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NUMBER 1

Canyon Junction Bridge - Best Location in Zion to Photograph the Watchman, the Most Iconic View in Zion

Best Photography Locations in Zion National Park

Map of Canyon Junction in Zion National Park. Image Credit: NPS

Photography Locations in Zion

The spot right at Canyon Junction Bridge is the one of best photography locations in Zion National Park to capture the Watchman Mountain with the Virgin River flowing below.

Hands down, it is the most iconic view of Zion National Park.

The Watchman Mountain in Zion

The Watchman Mountain with the Virgin River flowing below.

Photography Locations in Zion 

Canyon Junction Bridge is a very popular spot to photograph the Watchman at sunset. Needless to say, expect plenty of company. There will be a lot of photographers waiting for a perfect shot of this stunning red-rock mountain.

So, make sure to arrive way before the sunset to secure your spot!

You will get the best light right after the sunset. It is known as the Golden Hour.The colors will be warmer and softer.

Also, make sure to stay a bit longer for the Blue Hour. The Blue Hour is the period of twilight when the Sun is at a significant depth below the horizon. During this time, the remaining sunlight takes on a mostly blue shade.

The Watchman Mountain in Zion

Watchman at sunset in Zion National Park

The Watchman Mountain in Zion

Watchman at sunset in Zion National Park

Intrepid’s Tip:

My recommendation is to skip the sunset, since it gets very crowded at Canyon Junction Bridge. Instead, plan on photographing the Watchman at sunrise!

You will definitely have more room to set up your equipment and hopefully find some solitude as well.

The Watchman Mountain in Zion.

The Watchman at sunrise with the Virgin River flowing below.

Photography Locations in Zion 

Finally, Canyon Junction Bridge is a not a bad spot to catch some photos of the Milky Way with the Watchman and the Virgin River.

It is not an ideal spot, because you will get a lot of light coming from Springdale, but it will work.

Best Photography Locations in Zion National Park

The Watchman at night in Bryce Canyon National Park.

Photography Locations in Zion 

How to Get to Canyon Junction Bridge in Zion National Park

Canyon Junction Bridge is located near the intersection of Zion-Mount Carmel Highway (Hwy 9) and the Valley Road.

There is a parking area, however, parking is very limited.

What I like to do is take the shuttle and get off at the Visitor’s Center and then take Pa’rus Trail to Canyon Junction Bridge. It is a easy trail with little elevation change. Specifically, it is 1.7 miles one way with awesome views along the way!

If the shuttle is fully operational, then take the shuttle and get off Canyon Junction – shuttle stop # 3.

NUMBER 2

Canyon Overlook - Best Location to Photograph Zion Canyon

Map of Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion

Map of Canyon Overlook Trail in Zion National Park. Image Credit: NPS

Photography Locations in Zion

Canyon Overlook is the best viewpoint in Zion National Park to photograph the Zion Canyon with the switchbacks below the west end of the Mount Carmel Tunnel, West Temple, the Towers of the Virgins, the Streaked Wall, and the Beehives.

East Temple rises directly above the Overlook, towering more than 2,200 feet above the canyon floor.

The view is simply off the charts!

Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park

Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park. 

Photography Locations in Zion

I have to say that Canyon Overlook is one of the best photography locations in Zion to capture some awesome phots of sunrise and sunset of the main canyon.

Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park

Canyon Overlook n Zion National Park.

Photography Locations in Zion

Now, make sure to stay a bit after the sunset and try to get some pictures of Canyon Overlook during the Blue Hour.

Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park

Canyon Overlook n Zion National Park.

Photography Locations in Zion

I need to add that it is a tough location to photograph, because you have the sun right in your face during the day. So, if there is any cloud coverage predicted for the day, then I would definitely head to Canyon Overlook on that day.

Also, the clouds will make the sunset more dramatic and you might be rewarded with some incredible sky colors.

Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park

Canyon Overlook in Zion National Park.

Photography Locations in Zion

How to Get to Canyon Overlook in Zion

The Canyon Overlook Trailhead is located on Highway 9, right by the east entrance to the Mount Carmel Tunnel. There is no shuttle service available is this area, so you will need to use your vehicle.

The parking area is located on the south side of the road, and the trailhead is across the street, on the north side of the road.

The hike from the trailhead to the Canyon Overlook is about 1-mile one-way. It is a moderate hike with some sharp however short inclines.

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Best Photography Locations in Zion National Park
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NUMBER 3

Behind Zion Human History Museum - Best Place to Photograph Towers of the Virgin

Best Photography Locations in Zion National Park

Map of Human History Museum in Zion National Park. Image Credit: NPS

Photography Locations in Zion

The Towers of the Virgin, the large collection of peaks, are best photographed from anywhere behind the Zion Human History Museum.

Starting from the left, you can see the West Temple. Next to it is the Sundial, and, then the Towers of the Virgin, followed by the Altar of Sacrifice.

Some visitors claim they can see the shrouded figure of the Virgin Mary on the face of the central peak.

It is said the this collection of peaks is best viewed early in the morning.

My recommendation is to arrive at the Zion Human History Museum as early in the morning as possible. I would say claim your spot and have your equipment set up at least 30 minutes before the sunrise. Now, consider yourself warned: you will have plenty of company. It is a very popular Zion photo spot.

Towers of the Virgin in Zion

Towers of the Virgin before sunrise in Zion National Park.

Photography Locations in Zion

Towers of the Virgin in Zion

Towers of the Virgin right before sunrise in Zion National Park.

Photography Locations in Zion

Towers of the Virgin in Zion

Towers of the Virgin at sunrise in Zion National Park.

Photography Locations in Zion

Another good time to head to the Zion History Museum is way way before sunrise. When there is barley any light. It is when the sun is still at a significant depth below the horizon and the light takes on a blue shade.

It is not a set rule, but set the aperture to somewhere between around f/9 and f/14. Then, keep to ISO 100 or 200.

Finally the shutter speed should be about five seconds to let enough light in.

Above all, be patient and experiment.

Best Photography Locations in Zion National Park

Towers of the Virgin during the Blue Hour in Zion National Park.

Photography Locations in Zion

How to Get to Zion Human History Museum

The Zion Human History Museum is located inside the park, 1.5 miles north of the park’s South Entrance on the main park road, or 11 miles west from the park’s East Entrance.

Make sure to check out my post: how to get around in Zion National Park to help you navigate throughout the park.

If the shuttle is fully operational, you can take the shuttle and get off at Museum – Shuttle stop # 2.

NUMBER 4

Court of the Patriarchs - Zion's Most Inspiring Landmark to Photograph

Map of Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park

Map of Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park. Image Credit: NPS

Photography Locations in Zion

The Court of the Patriarchs is the famous landmark that you should not miss and make sure that you photograph in Zion National Park. If you are into landscape photography then you will really appreciate how the Court of the Patriarchs captures the spirit of the outdoors.

The Court of the Patriarchs is a grouping of sandstone cliffs named after the biblical figures of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Best Photography Locations in Zion National Park

Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park.

Photography Locations in Zion

My recommendation is that you take a short hike to that starts at the Shuttle stop # 4. It is not really much of the hike, but it will give you more elevation and an opportunity to take better pictures.

How to Get to Court of the Patriarchs in Zion

You can take the shuttle and get off at the Court of Patriarchs, which is shuttle stop # 4.

If the shuttle temporarily does not stop at # 4, then get off at stop # 5 and take a leisurely walk (south) to the Court of Patriarchs.

NUMBER 5

Angels Landing - Most Popular Photography Location in Zion National Park

Map of Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park

Map of Angels Landing Trail in Zion National Park. Image Credit: NPS

Photography Locations in Zion

Angels Landing is probably the top photography spot in Zion National Park.

If you are adventurous and fit for a strenuous hike then take Angels Landing Trail for the most iconic photographs of the Zion Canyon.

INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: Angels Landing Trail – What You Need to Know Before You Go

CLICK HERE

Even though Angels Landing is a strenuous and a scary hike, it is one of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park. With that being the case, do not expect any solitude on this hike. You will have plenty of company along the way. And, once you get to Angels Landing, you will have to wait in line to take some pictures.

However, it is all worth it! Hands down, the views at Angels Landing are awesome and it is one of the best photography locations in Zion.

Angels Landing hike is not for people with the fear of heights. The last section of the trail is on the narrow spine of the mountain. You will have to use chains to help you up.

Angels Landing Trail in Zion

Hiking the Angels Trail in Zion National Park.

Angels Landing Trail in Zion

Hiking the Angels Landing Trail in Zion. 

And, it is ok to complete your hike before the section with the chains. Trust me, you will still get some awesome pictures!

Best Photography Locations in Zion National Park

View from Angels Landing in Zion National Park.

Photography Locations in Zion

How to Get to Angels Landing in Zion National Park

If you are visiting the park between the months of March through October, then you will have to use the shuttle. No private vehicles are allowed inside the park.

By the same token, shuttle is free. Your park entrance ticket covers the cost of the shuttle. The shuttle operates in Springdale, Utah, as well as inside the park.

To get to the start of Angels Landing Hike, get off at the Grotto, which is shuttle stop number 6.

NUMBER 6

Observation Point - Zion Canyon Top Photography Location

Best Photography Locations in Zion National Park

Map of Observation Point Trail in Zion National Park. Image Credit: NPS

Photography Locations in Zion

Hands down, Observation Point is the top spot to photograph the entire canyon in Zion National Park. However, it requires some hiking along Observation Point Trail.

If you are up for a strenuous hike, then you will be rewarded with the most stunning 360-degree views.

View from Observation Point in Zion

Observation Point in Zion National Park

Photography Locations in Zion

INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: Observation Point Trail – Step-By-Step (with PHOTOS)

CLICK HERE

What I like about Observation Point Trail is that it is not as busy as the Angels Landing Trail. You will get to enjoy some peaceful moments on this trail, plus you will not have to wait in line to take some photos.

If you are up to it, then consider getting to Observation Point at sunrise (be there before sunrise!). Honestly, it is the best experience ever and the view of the Zion Canyon bathed in these soft warm colors is just breathtaking! In my opinion, it is one of the best sunrise spots in Zion National Park.

So if you look at the picture below, to your right will be the West Rim Trail and the inspiring Angels Landing. A little farther down canyon you will be able to see the Three Patriarchs. On the left will be the East Rim, Cable Mountain, Great White Throne. Far down canyon, you will be able to see the Watchman.

And, right below you will be the valley with the Virgin River going around the Organ and the Angels Landing and forming the Big Bend.

Observation Point in Zion

Observation Point in Zion National Park at sunrise.

Photography Locations in Zion

How to Get to Observation Point in Zion National Park

If you are using the shuttle, then get off at Weeping Rock, which is shuttle stop number 7. Weeping Rock is the starting point for the Observation Point Trail.

The Observation Point Trail is 8 miles round-trip. It takes about four to six hours to hike from Weeping Rock trailhead to Observation Point and back.

Make sure to check out my post and get all the details.

NUMBER 7

Zion Narrows - Zion's Most Famous Photo Location

Best Photography Locations in Zion National Park

Map of Zion Narrows in Zion National Park. Image Credit: NPS

Photography Locations in Zion

The Zion Narrows Trail in Zion National Park is no doubt the most famous location that needs to be on your list of places to photograph in Zion.

However, the Zion Narrows Trail is one of the most challenging spots in photographing Zion National Park. Why? Notably, you are hiking the Virgin River upstream.

The river is your trail!

And, yes, the water is cold and the current is strong. And, you are hiking in knee deep to sometimes waist deep water. The riverbed has sections of sand and sections of slippery rocks. So, you need to prepare, because it is a challenging location.

However, what is really neat about this trail, is that you are hiking in the canyon where in some areas the walls rise up to more than 1,000 feet, however they are only 20 feet apart.

Conversely, the rewards are great! You will see waterfalls, huge boulders, hidden canyons, hanging gardens, and so much more.

Zion Narrows

Zion Narrows in Zion National Park 

Photography Locations in Zion

INTREPID SCOUT’S TIP:

READ: The Zion Narrows – Everything You Need to Know (with Maps and Photos)

CLICK HERE

Zion Narrows

Zion Narrows in Zion National Park 

Photography Locations in Zion

The Zion Narrows Trail is a very popular hike. You will have a lot of company along the way and it will be challenging to get any pictures without people in them. So, start early.

Next, make sure to buy a dry-bag to protect your camera and your valuables. Finally, you need to have a hiking stick or hiking poles. The stones in the riverbed are slippery. In addition, it is hard to see the bottom of the river. And, lastly, review my post to get all the details.

The photo opportunities along the Zion Narrows Trail are endless. You will end up with breathtaking photos!

Zion Narrows

Zion Narrows in Zion National Park 

Photography Locations in Zion

Zion Narrows Photography Guide

How to photograph the Zion Narrows? Honestly, just experiment and practice. The following are just a few tips that might help you achieve the desired effect:

  • Use HDR

Have you ever created HDR images? Well, the Zion Narrows is a good place to give it a try.

At the most basic level, an HDR photo consists of several photos taken at different exposure levels and then mashed together with software to create a better picture.

  • Use Tripod

There is not much light in the canyon, so you will definitely need a tripod.

  • Use Low ISO Setting

ISO refers to how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to light.

A high ISO value (e.g. 800, 1600 or higher) means a high sensitivity to light. This helps in low-light situations where you need the camera to capture more light for a better-exposed image.

Zion Narrows

Hiking Zion Narrows in Zion National Park.

Zion Narrows

Hiking Zion Narrows in Zion National Park.

How to Get to Zion Narrows

The Zion Narrows Trailhead is located at North End of Riverside Walk. To get there, you will start at Temple of Sinawava and take Riverside Walk, and have your camera ready, because along the way you will have plenty of photo opportunities.

The end of Riverside Walk is the Zion Narrows Trailhead.

Now, what you need to know is that you will get the best photo opportunities once you reach a section of the Zion Narrows called Wall Street.

By the way, just to give you an idea,  following are the distances between each section of the Zion Narrows Trail:

  • Gateway to the Narrows (end of Riverside Walk) to Mystery Falls – .5 mile
  • Mystery Falls to Wall Street – 1.25 miles

NUMBER 8

Emerald Pools - Most Scenic Place to Photograph in Zion

Best Photography Locations in Zion National Park

Map of Emerald Pools Trail in Zion National Park. Image Credit: NPS

Photography Locations in Zion

Emerald Pool Trail is an amazing trail where you can photograph three beautiful pools and (depending on the time of the year) two magnificent waterfalls.

What is really cool about this trail is that takes you right under the waterfalls along an alcove. And, you can take really awesome pictures of the waterfalls as they pour down into the pools.

Emerald Pools in Zion

Emerald Pools Trail in Zion National Park 

Photography Locations in Zion

Now, what you need to keep in mind is that the waterfalls are reduced to basically nothing during summer months.

The best to see and photograph the waterfalls and the pools is either during spring months. However, heavy rains do occur in Zion National Park, especially during the monsoon season, which is at the end of summer (between late July and mid September). Hands down, the best time to take great pictures of the waterfalls and the pools is right after a heavy rain.

Emerald Pools in Zion

Emerald Pools Trail in Zion National Park.

Photography Locations in Zion

How to Get to Emerald Pools in Zion National Park

The Emerald Pools Trailhead is located right next to Zion Lodge.

If you are taking the shuttle, then get off at shuttle stop # 5. Next, cross the footbridge and continue on Emerald Pools Trail the trail along the Virgin River.

Zion National Park Photography Guide

  • Arrive Early to Photograph Sunrise or Sunset in Zion National Park 

Arrive way before the sunrise or sunset to secure a good spot. It gets crowded at all the popular viewpoints especially in the summertime.  Also, keep in mind that the best light will happen shortly before the sunrise or shortly after sunset, and it is known as the Golden Hour. The light is warmer and softer and there are no sharp shadows during the Golden Hour.

Second, make sure to use a long exposure selection on your camera.

How do you do a long exposure? Simply, turn your camera’s mode dial to Manual and use a slow shutter speed (5-30 seconds) for a longer exposure. Additionally, use your camera self-timer to take a photo.

  • Include Foreground, Middleground, and Background in Your Photos

The Zion Canyon is vast and getting a sense of scale can be a bit challenging. The best to overcome that hurdle is to find a strong foreground. For instance, try finding a tree, or a protruding rock. And, then work on focusing on middleground, and background to give your photo a nice 3-dimensional perspective.

  • Bring a Tripod to Photograph Sunrise and Sunset in the Zion National Park 

Having a tripod will help you minimize the risk of any movement while you are capturing longer exposures and allowing more light to enter the camera.

  • Photograph Zion at Night

Zion is one of the best photography locations for nighttime images. Taking photos at night can be challenging. So, be patient and practice. It takes time to capture the great images of the sky at night. And, it takes a lot of experimenting with the camera settings.

Follow these nighttime photography rules:

  • Have the camera on manual mode on a sturdy tripod. Turn off image stabilization.
  • Have a wide angle lens between 14mm to 24mm to get a good view of the Milky Way in the frame along with foreground.
  • Set the aperture to the widest – at least f2.8, but if you have only the kit lens, use it at 18mm / f3.5.
  • Start with the lowest ISO possible, about 1600. Depending on the result, you can decrease further or increase the ISO up to 3200, above which the image quality can start to deteriorate.
  • Put your lens on manual focus and focus on the brightest star in the sky. Zoom in on live view and turn the focus ring till the star shows up as a bright point in the screen.
  • Use the mirror lockup feature if using a DSLR to avoid blur due to camera movement.

Intrepid Scout's Tips for Best Photography Locations in Zion National Park

Let me know if you have your favorite Zion National Park photography spot and I will add it to the list of the most instagrammable places in Zion National Park.

Here are a few tips for Zion National Park photography:

  • Do not expect any solitude at any of these photography locations in the Zion National Park. You will have plenty of company!
  • If you plan on taking pictures at sunrise or sunset, then you need to plan accordingly. First of all, check sunrise and sunset times. Next, check the weather conditions. Finally, allow enough time to get to the best sunrise and sunset photography locations. My recommendation is to arrive at least 30 minutes before sunrise or sunset, just in time for the Golden Hour.
  • It can be very cold in the morning even during summer months. So, make sure to dress warmly and dress in layers. Check the weather forecast as well. The weather can change within a few hours, so be prepared.

A trip to Zion National is perfect paired with a side trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument, or Canyonlands, Capitol Reef National Parks.

Check out my post: Zion to Bryce Canyon: 3-Day Adventure (with Maps and Photos)

Did you know that Utah has five national parks known as ‘The Mighty 5‘. Have you visited any of them? Which is your favorite Utah National Park: Arches National Park, Bryce National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and Zion National Park.

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Now, It Is Your Turn, I Would Like to Hear Back from You!

Are you planning your trip to Zion National Park? Please let me know! Drop me a quick comment right below!

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