The state of Utah is known for being an outdoor wonderland, with unlimited hiking, rock climbing and river activities. However, Southern Utah has recently become a highly popular photography destination — and not just for professionals!
The vast deserts, rich colors and naturally photogenic wilderness landscapes make this Southwest destination a refreshing — and maybe unexpected — goldmine of picture-perfect nature backdrops for photographers.
5 Instagram-Worthy Places to Photograph in Southern Utah
1. Zion National Park
Utah’s own “Grand Canyon.” There are limitless sites worthy of exploration in Zion, but I’ll limit my favorite spots to a handful!
Hike through — yes, through — the Virgin River at The Narrows, head to The Subway for an enchanting tube-like gorge, or challenge yourself with an intense trek up to Angels Landing. Observation Point and Scout Lookout offer amazing aerial views, while the uniquely lush Kolob Canyons can be explored from the ground up.
For the ultimate Instagram-potential pics, check out cool Airbnb glamping options like vintage airstream trailers or trendy convertible indoor-outdoor listings!
2. Babylon Arch in Red Cliffs Desert Reserve
Not only does the Babylon Arch serve as the perfect photo prop, but the easy hike leading up to this eye-catching rock formation only takes an hour or two — leaving you plenty of time to snap a few shots of this cool “hidden gem.”
The red-sand trail has awesome views of the river, and is best explored in late afternoon hours when the stunning sunset casts the perfect lighting for photos.
3. Yant Flat (Candy Cliffs)
There’s no question why Yant Flat is nicknamed “Candy Cliffs;” the beautifully marbled red rock looks like something straight from a Dr. Seuss animation.
Expect to spend at least a couple hours round trip on this hike, and more if you plan to do any real shooting (which you most definitely should). Vibrant blue skies contrast against the colorful earth to create stunning photos year-round!
4. Snow Canyon State Park
At Snow Canyon, you have the unique opportunity to ATV inside the park, but that’s not all — canyoneering, rock climbing and horseback trail rides through the Navajo sandstone formations make for some cool out-of-the-box experiences.
My favorite spots inside the park are Jenny’s Canyon, Whiterocks Amphitheater — a uniquely light-colored stone in contrast to the surrounding dark reds — and the Petrified Dunes at sunset. The luxury resorts and home rentals in and around the state park — like Red Mountain Resort & Spa — only add to the Instagram potential!
5. Quail Creek State Park
Now you didn’t think Utah was all desert and sand did you? This park’s creek-fed reservoir makes for great water shots, and its close proximity to both Snow Canyon and Zion make Quail Creek State Park an easy place to cool down and capture the area’s scenic surroundings.
Rental paddleboards, kayaks and water carpets are just an added bonus!
Thanks to Visit St. George and iExplore for an epic weekend of photography and exploring hidden gems in Southern Utah!