November 17, 2016

Subtlety and Splendor: Exploring Zion National Park

Words + Photos : Matt Gee

As a huge fan of the outdoors, I find myself at National Parks fairly often, and Zion National Park is one of the best. Utah’s first national park is known for adventurous hikes, colorful sandstone cliffs, and incredible views.  I try to visit at least once a year and in varying seasons. It has quickly become one of my favorite places to photograph, and I’d love to share a few of my favorite spots.



Squeezing Through The Narrows

The Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon where you can actually hike through the Virgin River. Often done in warmer seasons, the hike leads you along between thousand-foot tall canyon walls. There’s probably no better place to get immersive photos of the canyon and the river. The textures of the walls and the movement of the water make for some compelling imagery.



360 Views at Angel’s Landing

This is probably the park’s most well known trail and for good reason. After a series of switchbacks and steep drop-offs, you’re rewarded with a spectacular 360 view of Zion Canyon. It’s the best spot in the park to capture the depth of the canyon. Photographing in the early morning or late afternoon is better as the soft light reveals the gradient of colors along the canyon walls.






The Watchman at Sunset

The Watchman is a beautiful mountain in the park that is located in the perfect spot for sunset. As each day ends, the mountain face and adjacent hillside are illuminated. There’s a variety of places to capture the mountain along the trail, but the most interesting spots keep the Virgin River in the foreground. The view especially comes to life in the fall when the trees along the river are bursting with color.




Finding Quiet Moments

As much as Zion is known for its epic views and nerve-inducing hikes, the park has a certain aura about it that can be captured from any point, at any time. From quiet moments at campsites to spotting deer along a trail, the park is never short on sights.






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