Utah advice please
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roguecoolman
Registered: Jul 07, 2005
Total Posts: 1849
Country: United States

Hello All,

I've finally making my first trip to Utah. I'll be flying into Las Vegas and driving to springdale to visit Zion. I'll be staying in springdale for 4 days. I've done some research and this being my first time to Zion I don't want to miss the must see's.


So far plan to visit watchmen and narrows. I know narrows bottom up requires no permit so I'll take that route. But other than these areas, any one else can recommend places to photograph and trails (nothing extreme, I am not that fit :P )?

I do have few questions I hope someone can help me with:

1. I know the main zion road is closed to private vehicles and only run on shuttles because I'll be there from Oct 17-20th. So I take it shuttle all the way. Since I didn't reserve any camp sites, where do you guys recommend I take sunrise/sunset shots with an area I am permitted to reach by car?

2. What other areas should I visit other than Zion? Bryce? I'll have to drive back to springdale as I'm booked a motel there for my entire trip.


Thanks for any tips!

Jason



Chris Tylko
Registered: Nov 04, 2007
Total Posts: 837
Country: Canada

Get yourself a copy of Laurent Martrès "Photographing the Southwest" Volume 1 ...probably the absolute best photog's handbook and all around best "tour book" for Southern Utah. (Other volumes cover other areas).

Spend a day to drive up on the Kolob Plateau part of Zion.

There's also the Kolob Canyon which is less visited but has some nice hikes and less "iconic" scenes.

You can drive to a sunrise at the Towers of the Virgin; park at the Zion Museum and walk behind the building to join the other photogs shooting this classic icon.

You should also consider driving east (I think it was 45 minutes) to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park (there's a campground) ...and terrific sunset shots (see my website, the Utah/Arizona 2008 gallery).

If you don't try to cram in Bryce Canyon Nat'l Park you might consider driving to Cedar Breaks Canyon which is up from Cedar City.

Best thing is go to Google Earth and look at the images. That'll give you a good idea.
Good luck!
Chris



roguecoolman
Registered: Jul 07, 2005
Total Posts: 1849
Country: United States

Thanks Chris!

lovely pictures.

I ordered the book

Jason



JimFox
Registered: Jan 11, 2005
Total Posts: 37961
Country: United States

Hey Jason,

You are staying in Springdale but planning on shooting Bryce too? That is quite a bit of a drive you know between the two? The best times to shoot in Bryce are sunset and sunrise, you would have to leave Springdale like at 3am to make it for sunrise...

Jim



roguecoolman
Registered: Jul 07, 2005
Total Posts: 1849
Country: United States

Jim,

Yeah, Bryce at sunrise is a stretch. Perhaps sunset is more realistic.



DonH
Registered: Mar 23, 2003
Total Posts: 10096
Country: United States

If you want to go to Bryce, stay at Ruby's. It's a Best Western, I think, and just outside the park entrance.



JimFox
Registered: Jan 11, 2005
Total Posts: 37961
Country: United States

Hey Jason,

Thinking more about this. I know you reserved rooms already in Springdale, but if I were you, I would cancel the last few days of it, (should't cost you if you cancel soon enough), and then spend the last 2 days or so up in Bryce and stay at Ruby's like Don suggests.

Jim



Dustin Gent
Registered: Apr 04, 2005
Total Posts: 4833
Country: United States

I agree with Jim. When I was heading to Utah this past spring, I asked here for advice. I think Jeffrey put it best when he said something along the lines of don't try to do too much in a short amount of time. I agree with him. However, with that said, we hit up every national park in Utah in a 4 day period. We also drove from Portland and was back here in 6 days

What I would do is dip out on Bryce and do Antelope Canyon. Page is a little over 2 hours from Springdale. Bryce is 1:24 from Springdale. You could hit up Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon and do Horseshoe Bend. I think for the amount of time you have there, this might be more productive - unless you have been there before.

If you havent been to Antelope, I highly suggest it. Knowing what I know now, I would have opted for the "photographers" tour of the slots. You get more time, less people. It gets packed in there. I was there in 2005 and 2006 (before everyone had DSLRs) and it was annoyingly packed. Just a suggestion. I was underwhelmed (photographically speaking ofcourse.. it is a superb place) at the viewpoints from Bryce - although I was super limited on time.

Whatever you do, have fun and dont try to pack too much into a short time. If you are really enjoying Zion, by all means, explore it the whole time and make another trip out!



Jeffrey
Registered: Nov 12, 2002
Total Posts: 9825
Country: United States

Sunrise and sunset are not a big part of the Zion experience for me. The canyon is deep and you don't get much view of the early glow. I have hiked to Angel's Landing for the sunrise and had to start the tall hike real early. Another hike to the rim would be Observation Point (starts at Weeping Rock). And, the high country beyond the tunnel is fabulous early in the day when the light is soft and it's not crowded. A zillion photo ops there.



roguecoolman
Registered: Jul 07, 2005
Total Posts: 1849
Country: United States

Wow thanks for all the suggestion. I think I will cancel out the last day at springdale and move closer to bryce.

I know I should take it slow, but I had to pack in this trip as it might be awhile before I get to go on another phototrip like this.

the wife is having triplets

Jason



roguecoolman
Registered: Jul 07, 2005
Total Posts: 1849
Country: United States

Uh antelope canyon is that close?! i can't decide now.

Ok guys, I've never been to ANY of these places but I have seen tons of photos from all of you here at FM. If you had to pick (I know this is all personal preference).

I've always wanted to go to Zion. Would you pick 1-2 days either Bryce or Antelope Canyon given that driving distance seems comparable.

If I go to the antelope, I am considering a photography tour. Any recommendations? I don't know the area at all so I don't want to waste time.


Jason



Javier Munoz
Registered: Nov 10, 2007
Total Posts: 536
Country: United States

If you do Kolob and fell like hiking a few miles (not too many) I would recommend you the double-arch.... is very interesting.



andyjaggy82
Registered: Jan 25, 2006
Total Posts: 1345
Country: United States

I would skip Bryce, the big appeal of Bryce to me is when it has snowed, but you aren't going to get that in October... most likely.

There are no shortage of things to see in Zion, I would suggest staying there the whole and hiking up Subway. You can either do it from the top down which requires some repelling, or from the bottom up and then hiking back out the way you came in. The leaves at that spot will probably be turning by then.



alatoo60
Registered: May 05, 2010
Total Posts: 3436
Country: United States

I would agree that sunset/sunrise are not that critical in Zion. You can shoot sunrise at Bryce and drive to Zion (its about 2 hrs), and still make it to a good light. What's critical, though, is to keep in mind that Zion is north to south, so during the day either east or west wall are in shadow, so you need to plan accordingly.
On your way from Vegas there will be Valley of Fire... its becoming FM's next icon. Also, there is Snow Canyon - I've never been there, but would love to.
Not sure you will get the best light in Antelope at this time of the year but it should not be too crowded, especially Lower Antelope. Antelope is late morning/early afternoon location. Golden hour at Lake Powell is as great as it gets - look up locations in the Laurence's book. Have fun - that's a fantastic area.



George Hager
Registered: Apr 10, 2007
Total Posts: 20
Country: United States

Just in Utah last week for a bliz tour of parks in an area I'd never been. Four of my favorite places:

1) The La Verkin Overlook, down a dirt road off the main route (Rte. 9) between St. George and Zion. Curiosity drew me to turn off onto the road (against my wife's wishes) late in the day on the way back from Zion. Drove to a point where I climbed up a small hill (lot of shell casings on the road there, so someone's been out there doing the other kind of shooting). Wow. I'm from the East, so easily impressed by huge 360-deg views like this one. A thunderstorm was sweeping over the mountains in one direction, but that filled just a fraction of the sky. In another direction were gorgeous clouds and a rising moon. Something about the moodiness of the early evening and the vast and utterly silent landscape made me love the place. Shot it up with my EF 17-40 on a full-frame body and am trying to make something of it now.

2) The entire drive from Bryce Canyon to Moab, but especially the road from the Bryce tunnel to Escalante (vertiginous mesas, stunning views) and on through Boulder to Torrey and Hanksville and up to Rte. 70. Saw every sort of topography on this drive, including unexpectedly beautiful and massive red rock formations in Capitol Reef NP, mountain with vast carpets of aspens turning green to gold for miles (probably mostly gold by now), and a landscape that at some points was eerily lunar -- grey dust and huge escarpments that looked like the remnants of some ancient civilization. We said "wow" a lot, with no irony. If we hadn't been in a bit of a hurry (which got me a speeding ticket later on the way into Moab), I would have stopped a hundred times. Note to self: Go back and spend a month.

3) Arches NP outside Moab (never made it to Canyonlands, alas). In the hour before sunset, the sun on the red rocks at the Park Avenue trailhead was indescribably beautiful. Until someone yakking on a cellphone came up and stood next to me. Like having someone do that in the middle of St. Peter's. A pox on them.

4) Sitting on the rim of Bryce Canyon at 10 p.m., watching bright moon go in and out of the clouds, and gazing into the enormous dark emptiness of the canyon itself. Magical. I will offend Bryce partisans by saying that the canyon in daytime was a little disappointing after spending a few days at Grand Canyon a couple of years ago, though the Hoodoos are cool.

My MO obviously different from yours -- I was in a hurry to see as much as possible, as opposed to staying in one or two places for awhile to see and shoot. I had modest expectations for southern Utah and was just blown away.



andyjaggy82
Registered: Jan 25, 2006
Total Posts: 1345
Country: United States

How depressing is it that I live here and haven't been down to S Utah in probably 3 years. I have some priority and soul searching to do.



Greg Campbell
Registered: Jan 10, 2004
Total Posts: 1337
Country: United States

Zion fall colors tend to peak around the first week of November. Depending on how the season unfolds, you'll likely catch at least some of this action.

The Kolob Canyon area is about 1000 ft higher than Zion Valley, and should be somewhere near peak during your visit. A few miles further north, just outside Kanarraville, are Spring and Kanarra creeks. Both offer pretty hikes with waterfalls, red rock, and plenty of fall foliage.

Kolob Reservoir Rd, heading N. from Virgin, also offers a route upslope. Lava Point Campground, if still open, offers comparative solitude and a very pretty view. It's significantly higher and cooler than the valley so bring another blanket or three.

Suggest that you inquire about conditions in these areas when you arrive!


If you want to see pretty slot canyons, there is no reason to slog off to see the shot-to-death Antelope. Try one of the canyons north of Kanab:
http://www.americansouthwest.net/slot_canyons/map.html

Local to Zion:
http://www.americansouthwest.net/slot_canyons/zion_national_park/index.html

If you must visit Jackalope, I'd suggest you aim for the 'Lower' section. If you bring a tripod they'll turn you loose for two hours, free to roam without a guide. You'll actually have time to relax and see the amazing scenery... If driving from Bryce to the Page area, inquire into the condition of Cottonwood Canyon Rd. It's likely to be full of flaming trees during your visit. Keep in mind that the driving time will kill much of one day.



roguecoolman
Registered: Jul 07, 2005
Total Posts: 1849
Country: United States

andyjaggy82 wrote:
I would skip Bryce, the big appeal of Bryce to me is when it has snowed, but you aren't going to get that in October... most likely.

There are no shortage of things to see in Zion, I would suggest staying there the whole and hiking up Subway. You can either do it from the top down which requires some repelling, or from the bottom up and then hiking back out the way you came in. The leaves at that spot will probably be turning by then.



I thought the subway requires permits 3 months in advance, which of course I just found out. So I don't thnk I can do the subway which is a shame because it looks really cool



roguecoolman
Registered: Jul 07, 2005
Total Posts: 1849
Country: United States

You guys are great! lots of info here.

so far I have on my hit list:

1. Narrows hike (I probably won't go all the way, but will stop off at mystery falls and orderville canyon)
2. I am now debating on angel's landing or observation point.

I will split up my stay so I don't stay in zion all of my days. I am still debating either head up north and stay near bryce area and explore there or head down to antelope. Although Greg you've given me much to think about with those links!


Thanks for helping out everyone, much appreciated!


Jason



andyjaggy82
Registered: Jan 25, 2006
Total Posts: 1345
Country: United States

roguecoolman wrote:
andyjaggy82 wrote:
I would skip Bryce, the big appeal of Bryce to me is when it has snowed, but you aren't going to get that in October... most likely.

There are no shortage of things to see in Zion, I would suggest staying there the whole and hiking up Subway. You can either do it from the top down which requires some repelling, or from the bottom up and then hiking back out the way you came in. The leaves at that spot will probably be turning by then.



I thought the subway requires permits 3 months in advance, which of course I just found out. So I don't thnk I can do the subway which is a shame because it looks really cool


Oh yeah, forgot about that important detail.



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