Five Southern Utah “Parks” in One Day

One Day in Utah

One Day in Utah

When I left home headed for Northern California I had no intentions of being in Southern Utah. By the time I reached Denver, snow in the forecast for N. Utah, Nevada, and the mountain passes in N. California made a detour much more appealing than fighting snow on I-80, especially since I have never been to the spectacular parks and monuments in Southern Utah.

I had four days to get to the San Francisco Bay Area from Denver so that gave me 48 hours of photo time in Utah. (That’s not nearly enough time, but 48 hours is better than not being there at all.) The above photos were all taken in one day. The night before I was in Arches National Park but the light wasn’t good except for a few evening photos long after sunset.

I left Moab in time to arrive arrive at Dead Horse Point State Park long before sunrise and was greeted by clouds and drizzle which turned into rain and then to pouring rain. It wasn’t the kind of light that I wanted but I took several photos before the rain became too big a threat to my camera circuits.

When I arrived at Canyonlands National Park (Island in the Sky) early the same morning the whole place was socked in with fog. I could see nothing from the classic view points except the white swirling mists. Wonderful canyon photos just weren’t in the cards that morning, so I didn’t stay long. My only interesting photo at Canyonlands was this very cheerful person who greeted me at the park service entrance station.

It was bright and sunny at Capitol Reef in the afternoon and I spent two hours driving the north-south park road and photographing interesting view points. It was getting cloudy again late in the afternoon as I drove through Grand Staircase-Escalante, so I didn’t take many photos. I had hopes (admittedly slim) of getting to Bryce Canyon before sunset.

I arrived at Bryce Canyon National Park after sunset and drove to Sunset Point to take the above early evening photo. If your time at Bryce Canyon is limited, I recommend Sunset Point as the place to be for both sunrise and sunset. If you have more time to spend, you can try sunrise and sunset at some of the other classic viewpoints around the canyon.

After a nice dinner at Ruby’s Inn (a great place to eat and stay just north of the park entrance), I checked the weather. Snow was in the overnight forecast so I went to bed looking forward to some great sunrise photos the next morning. I was not disappointed.

April is a great time of year to go to the Southern Utah parks. Much later in the year and the weather becomes quite hot.