Utah National Parks have some of the most stunning landscapes in the US! There are many sunrise photo spots in Utah National Parks to capture the beauty of these areas!
Whether you’re a novice or an experienced photographer, these sunrise spots will give you the perfect backdrop for capturing the beauty of all 5 Utah National Parks.
Utah’s National Parks are some of the most beautiful places on earth. With breathtaking landscapes, Utah National Parks provide an ideal backdrop for photographers to capture stunning sunrise photos!
The information we share is based on our 15 plus years taking photos at all five National Parks in Utah. Luckily we live only hours away and have visited all the parks many times over the years and taken many sunrise photos!
One tip we have is to make sure you’re Utah National Parks packing list includes the right clothing and camera gear for taking pictures at sunrise based on the weather and temperatures you’ll experience when you’re visiting.
Use this guide full of photo tips, best sunrise photo spots, and the camera gear you’ll need to take pictures at Utah National Parks!
Be sure to grab a copy of our Camera Gear Checklist so you’re prepared with the right equipment for taking sunrise photos. You can get a free printable by clicking the graphic below!
Camera Gear for Landscape Photography
- Tripod: take a look at these compact and lightweight travel tripods!
- Camera Bag: protect your camera from sand and water → We use Lowepro camera backpacks for outdoor photography.
- Neutral density filter: to compensate for variance of light you’ll need to use a neutral density filter. → Check out the Kase magnetic filters we use!
- Camera cleaning kit: remove dust or water that WILL get on your lens. NOTE: this is not for cleaning the sensor.
- Memory cards: purchase name brand memory cards since you’re trusting your images to the card! → We use Lexar and Sandisk!
- External hard drive: copy photos to a portable external hard drive ‘just in case’.
- Headlamp: use when taking sunrise and sunset photos!
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A Photo Tour of Utah National Parks
Take a visual tour through all five Utah National Parks to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!
Tips for Taking Utah National Parks Sunrise Photos
Here are a few sunrise photography tips to help you capture amazing images at Utah National Parks:
- Take advantage of the compositions provided by moving to different viewpoints of the formations.
- Use a sturdy tripod to maximize clarity and sharpness, and to expand creative possibilities.
- From a tripod: ISO 100, Aperture F/11 – F/13, adjust shutter speed to accommodate changing light conditions.
- Handheld: set shutter speed to twice the value of your lens focal length (ex. Lens focal length of 24mm = 1/50 shutter speed). Aperture F/11 – F/13, adjust ISO to accommodate shutter speed.
- Expose for the bright sunlit areas.
Best Sunrise Photo Spots in Utah National Parks
Here’s a list of the best places to photograph sunrise at all five Utah National Parks: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion!
So grab your camera and take a look at some of our favorite sunrise photo spots in Utah’s National Parks!
Arches National Park Sunrise Photo Spots
Watching a sunrise at Arches National Park is like stepping into a different world. As the sun rises, it lights up the sandstone arches with beautiful shades of red, orange, and gold.
Yes, there are locations where you can watch the sun crossing the horizon, but we feel the best sunrise photography at Arches happens when the stone structures glow from the golden hour light.
Below are the five locations we like at sunrise. For more detailed information, click the link to get the full list of Arches National Park sunrise tips and photo spots:
- Turret Arch
- Double Arch
- La Sal Viewpoint
- Balanced Rock
- Delicate Arch
Here’s a handy Arches National Park photo spots map to use to navigate to each location.
Be sure to grab your free Arches Photo Spots Checklist to download, print, and take with you to the park!
Bryce Canyon National Park Sunrise Photo Spots
Bryce Canyon sunrise photography is spectacular! You can capture the sun crossing the horizon as the golden light makes the hoodoos glow creating fantastic images!
We definitely recommend getting up early to watch the Bryce Canyon sunrise. You’ll see a kaleidoscope of colors when the first light hits the amphitheater and the tops of the hoodoos. From purples and pinks to the brightest golds, it’s like the entire canyon is glowing!
Below are the five locations we like for taking sunrise pictures at Bryce Canyon. Click the link to get the full list of Bryce Canyon sunrise tips and photo spots:
- Bryce Point
- Sunset Point
- Thor’s Hammer – Navajo Trail
- Sunrise Point
- Inspiration Point
- Rainbow Point
- Rim Overlook Trail
Use this map of Bryce Canyon photo spots to navigate through the park to each location!
Be sure to grab your free Bryce Canyon Photo Spots Checklist to download, print, and take with you to the park!
Canyonlands National Park Sunrise Photo Spots
We focus our photography at Canyonlands Island in the Sky because it’s the most accessible and offers fantastic, panoramic views of the park along the scenic drive.
At Canyonlands we like to photograph the sun crossing the horizon as it bathes the canyons and buttes in warm, golden light. Grand View Point and Mesa Arch are the two best overlooks for this.
Below are the best locations we like for taking sunrise pictures at Island in the Sky. Click the link to get the full list of Canyonlands sunrise tips and photo spots:
- Grand View Point
- Mesa Arch
- Green River Overlook
- Buck Canyon Overlook
- Shafer Trail Overlook
Take a look at the Canyonlands Island in the Sky photo map with the pinned photography locations so you can navigate to each spot in the park.
Capitol Reef National Park Sunrise Photo Spots
There is ONE spot we always go for sunrise at Capitol Reef: Panorama Point! You’ll capture the sun crossing the horizon from this location that’s just stunning!
It’s also a good spot to photograph a variety of Capitol Reef landscape photos during the golden hour light!
You’ll find other locations in the park where you’re surrounded by massive cliffs and domes that suddenly get splashed with color at sunrise. It’s like the entire landscape comes to life!
Below are the best locations we like for taking sunrise pictures at Capitol Reef. Click the link to get the full list of Capitol Reef National Park sunrise photography spots!
- Panorama Point
- Sunset Point
- Fruita Barn
- Grand Wash
- Capitol Gorge
- Eph Hanks Tower
Use this map of Capitol Reef photo spots to navigate through the park from location to location.
Zion National Park Sunrise Photo Spots
If your Zion vacation is in the spring, summer or fall when the Zion National Park shuttle is running, you’ll have limited access to sunrise and sunset photography at the locations in Zion Canyon.
At Zion you won’t see the sun crossing the horizon due to the towering cliffs. Instead you’ll watch light first appear on the tops of the cliffs then slowly descend to illuminate the landscape.
The seemingly hidden sunrise at Zion allows you to embrace the unique spectacle of light unveiling the beauty of the park one cliff at a time.
Below are the places we like for taking sunrise pictures at Zion. Click the link to get the full list of Zion National Park sunrise tips and photo spots:
- Towers of the Virgin / Zion Human History Museum
- Canyon Overlook
- Mt. Carmel Road Switchbacks
- Three Patriarchs
Reference the Zion photos spots Google Map with the pinned locations to plan your sunrise photograph schedule.
Be sure to grab your free Zion Photo Spots Checklist to download, print, and take with you to the park!
Travel Guides for Utah National Parks
Check out our Utah National Park travel guides that detail the best things to see, do and photograph at all 5 parks!
- Arches National Park Travel Guide
- Bryce Canyon Travel Guide
- Canyonlands National Park Guide
- Capitol Reef National Park Guide
- Zion National Park Travel Guide