Ready to explore Zion National Park with your camera? Laurent Martres presents 5 photo spots in Zion National Park for the adventurous photographer.
Whilst these are by no means the hardest hikes in Zion Country, photographers looking for a challenge will find these particularly rewarding locations; each will provide a bit of a kick and a sense of adventure and achievement… and, of course, a chance to create amazing photographs to tell your story.
1) Angels Landing
Angel’s Landing central location above Zion Canyon offers a breathtaking, bird’s eye view toward the south entrance of the Park, the spectacular meanders of the Virgin River toward the Temple of Sinawava and an almost eye-level view of one of the iconic landmarks of Zion: the Great White Throne, one of the most beautiful views of Zion Canyon. Most people in good physical condition can make the steep ascent as far as Scout Lookout, but climbing to the Landing proper is the hard part, requiring good balance and no fear of heights. There are chains in the tougher spots to facilitate your progress. The climb requires stamina and chances are you’ll be breathing hard, but you’ll find it well worth the effort when you reach the top. This trek is guaranteed to give you lasting memories and photos to show for it.
2) The Virgin Narrows
One of the main draws of the Virgin Narrows is the fact that you are almost constantly immersed in the Virgin River, often up to your knees and occasionally higher. This contributes enormously to the high fun factor of this great hike. To get the most of the experience and a greater variety of photogenic shots, hike a little past the junction with Orderville Canyon to experience the deepest and darkest narrows. This will be about 2.5 miles one-way. I highly recommend trekking poles as the river floor is often slippery. A dry bag for your camera is also a good idea.
3) The Subway
The Subway is a fantastic location, but reaching it requires a long and difficult hike following the Left Fork of North Creek, however the surreal sight that awaits you toward the end of the journey makes it all worth it. Along the way, you’ll find small cascades, a large mossy alcove, a narrow crack in the bedrock channelling water at high-speed and, at the end, magnificent green pools. Carefully walking past the slippery floor around the pools, a swim inside a narrow channel leads you behind a waterfall. You’re guaranteed to feel your legs after this 9-miler round-trip, but you’ll love your pictures!
4) Water Canyon
More water, as if you hadn’t had enough yet! But with a little luck, this one should actually leave you almost dry. Water Canyon is nested inside the colorful Vermilion Cliffs near Hildale and its short narrows offer refreshing surroundings with water-weeping cliffs, scattered greenery, and tiny cascades. You’ll find the most photogenic spots at and past a little cascade which can be climbed without too much difficulty to access an upper level with a good view of the narrower part of the spot. The truly adventurous could continue along a steep path to Canaan Mountains and the beautiful White Domes, but this is a full day hike.
5) Yant Flat
Yant Flat is an incredibly scenic expanse of cross-bedded sandstone and a spectacular location. It is relatively easily accessed by car (driving cautiously), with lots of fantastic scenery to shoot. Chances are you may have the place to yourselves on a week day. Once you descend from the sandy plateau into the vast expanse of sandstone, the place is yours. There are no trails, just walk around looking for photo opportunities; they are endless. You can easily spend 3 to 5 hours here, but the blue hour/golden hour is best to make your photos shine.