The state of Utah could possibly the best place for landscape photography in the entire western United States. There are many state and national parks found in all directions, and some of the best found in the entire country.
If you are looking for some great locations for landscape photography, you will have no trouble finding them in Utah. With so many different options to choose from, it may seem a little hard to narrow down a place in particular to visit.
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17 Top Photography Locations in Utah
Here is our list of some top locations in the state of Utah for landscape photography.
Utah’s National Parks
1. Zion National Park
Zion National Park is found in southwestern Utah and is just a short drive from the Grand Canyon. Here you will find amazing views of the red sandstone cliffs and canyons formed by the Virgin River that snakes its way through the park.
There are several good hikes throughout the park that will result in some excellent photography opportunities, and even more areas off the beaten path that you can explore to get that perfect shot that you are searching for.
2. Bryce Canyon National Park
Another park found in southern Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park is found just a short distance from Zion and many travelers visit both on the same trip. Much like Zion, Bryce Canyon is home to scenic views of the red sandstone desert.
Bryce Canyon National Park is a very popular destination, and I would recommend going during the middle of the week to avoid the crowds. Here you will find no shortage of great landscape photography locations.
3. Capitol Reef National Park
Roughly a two hour drive from other National Parks such as Bryce Canyon, Arches and Canyonlands, lies Capitol Reef National Park in central Utah. Here you will find plenty of cliffs, canyons, and red rock formations to see and photograph.
There is a scenic drive throughout the park that will offer the easiest access to the park and the views, but for more adventurous visitors, there are many hiking trails that can be used to find even more photo opportunities.
4. Canyonlands National Park
Just south of the city of Moab you can find Canyonlands National Park. And just like its name implies, there are no shortage of beautiful canyons to see and explore here.
This park is divided into 3 main sections, and none of them are connected by any roads. It is recommended to plan ahead and be prepared, as this park is not the easiest to get around in.
Canyonlands is just a short drive from Arches National Park, so a visitor can easily visit both in the same trip, or even the same day if they wanted to.
5. Arches National Park
Found in eastern Utah near the town of Moab, Arches National Park is famous for its natural stone arches found throughout it. These arches are all naturally made, and the park has more than any other place in the world.
In addition to the famous landmarks, Arches National Park is home to some amazing desert scenery. All of the different colors, textures, and terrain features make it a perfect destination for any landscape photographer.
Utah’s National Monuments
6. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
At almost 2 million acres, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is gigantic. It includes many popular attractions in the southwest, such as the Canyons of Escalante, Coyote Gulch, Devils Garden, and Fifty-Mile Mountain. In each location, you will find unique photo opportunities and a variety of terrain and views.
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Whether you are looking for rock arches, sandstone formations, vibrant colors, or a combination of all three, Grand Staircase will have what you are looking for if you don’t mind traveling a little bit to find them.
7. Bears Ears National Monument
Bears Ears National Monument consists of two buttes, known as the “bear’s ears” and covers a large area in southeastern Utah. The name comes from traditional Native American names for the two formations, and have a rich culture and history.
With plenty of trails for hiking and off road vehicles, there are plenty of areas to explore throughout the perimeter of the monument, and you will find countless photo opportunities while traveling through this part of the Utah desert.
8. Cedar Breaks National Monument
Nestled between Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park you will find Cedar Breaks National Monument. It is very well known for its giant amphitheater that runs more than 2,000 feet deep and has some amazing colors and textures.
If traveling to Cedar Breaks, plan your trip carefully as snow makes the area inaccessible for a majority of the winter months. Visiting any other time of the year will result in plenty of scenery and wildlife to photograph.
9. Natural Bridges National Monument
Home to the second-largest natural bridge in the world, it is easy to see how Natural Bridges National Monument got its name. There are actually three natural bridges in the park, and all of them are accessible.
A road leads to all three of the bridges, and there are plenty of hiking trails to get you near and to the bases of them. This is a great place to go for some incredible landscape shots without dealing with some of the crowds of other destinations.
10. Dinosaur National Monument
Probably my favorite national park or monument in the entire state, Dinosaur National Monument lies on the border between Colorado and Utah. This park has over 800 paleontological sites and showcases fossils from many different species of dinosaurs.
If fossils aren’t your thing, the park is also home to some amazing cliffs and views. Thanks to the sandstone and minerals in the area, all of the cliffs and buttes are beautiful colors and textures, perfect for landscape photographers to take advantage of.
Utah’s State Parks
11. Kodachrome Basin State Park
Just southeast of Bryce Canyon in southern Utah lies Kodachrome Basin State Park. Easily the most famous part of the park is its limestone spires, in particular, one called Chimney Rock.
This park is home to some gorgeous rock formations with vivid colors and unusual shapes. The best time to visit is in spring and fall, as the summers here in the low desert can get quite hot and the winters can see some snow and access issues.
12. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Found just a short distance from Zion National Park, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is worth a visit if you are ever in the area. The red and pink sand dunes make for some great photo opportunities, and the area is also very popular for off-roading.
The entire park is open to explore on foot, so you can easily avoid the crowds and the noise associated with the dunes and find secluded areas. Your efforts will be rewarded with some exceptional views and unique photos.
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13. Dead Horse Point State Park
Dead Horse Point State Park is found in eastern Utah next to Canyonlands National Park. Here you will find beautiful overlooks of the Colorado River, as well as views into Canyonlands itself.
The most popular place in the park is the gooseneck of the Colorado River, where you can view it from more than 2,000 feet above. There are plenty of hiking trails around the park and the views are well worth a visit.
14. Goosenecks State Park
Found in southeastern Utah near the Valley of the Gods you will find Goosenecks State Park. With views of the San Juan River, you can see views of the many goosenecks from which the park gets its name.
One important note about Goosenecks is that this park has zero trails and no facilities such as bathrooms or amenities, but for those willing to sacrifice a few comforts will be rewarded with some of the best views in the entire state.
15. Lake Powell
Divided between Utah and Arizona lies Lake Powell, and it is easily one of the most popular lakes in either state. Most of the lake does reside in Utah, and it is a major vacation spot that receives around 2 million visitors every year.
For a landscape photographer, this many people may sound intimidating. Luckily, Lake Powell is huge and it is easy to escape the crowds. There are plenty of limestone cliffs and formations around the entire area that offer some breathtaking views and great photo opportunities.
16. Burr Trail
The Burr Trail, found in southern Utah, has to be one of the best scenic drives in the entire country, let alone in the state. It is a paved and graded, gravel and dirt road that passes through places such as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Capitol Reef National Park, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
If you are looking for a great way to cover a lot of area and enjoy some beautiful scenery at the same time, the Burr Trail is an excellent choice to do both.
17. Valley of the Gods
Found in southeastern Utah, Valley of the Gods is a location very similar to Monument Valley. It has some amazing rock formations, buttes, and mesas to see and admire. The difference, however, is that Valley of the Gods is not found on tribal land and therefore has fewer restrictions.
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There is a long road that winds through the area that visitors can use to access many great views, but you can also hike around freely to find the best spots away from any crowds.
18. Utah’s Scenic Byway 12
The Scenic Byway 12 is located in Southern Utah and connects Bryce Canyon National Park on the west and Capitol Reef National Park on the northeast. The 200 km road runs through the Dixie National Forest, the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, the switchbacks of Hogback, and Boulder Mountain.
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Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 is arguably one of the most beautiful drives in the world. Because it offers some unique and distinctive scenery that cannot be found anywhere else, it is designated an All-American Road.
Utah Landscapes | Conclusion
As you can see, there is no shortage of amazing places to visit in the state of Utah. Each one will offer its own unique landscape and terrain, as well as its own advantages and disadvantages. But by doing a little bit of homework and thinking about what it is you are looking for, you can find just about anything you want here.
Many of these state and national parks lie in close proximity, and can easily be visited on the same trip. With so many options to choose from, why not choose a few to visit? Utah is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, and maybe even the world. So what are you waiting for?