


Green pools and ice in The Subways hike in Zion National Park

The Subway

The Subway is simply one of the most iconic Zion landscape spots, period. Clear pools and peaceful falls in an underground tunnel make this location seem like a subway. It's about an 8 mile round-trip hike and a permit is needed. Plan on a full day of hiking if you're going for photography, so you're not rushed. The light in the Subway is best towards the late afternoon as the glowing light fills the entrance. There is much to photograph on the way to the Subway, so starting shortly after sunrise is recommended. You'll likely be reaching the car around sunset, so be sure to pack a headlamp!

PRO TIP - Leave your telephoto at home, and you'll only need a wide lens or medium telephoto. The entire hike is in a deep canyon, so most of the scenes are in front of you without much opportunity to shoot upwards.

Snow along the Virgin River at Temple of Sinewava in Zion National Park

The Temple of Sinawava

The Temple of Sinawava is located near the start of the Narrows and at the last shuttle stop in Zion Canyon. It's not a hike to reach this location, making it easily accessible. Simply get off the shuttle and it's on the other side of the parking lot. A short trail along the road leads to another viewpoint of this Zion icon.

PRO TIP - During Spring or after a heavy rain, there is a waterfall near the start of the Riverside Walk. This waterfall lines up behind the Temple of Sinawava by walking along the trail next to the road. Consider yourself lucky if you get to see this ephemeral waterfall.

Snowy cliffs at Angels Landing at Zion National Park

Angels Landing

Angels Landing is one of the more famous hikes in the USA because of the vertical exposure and amazing view. This hike is now a permit-only hike due to its popularity, so planning ahead is necessary if you want to hike this classic Zion trail. There are excellent views along the entire hike, and the views get better and better as you climb. The hike to the top is about 1500 vertical feet and it's fairly steep. Just remember to bring water, especially when it's hot! Photos from the top of Angels Landing show Zion Canyon directly below and the cliffs are above you in all directions.

PRO TIP - The West Rim trail continues from Scout's Lookout, which you can hike without a permit. This is the place to go if you're looking to photograph Angels Landing and not just the view from Angels Landing. Another great location to shoot Angels Landing is along the Virgin River, just past the Zion Lodge. From here, you get the Virgin River in the foreground with Angels Landing rising above.

The Court of the Patriarchs

The Court of the Patriarchs is the first stop in Zion Canyon with a short, paved trail leading to an overlook. This is a nice view but is very limited in composition opportunities. You can also cross the road and go down to the edge of the Virgin River for a beautiful composition of the river and sharp peaks. Further back along the paved road is a bridge crossing the Virgin River. A short trail leads to the left and down to the river just before the bridge. The 3 Patriarchs rise above the bridge and create a classic Zion composition.

PRO TIP - This entire area is incredible and usually uncrowded. Continue across the bridge and follow the trail for more surprises as the cliff walls rise directly above you. This is one of my favorite areas in Zion to shoot, so go and see why:)

Taylor Creek fall colors in the Kolob Canyon section of Zion National Park

Taylor Creek

Taylor Creek is located in the Kolob Canyons section of Zion and is about 45 minutes from Springdale. This area of Zion isn't as crowded as Springdale, but it's every bit as dramatic. The parking for Taylor Creek is 2 miles up the road from the entrance on the left. Go early because this relatively small parking lot fills up daily and there's nowhere else to park near the trailhead. The trail follows a small, clear stream towards the towering cliff walls. It leads to the dramatic Double Alcove Arch and offers a grand scene of intense reflected light. Taylor Creek is another favorite location of mine because the clear stream offers so many intimate landscape scenes. It also freezes Fall-Spring making for beautiful ice formations.

PRO TIP - Autumn in Taylor Creek will amaze you with an array of colors beneath towering walls. This area also faces west making this location better in the afternoon and evening.

Towers of the Virgin in Zion National Park

Towers of the Virgin

The Towers of the Virgin is another Zion icon and also easily accessible. This location is directly behind the Human History Museum near the Visitor Center. This location is an accessible sunrise location and also works for late afternoon. This is a challenging location though, due to the strong contrast of the foreground to the sky. It's a good area to practice bracketing images to capture the full range of light. Another possible location to photograph the Towers of the Virgin is from the Pa' rus Trail. Take the short trail from the museum parking lot, so you'll have more trees and vegetation in the foreground. The road is obscured from here, making the scene look more natural.

PRO TIP - This area is impressive during storms and may provide a glimpse of light during a storm. Clouds also hang on this wall after a storm which helps balance the strong contrast.

Popular Locations

I've chosen not to include two iconic locations in Zion, The Narrows and Canyon Overlook, because they're well covered already and are pretty obvious. Canyon Overlook is a grand overlook, and The Narrows hike is stunning from the first step.


There are so many more locations in Zion to photograph and discover beautiful scenes. So take your time here and explore as there are many quiet spaces in Zion. Every season here has its own special beauty, and there is no time of year that's better than the other.


About Me

I offer Private Photography Workshops and Tours in Southern Utah & Beyond through Horizon Photo Tours. I love to help others on their photography journey, no matter their skill level. For Fine Art Prints and more of my work, please visit my website ericephoto.com. Thank you for reading, and enjoy your time photographing and exploring Zion!

The Pentecost Family-25_websize.jpg

PHOTOGRAPHING 

authentic moments
& adventure

Let us capture your memories while visiting Zion + Southern Utah.

 

Our process is simple, straight-forward, and all about authenticity — ensuring you actually get to experience your memories as they happen, rather than stressing about the finer details. 

FAMILY VACATION MEMORIES | COUPLES | SURPRISE PROPOSALS | INTIMATE ELOPEMENTS | ALL OF LIFES ADVENTURES