Advice on a 2 week trip to 4 National Parks for wildlife/nature photography

Registered: Sep 25, 2012
Total Posts: 3
Country: United States


I am planning a 2 week trip where i want to visit all 4 national parks that are on my bucket list from October 22nd to November 6th. My priorities are visiting the Grand Tetons and staying there for a good 5 days, driving down to Moab and taking pictures of Arches National Park and get an amazing opportunity for star photography at Arches. Then taking a plane to Fresno from Salt Lake to visit Yosemite National park and see the Sequioa's which I know are all about an hour away from Fresno. I have lodging available for all of these places so lodging is not an issue. I would like to have hiking accessibility, but don't know if it will be possible considering I am going late fall.

Also, I am not sure if I would def need a 4WD car considering the season or if I will be okay driving from the Teton's to Utah in a green car to avoid high gas expenses. Is this a possible trip? Arches I think I would be okay with 2 day stay considering I have read you can do all major hikes in a day, but I would like to get good early morning and late afternoon shots of the landscape. In Yosemite and Sequioa's i don't know how long I should spend or it is recommended to spend on each. I was thinking of being 4-5 days and splitting it with whatever I wanted to see in those 4-5 days more. I definitely do think the Teton's is where I want to spend the most time. Is 5 and a half days enough? I know bears and wolves are a big possibility around that time.

I have visited Yellowstone already and stayed there for 5 days at the Roosevelt Lodges, so I have seen old faithful, done the loop and spent a lot of time on the Lamur Valley. Don't know if I would add Yellowstone since I did want to see things I haven't done before.

Any suggestions would be amazing!!! Want this to be a trip I won't forget and get an amazing portfolio out of it!

Registered: Sep 10, 2004
Total Posts: 845
Country: United States

First suggestion, don't take the Google Maps recommendation for Tetons/Jackson to Arches/Moab. Take 189/191 to Vernal instead. Good road with some good scenery, plus you pass by Flaming Gorge. From Vernal to Moab, not much to see. You can choose hwy 40 or stay on 191. I recommend 191. Hwy 40 is really desolate. Never been there in late October so I'm not sure of the road conditions, but it's a good road, so I doubt you need 4WD.

When at Arches/Moab don't overlook Dead Horse Point. It'a a state park, $10 entry fee, but a must see. Definitely a sunset location. The northern Canyonlands is good, the southern section is not worth the effort. One of the hikes in Arches is the "Firey Furnace" and highly recommended. Ranger led hike only, about 2 hours, you need to sign up at the visitor center.

Five days sounds like a lot for Tetons unless you plan to do a lot of long hiking. For normal driving and photographing, 2 days is plenty.

Coming out of Moab and heading for Salt Lake City, you are within striking distance of Bryce Nat'l Park, and a route through Escalante. Would add a day or 2 but worth considering.

Registered: Nov 30, 2011
Total Posts: 792
Country: United States

RK, i must say thank you for such an informative and detailed quick response even if it was not my post. It contains the details the OP needs to see and points out the ones that are a waste of time. Great suggestions.

John Patrick
Registered: May 09, 2005
Total Posts: 2432
Country: United States

I've been to all four of those parks, with three (Arches, Sequoia, and Yosemite) this past summer. I can't think of any reason why you'd need 4WD. Maybe I just stuck to the main roads, but they got me everywhere I wanted.

I only spent two days at Grand Tetons NP when I was there last, and felt I could have spent one more, but felt like I did see quite a bit. I was there with (extended) family, so I didn't get all the photo ops I wanted. If I was there purely for photo ops, I think two days would have been a good start.

Arches NP was great. I spent 1.5 days there, and could have spent more. I did get a good number of photo ops there.

Canyonlands NP is very near Arches, and very good photo ops. At least drop by.

Sequoia NP was great, but you can see quite a bit of it in two full days. If pressed, I'd cut this down a bit.

Yosemite is big. Bigger than you think. Photo ops everywhere. If you have spare days, plan in here. I didn't spend enough time here at all.

Make sure you buy the All Parks Annual Pass at Tetons, as then you can get into all the parks for one low price.


Registered: Jan 26, 2006
Total Posts: 88
Country: United States

The dates you have selected are great for picture taking I have taken that route on more than one trip.
If I may suggest calling CHP and check on the roads as they get closed in Yosemite early. And even some of the roads in sequoia national park.