There is no better state to visit than Arizona landscapes if you are a photographer. From the low cactus deserts to high alpine peaks, this state is packed full of beautiful scenery that is perfect for landscape and traveler photographers.
Very few places in the world have such a diverse range of terrain and features, making Arizona a perfect place to capture your next great photo. With so many different locations across the state, however, where do you even begin? Here are our picks for some of the best landscape photography locations in the amazing state of Arizona.
Arizona Landscapes: Top Photography Locations
You can’t make a trip to the Grand Canyon State and not visit this iconic landmark. The Grand Canyon National Park is gigantic, and it would be nearly impossible to explore and photograph it all. It is easily one of the most recognizable landscape locations not only in the state, but in the entire country.
The park is divided into two major parts, the north rim and the south rim. The south rim is more easily accessible, and the most popular with visitors and tourists. The north rim is every bit as beautiful as the south but is more remote and harder to access.
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One of my favorite areas in the entire state, the small town of Sedona is famous for its red rock formations. Located south of the city of Flagstaff, Sedona is only about a two hour drive from the south rim of the Grand Canyon, making it a popular destination for people wanting to see both.
Sedona is home to many popular monuments and photo locations, including Devil’s Bridge and Red Rock Crossing. You will want to visit these places early in the morning if you go, as they are very popular and can be very busy.
3. Canyon de Chelly
Another one of Arizona’s famous national monuments, Canyon de Chelly is located within the Navajo Nation and is usually only accessible by guided tour. It is well worth it though, as Canyon de Chelly is one of the most visited monuments in the country.
The main focal point here is Spider Rock, a 750-foot tall rock spire that is amazing to photograph. There is not a bad angle to photograph this amazing landmark, and we have spent hours gazing up at this rock tower.
4. Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
Located in the northern portion of Arizona, Vermillion Cliffs require a permit to hike in and only allow around 20 people per day. This means you will have plenty of space and freedom to take the photos you want, without having to worry about the crowds.
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The two biggest attractions in Vermillion Cliffs are Coyote Buttes and The Wave, both of which are very popular with landscape photographers and whose pictures have been seen around the world.
5. Monument Valley
Much like Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley is located on Navajo land and some parts are only available by way of a guided tour. You can, however, drive through it by car for a small fee and still capture some amazing images.
With giant rock formations sticking up from the flat desert, Monument Valley is a symbol of the American west and has had many roles in famous movies and tv shows. For photographers wanting to capture an iconic Arizona landmark, this is a good place to check out.
6. Glen Canyon
Glen Canyon is unique in the fact that much of resides in the state of Utah, but the lower end runs into northern Arizona and ends at the Vermillion Cliffs area. Much like the Grand Canyon to the south of it, Glen Canyon is part of the canyons formed by the Colorado River and its tributaries.
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The great thing about Glen Canyon, in particular, is that it is not usually as crowded as say the Grand Canyon, yet you still get similar canyon views. Most visitors in the area will be near Lake Powell, which brings us the next place on our list.
7. Glen Canyon and Lake Powell
Glen Canyon might be more famously known for its proximity to Lake Powell, a popular tourist and outdoor recreationist destination. Whether you are here for the beautiful canyon views or some fun on the water, this area will not disappoint!
With guided tours of the dam and plenty of breathtaking, sandstone canyon walls, the entire area around Glen Canyon and Lake Powell is any photographer’s dream. It is easily one of my favorite locations in the entire state, and is every bit as fun as it is beautiful.
8. Petrified National Forest
Located in Eastern Arizona, the Petrified National Forest is found just a short distance from Canyon de Chelly. The park gets its name for the plentiful petrified wood found throughout it, which also makes for some unique photo opportunities.
In addition to the petrified wood, the park is also home to many buttes, mesas, and views of the desert. Photographers traveling here will find no shortage of epic landscape photo opportunities, and I think the Petrified Forest is one of the most underrated locations in the whole state.
9. Saguaro National Park
For photographers looking to add some cactus to their photos, there is no better place than Saguaro National Park. In southern Arizona near the city of Tucson, this park is home to some of the largest cacti in the country.
Divided into two different districts, this park has areas on both sides of Tucson. While the West district is home to larger specimens of cactus, in my experience the East district is usually much less crowded.
10. Chiricahua National Monument
One of my favorite places in Arizona, the Chiricahua Monument is located in the southeastern corner of the state and is very remote. The drive is well worth it, as there are plenty of areas and trails to explore throughout the entire park, as well as an abundance of wildlife.
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Famous for its scenery and balancing rock formations, Chiricahua National Monument is different and unique compared to anywhere else in the state. If you are looking for some landscape photos that are out of the box, this is the place to find them.
11. Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness
If you are looking for something even more remote, then Aravaipa Canyon would be the perfect destination. Found well off of any roads, trails, or towns, you are sure to find plenty of wild and remote places here.
With tall cliffs, flowing water, and plenty of plants and wildlife, Aravaipa Canyon is an oasis in the middle of the desert. Be certain to prepare before you visit, as there are no nearby towns or rest stops.
12. Navajo Bridge
Navajo Bridge is a pair of steel arch bridges found near Glen Canyon that crosses the Colorado River. The newer of the two bridges is carries traffic across it, while the older bridge is only open to foot traffic.
There are plenty of good photo opportunities on and around the bridges, especially since they are found in one of the most photogenic places in the state. In the same area as the Grand Canyon and Glen Canyon, you can easily see them all on the same trip.
Navajo Bridge area (Lees Ferry) is also one of the very popular places for trout fishing in Arizona.
13. Horseshoe Bend
Easily one of the most iconic photography spots in the entire state, Horseshoe Bend is just north of the Grand Canyon and a very popular spot. A great view of the Colorado River, the bend is well worth a visit if you are in the area.
Bring a wide angle lens and enjoy a great view, but be careful as there are usually high winds and no guard rails near the cliffs. It is usually less crowded at sunrise, as the rest of the day you might have to wait in line to get a good photo.
Located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, Havasu Falls has no roads to it and requires a ten mile hike to access. While that may sound extreme, it is one of the most popular hikes in the country and you will have plenty of company along the way.
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Famous for its big waterfalls and bright blue water, the trek into the falls is a great experience for those wanting an adventure. I personally would recommend avoiding going in the summer, as it is much more crowded and temperatures can be well over 100.
15. Antelope Canyon
Only a 15 minute drive from Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo land. This means that it can only be accessed by guided tours.
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Divided into an upper and a lower section, the canyon is famous for its bizarre patterns and textures in the canyon walls. The upper section is easier to access, but the lower section has more photo opportunities for landscape photographers.
Arizona Landscapes: Conclusion
Arizona landscapes have so many different photo opportunities, it may seem impossible to see them all. This list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great locations, as there are many more that are just waiting to be explored.
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Most people think the only thing worth seeing in the Grand Canyon is dirt and cactus, but the truth is that Arizona offers unprecedented opportunities for photographers looking to capture their greatest landscape images.
Any one of these places is worth the trip to Arizona itself, but many can be seen and explored in the same day. Now the real question – what is stopping you from coming for a visit?