We are lucky to live a only few hours away so we can visit Zion National Park multiple times each year. One advantage to being a local is knowing all the photo spots for sunset at Zion National Park.
Keep in mind you won’t see the sun actually set at Zion. You’ll capture the glow of the setting sun on the canyon walls!
Use this list of sunset tips and photo spots along with our Zion National Park travel guide to plan your vacation itinerary.
Check out our list of the best places for Zion National Park sunset photography, camera gear you’ll need to pack, and recommended places to stay near Zion.
Grab your Zion National Park photo spots checklist to download, print, and take with you into the park! Simply click the image below.
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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!
A Photo Tour of Zion National Park
Take a visual tour through Zion National Park to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!
Basic Information for Taking Pictures at Zion
The first thing you need to know about visiting Zion National Park: is the shuttle running? If so, you’ll have limited access to sunrise and sunset photography at the locations in Zion Canyon.
You can still get photos at these spots if your Zion vacation is in the spring, summer or fall when the Zion National Park shuttle is running. We’ve indicated the “location” for each photo spot below. If it’s in Zion Canyon, then it’s only accessible via the shuttle during shuttle season.
Map of Zion Photo Spots
CLICK the link to access the Zion National Park photos spots Google Map with the pinned locations.
Tips for Taking Zion Sunset Photos
Here are a few sunset photography tips to help you capture amazing images at Zion:
- 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.
- Using 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.
Photo Spots for Sunset at Zion National Park
CHECK OUT our Zion National Park Photography Guide with detailed information and tips about taking photos at each spot. It’s a great resource to download, print and take with you on your trip!
Check out our recommended best photo spots for sunrise at Zion National Park.
Here’s our list of Zion sunset photography locations we recommend:
Three Patriarchs at Sunset
Walk along the service road toward the buildings and you’ll see a dirt path to the right. Walk along that trail for a short distance until you come to the bridge. This is a great spot for waterfall and river photography!
There’s also a path that goes along the river. You can find many opportunities to photograph reflections of the Three Patriarchs in the river.
And finally, the view from the short overlook hike on the opposite side of the road from the river provides a different vantage point as well.
Big Bend and Great White Throne at Sunset
Location: Zion Canyon Shuttle Route
Big Bend is found in the heart of Zion Canyon along the Virgin River. It’s a great location to walk along the river and photograph the colorful canyon walls you see here!
There’s a pullout just before (if going up Zion Canyon) or just after (if going down Zion Canyon) Big Bend that provides a good view of the Great White Throne.
We like to take the path down to the meadow and walk along the river finding various ways to photograph this amazing area! In the late afternoon the light illuminates the top of the Great White Throne.
Don’t limit only taking photos from the parking area at the overlook. Hike the short distance down to the meadow and along the river to find other ways to photograph this area.
Riverside Walk at Sunset
At the end of the Riverside Walk trail is the start of the popular Zion National Park hike, The Narrows.
We recommend exploring this trail in the morning to avoid the crowds. It’s also a time with good light to photograph the canyon walls, river and waterfalls.
The high canyon walls provide a nice even light along the river in the afternoon which is perfect for photographing rivers and waterfalls.
Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel at Sunset
Location: Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel
The pullouts along this stretch of road provide wonderful sunset AND sunrise photography views to capture the light on the tops of the cliffs.
The switchbacks and turns along this road make it a great spot to capture light trail photos after sunset!
Be careful taking pictures at night, especially if you’re parked on a blind curve.
*The parking for this hike is VERY limited so early morning is the best time! It’s one of the Zion hikes without the shuttle you can do!
Pa-rus Trail / The Watchman at Sunset
The Pa’rus Trail runs along the Virgin River and has great views of The Watchman. Access the trail near the Visitor Center – watch for the signs.
In the late afternoon and sunset there’s golden light on the Watchman. Add the Virgin River in the foreground, and you’ve captured an iconic scene at Zion!
The trail follows the river and there are many spots with river access that provide a variety of views of The Watchman.
Take time to explore the area and look for different ways to photograph the landscape!
You’ll see deer along the trail in the evening so be prepared to photograph wildlife too!
Kolob Terrace Road at Sunset
Location: Kolob Terrace Road
Kolob Terrace Road is accessed near the town of Virgin, just west of Springdale. This area is amazing in the late afternoon and around sunset.
There’s a nice view of Zion just a short walk along the Left Fork trail. The reflected sun on the landscape is just stunning!
Keep driving along the road until you get to the Hop Valley Trailhead. You’ll find stunning views of the valley from the ridge that lights up at sunset.
We also like to explore the area known as “Hoodoo City”, just east of the Hop Valley Trailhead. You can hike from the trailhead, or park at a pull-off about ½ mile to the east. Hike along the shelf above the valley until you find a spot to access the hoodoo formations below.
This is also a nice location to photograph the hoodoos with the night sky!
Zion National Park Packing List
Use our Zion National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting any time of the year! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!