Here’s a list of the top spots to photograph the best sunset in Moab, Utah. The best sunset photography in Moab happens when the stone structures glow from the golden hour light as the sun sets.
Use this list of sunset tips and photo spots along with our Moab, Utah Vacation Guide to plan your vacation itinerary.
We live hours away from Moab and visit often. The tips we share here are based on our years of experience taking pictures in the Moab area throughout the year and in all types of weather conditions!
Check out this list of the best places for Moab sunset photography and camera gear you’ll need to pack.
Use our Moab, Utah packing list to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting any time of year! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!
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Camera Gear for Moab Photography
We have a printed Camera Gear Checklist to help us pack all the equipment we need – that way we don’t forget anything!
- Cameras for Landscape Photography
- Lightweight Travel Tripods
- Camera Bag: Protecting your camera from the sand and dust in Arches is essential. Using a camera backpack is so nice for hiking too.
- Graduated neutral density filter: There can be extreme differences in light around the various rock structures. To compensate for this variance of light you’ll need to use a GND filter.
- Camera cleaning kit: You’ll want to remove dust that WILL get on your lens – this is NOT for cleaning the sensor.
- Memory cards
- External hard drive: Don’t forget to copy the photos to a portable external hard drive ‘just in case’.
- Headlamp with a red light: For the best sunrise, sunset or night sky shots, you’ll be navigating in the dark. Use a headlamp to light your way from the parking lot to your spot. Wearing a headlamp allows you to set up your equipment without having to hold a flashlight. Remember to use the red light setting and keep the beam pointed on the ground in front of you to avoid disrupting other photographers in the area taking long exposure shots.
A Photo Tour of Moab, Utah
Take a visual tour through the Moab, Utah area to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!
Tips For Visiting Moab, Utah
Most of the year you’ll enjoy fun outdoor Moab adventures like scenic drives, hiking, biking, and photography. During the winter, the activities may be a bit more limited due to cold or snowy conditions!
When planning a trip to this popular Utah vacation spot, it’s important to be up-to-date with current weather and road conditions!
Use these resources to plan your Moab vacation:
- Moab Utah Hiking Trails
- Kid-Friendly Things to do in Moab, Utah
- Guide to Moab photography
- Arches National Park Travel Guide
- Canyonlands National Park Guide
- Dead Horse Point State Park
Moab Utah Weather
We visit the Moab area multiple times a year, and have experienced all types of Moab weather during all four seasons.
It’s important to know the average temperatures, services available, and things to do to determine the best time to visit Moab for you to plan your vacation.
Be sure YOU as the photographer are dressed for the weather and temperatures so you’ll actually want to get out and take pictures!
Moab Spring Weather
Springtime in Moab varies quite a bit from month to month. When visiting Moab in the spring, it’s important to pack for all types of weather because you never know when the weather will change.
- Moab in March: Highs 64 | Lows 35 degrees F
- Moab in April: Highs 71 | Lows 42 degrees F
- Moab in May: Highs 82 | Lows 51 degrees F
It is not unusual to get rain or even snowfall in March. We recommend you watch the weather and pack a winter coat, winter hat, and winter gloves when going to Moab in early spring. A fleece jacket, hat, and gloves should be fine later in the spring.
Moab Summer Weather
When planning your trip to Moab in the summer expect HOT temperatures! Since the temperatures are brutal this time of year, plan your outdoor activities for the cooler mornings and evenings!
- Moab in June: Highs 93 | Lows 60 degrees F
- Moab in July: Highs 100 | Lows 67 degrees F
- Moab in August: Highs 97 | Lows 66 degrees F
With the hot summer temperatures, you’ll want to protect yourself from the sun by wearing a sun hat, sunscreen and sunglasses. It’s important to stay hydrated and carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack. You also need to eat salty healthy snacks!
Moab Fall Weather
The weather at Moab in the fall starts to cool down making it a great time to explore the park because it will be cooler in the mornings and evenings, and the daytime temperatures aren’t too hot compared to the summer.
- Moab in September: Highs 85 | Lows 54 degrees F
- Moab in October: Highs 71 | Lows 40 degrees F
- Moab in November: Highs 55 | Lows 30 degrees F
Moab Winter Weather
The temperatures really drop at Moab in the winter so it’s the least busy season. We don’t mind the colder weather for enjoying outdoor activities, which makes the winter the best time for us to visit to escape the crowds!
BUT the cold winter weather may not be for everyone.
- Moab in December: Highs 45 | Lows 23 degrees F
- Moab in January: Highs 44 | Lows 22 degrees F
- Moab in February: Highs 52 | Lows 28 degrees F
Tips for Taking Sunset Photos in Moab
Here are a few sunset photography tips to help you capture amazing images in Moab:
- 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.
Check out these awesome SUNRISE AND SUNSET PRESETS at ETSY!
Top Locations to Photograph the Best Sunset in Moab
To capture a Moab sunset, you’ll find photo spots in Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky, Dead Horse Point, and around the Moab area.
We’ll detail everything you need to know to photograph the sunset at these locations. All of these photo spots are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Arches National Park: check the website for the latest information about permits to enter the park (usually from April to October). You CAN visit Arches without a ticket as long as you enter the park before 6 a.m or after 5 p.m. Since we’re talking about sunset photography, you should be fine entering the park after 5 p.m. and getting to the photo spot you want. The only exception could be having time to make the hike to Delicate Arch, depending on the sunset time when you’re visiting.
Canyonlands Island in the Sky: give yourself plenty of time to drive to the park and the specific location you want to photograph. It’s good to check the website as well for all updated information, just in case a permit system is put in place!
Dead Horse Point State Park: the US National Park pass is not valid here since this is a Utah State Park. The additional fee to visit this park is well worth it to photograph this iconic scene you can’t see at Canyonlands.
Sunset Photo Spots in Arches National Park
Check out our Arches & Canyonlands Itinerary and Photography Guide with tips and best times to take pictures at each viewpoint!
Here are the best places to photograph the sunset at Arches National Park.
Delicate Arch at Sunset
Delicate Arch is THE best sunset spot in Arches National Park to capture the red-orange glow on the arch and surrounding landscape.
The trail to see the arch up close is 3 miles roundtrip and climbs 480 feet in elevation. This Arches National Park hiking trail is mostly uphill and takes 1 to 1 ½ hours if you are reasonably fit. Be sure to take a headlamp for the hike down after sunset.
If you’re not up for the hike, you can still see this iconic landmark from the Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint. There is an Upper Viewpoint that takes you a little closer and requires walking ½ mile with some stairs.
Delicate Arch is a main attraction at Arches for tourists and photographers who want photos of arches in Utah.
Be sure to practice patience and courtesy while you wait your turn to get your picture taken under the arch.
Walk around the area and try a variety of basic photography techniques to photograph the arch.
Balanced Rock at Sunset
Balanced Rock is a popular feature in the park. We suggest you explore the easy .3 mile round trip trail that makes a full loop around this landmark.
ARCHES FUN FACT: the balanced, upper portion of the rock is as large as three school buses!
It’s fun to photograph the various perspectives as you walk around the structure! There will be a lot of people hiking around the area so it might be hard to get a photo without people in the shot!
Fiery Furnace at Sunset
The Fiery Furnace area is made up of narrow canyons and maze-like fins. At golden hour these rock structures glow to produce amazing photos!
If you’re lucky enough to visit Arches National Park in the winter when there’s snow, the contrast of white against the red rocks is stunning!
We like use the pullouts along the scenic drive between Fiery Furnace and Skyline Arch to photograph the reflected light on the fins in this area of the park!
Skyline Arch at Sunset
As you make your way along the Arches National Park scenic drive, you’ll come to Skyline Arch. The rock structure here reflects the late afternoon and sunset light to get that orange/red glow.
You can see the arch from the pullout, but we recommend you hike along the short and easy trail to get closer.
You’ll find interesting elements in the landscape to include in your foreground, midground and background.
Turret Arch at Sunset
Turret Arch can seen through the North Window at Arches National Park, but it does require a bit of precarious scrambling.
It’s one of the best spots for sunset AND sunrise at Arches National Park. At sunrise you have the golden glow on Turret Arch through the window. At sunset you can capture the setting sun on the horizon.
It’s a tough location any time of day to get a photo without people hiking in the window opening. (That’s when Photoshop comes in handy!) But the people in the picture also tell the story of the location.
Arches & Canyonlands AUDIO TOUR
“Download the app to your phone – no cell or wifi service needed. Based on your GPS location, the app takes you on a guided tour of the park and points out all the interesting features and stops. It’s like having a park ranger in the car with you.”
Sunset Photo Spots in Canyonlands National Park
Here’s our list of the best Canyonlands sunset photo spots at Island in the Sky plus tips for visiting this National Park in Utah.
Green River Overlook at Sunset
From the Green River Overlook you can get a breathtaking view of the landscape for hundreds of miles in every direction. You can even see the Green River meandering through the canyons.
The viewpoint here faces southwest, making it a great location to track the sun as it sets on the horizon.
You’ll want to capture the red-orange glow of the light as it falls on the landscape. And look for creative ways to photograph this location.
Grand View Point Sunset Photos
At the end of the Island in the Sky scenic drive is the Grand View Point lookout. From here, you can see the majestic White Rim as well as The Maze, The Needles, and distant mountain peaks.
A short, paved, 300 foot sidewalk leads to a spectacular viewpoint. Just beyond this paved platform, follow the trail down a stone staircase.
From this point the trail is a mix of dirt and slickrock marked by cairns to the second viewpoint which is 2 miles round trip from the parking area. Be careful not to get too close to the edge.
As the sun sets, the view from this location will get shadows. We prefer this spot for Canyonlands sunrise photography instead.
Sunset Photo Spots at Dead Horse Point
If you only have time to visit one location for sunset, we recommend Dead Horse Point State Park instead of Island in the Sky. It’s known for its stunning views of the Colorado River, dramatic vertical cliffs, canyons, and vista views that you can’t see from Island in the Sky.
The best time to photograph Dead Horse Point is before sunset when the landscape gets that red glow. We also like to stay after sunset to capture even light during blue hour.
We have found it best to find a spot along the trail below and to the right of the platform to capture the Dead Horse Point sunset.
There may be quite a few people there to watch the sunset, but there is plenty of room along the canyon rim for everyone to have a great view!
Look for creative ways to photograph Dead Horse Point like the red glow on the rocks, the people watching on the rocks, or using elements in the landscape to highlight the scene.
Sunset Photo Spots Around Moab
The unique landscape isn’t limited to Arches, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse Point. You’ll find amazing photographing spots around the Moab, Utah area.
Fisher Towers at Sunset
Fisher Towers are scenic rock formations eroded into interesting shapes. There’s a 4.4 mile round trip hike here, and you’ll occasionally see rock climbers scaling the towers.
Sunset is the best time to photograph Fisher Towers to catch the golden glow on the red rock formations. You can get good photos from the parking lot, but we like to hike along the trail about 1 mile to get different views.
There’s also a cool spot along the Colorado River past the turnoff to Fisher Towers. When you cross the cattle guard, you’ll see a short paved trail on your left. Stop there to capture the Fisher Towers reflected in the water.
Potash Road at Sunset
The Potash Road, Highway 279, follows along the Colorado River from Moab to the Potash mining center. At this point the paved road ends and the 4WD road into Canyonlands National Park begins.
We’ve also found Moab in the winter to be a great time to photograph this area with snow and ice!
BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps