Zion National Park Photo Spots

We get asked often where the best Zion National Park photo spots are, and the best time of day to take those photos.

Use this Zion National Park travel guide to plan your vacation that includes photography locations, things to do, what to pack, where to stay. and more!

photo spots at zion national park

One advantage to living only a few hours away is can photograph Zion National Park during the various seasons, months of the year and during all types of weather and lighting conditions.

Below we share our favorite photo spots at Zion, tips for taking pictures at Zion, and the camera gear you’ll need.

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Camera Gear for Landscape Photography

DOWNLOAD: Camera Gear Checklist 

  • Camera: check out the compact travel cameras we recommend!
  • 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!

Camera Gear at Amazon | Camera Gear at B&H Photo

camera accessories

Things To Know Before Visiting Zion

Before visiting Zion National Park you’ll need to know if the shuttle running when you’ll be there. If it is then you’ll have limited access to sunrise and sunset photography at the locations in Zion Canyon.

If your Zion vacation is in the spring, summer or fall when the Zion National Park shuttle is running, don’t worry. You can still get nice morning or late afternoon photos at the locations in the canyon.

To help you plan, we’ve indicated the “location” for each photo spot below. If it’s in Zion Canyon, then it’s only accessible using the shuttle during shuttle season.

Here’s a list of resources to help you plan the other aspects of your trip to Zion, in addition to taking pictures.

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!

Map of Zion Photo Spots

CLICK the link to access the Zion National Park photos spots Google Map with the pinned locations.

Zion Photo Spots Map

→ 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!

ZION NATIONAL PARK PHOTO SPOTS AND TIPS

For each photo spot below, we provide the location, best time to photograph and images. We recommend taking pictures at Zion in the morning and evening and hiking during the harsh midday light.

Zion Human History Museum

Location: Zion Canyon Shuttle Route

Photograph the Towers of the Virgin on the patio behind the Zion Human History Museum. There’s a small patio that’s popular at sunrise.

Zion photography behind the museum at blue hour

BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH: SUNRISE

  • We like to photograph the blue hour light before sunrise, then capture the golden hour light as it shines on the towers.
Zion photography behind the museum at golden hour

PHOTO TIPS:

  • During the nice morning light be sure to photograph the canyon walls seen from the side and front of the museum as well.
  • Walk around to find different compositions of the scene, and elements to include in the foreground.
Zion National Park view

Three Patriarchs

Location: Zion Canyon Shuttle Route

The Three Patriarchs area is a terrific location for morning or late afternoon photography. There are quite a few ways to photograph this area so don’t think this will be a quick stop!

Three patriarchs bridge and river at Zion National Park

It’s ok to walk along the service road toward the buildings where you’ll find 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 to photograph the river, waterfalls, bridge and Three Patriarchs.

Three Patriarchs reflection in the River at Zion

There’s also a path that goes along the river you can access from the shuttle stop. We like to walk along the river to find ways to photograph the reflection of the Three Patriarchs in the river.

Three Patriarchs viewpoint at sunset

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. In the fall, the tops of the trees with colorful leaves adds a nice foreground element.

BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH: Sunrise, Morning, Late Afternoon, Sunset

PHOTO TIPS:

Big Bend and Great White Throne

Location: Zion Canyon Shuttle Route

Big Bend is a great location to walk along the river and photograph the colorful canyon walls you see here! There can be a drastic contrast of light on the walls here. We like this area at dawn or dusk.

Big Bend Great White Throne Zion Canyon

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.

Great White Throne at Zion National Park

If you have time, hike down the path to the meadow and walk along the river to find different ways to photograph canyon walls and river.

Great White Throne Zion Canyon

In the late afternoon the light illuminates the top of the Great White Throne. You can catch the reflecting color in the river.

BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH: Morning and Late Afternoon

PHOTO TIPS:

  • Take 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

Location: Zion Canyon Shuttle Route

At the end of the Riverside Walk trail is the start of the popular Zion National Park hike called The Narrows.

Riverside Walk Zion National Park Photography

To avoid the crowds we recommend hitting this trail in the morning. It’s also a good time when the contrast of the light isn’t too harsh to photograph the canyon walls, river and waterfalls.

river and waterfalls along the Virgin River at Zion

The high canyon walls provide a nice even light along the river in the morning which is perfect for photographing rivers and waterfalls.

BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH: Morning and Late Afternoon

PHOTO TIPS:

  • Morning and late afternoon are the best times to avoid the sharp contrast of light on the canyon walls with the darker shaded areas.
  • This is a great place to take waterfall and river photos.
take jaw-dropping photos at Zion National Park

Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel

Location: Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel

The stretch of road from Zion Canyon to the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel is full of switchbacks. Be sure to stop along the pull-outs to photograph this part of the park! Give yourself plenty of time to make your way along this Zion National Park scenic drive!

view of Zion near the Mount Carmel Tunnel

The pullouts along this stretch of road provide wonderful sunrise photography views to capture the light on the tops of the cliffs.

sunrise near Mount Carmel Tunnel at Zion

The switchbacks and turns along this road make it a great spot to capture light trail photos!

Zion National Park scenic drive view
head light along road in Zion National Park

BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH: Sunrise, Morning, Late Afternoon and Night

PHOTO TIPS:

  • Dawn and sunrise you’ll capture the glow on the tops of the mountains across the valley.
  • Early morning you won’t have as much traffic on the road making it easier to find an open pullout.
  • Be careful taking pictures at night, especially if you’re parked on a blind curve.

Canyon Overlook Trail

Location: Highway 9

The Canyon Overlook Trail is one of the best sunrise spots at Zion. It does require you hike a short, easy trail, but the reward is a stunning view of the main canyon with first light hitting the East Temple just above!

Canyon Overlook at sunrise at Zion

*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!

Canyon Overlook sunrise zion national park

BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH: Sunrise and Morning

PHOTO TIPS:

  • Start your hike an hour before sunrise so you’ll be at the overlook in time to capture the glow on the tops of the mountains across the valley.
  • You’ll need a headlamp for the first part of the hike.

Highway 9

Location: Highway 9

Highway 9 from Zion Canyon toward the East Entrance is a fun drive with amazing landscapes that are so different from what you see in Zion Canyon!

Zion National Park along Highway 9

Take your time, stop at pull-outs along the scenic drive, and photograph anything that catches your eye!

Landscape along Highway 9 at Zion

If you’re lucky to visit when it’s raining, you may get to experience pop-up waterfalls!

Waterfall at Zion during a rain storm

Checkerboard Mesa has a designated parking area that makes it easy to stop right near the East Entrance.

Zion National Park in the winter is so beautiful with the contrast of white snow against the colorful landscape!

Checkerboard Mesa in the snow at Zion

BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH: Morning and Late afternoon

PHOTO TIPS:

  • Morning will be the easiest time to find open spaces to park at the various pullouts.
  • When you stop at pullouts, walk around the area to find unique ways to compose the photos you take.

Pa-rus Trail / The Watchman

Location: Visitor Center

The Pa’rus Trail runs along the Virgin River and provides that iconic sunset view of The Watchman. Access the trail near the Visitor Center – watch for the signs.

Pa'rus Trail at sunset at zion national park

In the late afternoon and around sunset there’s golden light on the Watchman. Capture the golden reflection in the Virgin River for a stunning shot!

Pa'rus Trail and The Watchman at sunset at Zion

The trail follows the river and there are many spots with river access that provide a variety of views of The Watchman.

sunset along the Pa'rus trail at Zion

Take time to explore the area and look for different ways to photograph the landscape!

deer along the Pa'rus Trail at zion national park

You’ll see deer along the trail in the evening so be prepared to photograph wildlife too!

Kolob Terrace Road

Location: Kolob Terrace Road

Kolob Terrace Road is amazing in the late afternoon and around sunset. Access this road near the town of Virgin, just west of Springdale.

Park at the Left Fork trail and walk a short distance to see this amazing view! The reflected sun on the landscape is just stunning!

Kolob Terrace at sunset

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.

Hop Valley view Kolob Terrace at sunset

“Hoodoo City” is a favorite photo spot at Zion for us. It’s 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.

hoodoo city at Zion in Kolob Terrace

This is also a nice location to photograph the hoodoos with the night sky!

BUY AT AMAZON: Zion National Park Guides and Maps

Zion national park guides and maps

Plan Your Vacation To Zion National Park

Where to Stay Near Zion National Park

You definitely want to stay in Springdale which borders the entrance to Zion.

  • Holiday Inn Express – our favorite place to stay with an outdoor pool and amenities you’d find in a high end hotel
  • Zion Lodge – we haven’t had a chance to stay here yet, but you can’t go wrong staying right IN the park!
  • Under Canvas Zion – if you want to experience a less crowded part of Zion, this is the place! It’s in the Kolob section of the park.
  • Vacation Rentals in Springdale – you’ll want to stay in Springdale so you’re close to the park entrance and can walk to shopping and restaurants. 

Resources for camping near Zion:

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