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Zion's National Park

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Zion's National Park has three separate areas that are very different from each other.  The northwestern part of Zion's National Park is the Kolob canyon section.  The Kolob area which is higher in elevation has red rock mountains with forests of pinions and junipers.  There are two separate roads to access this section of the park.  The main access road is the Kolob Canyon road off of I-15 at exit 40 that dead ends into Finger Canyon, where the photo at the left was taken.  The other access road is the Kolob Terrace Road outside of Virgin Utah which connects to highway 14 outside of Cedar City, Utah..  The Kolob Terrace Road is closed in the winter.  The Kolob Terrace Road is where you access the trail to the Subway Slot Canyon, a nine mile hike on the left fork of North Creek. You will want to go from the bottom up to the subway. There is a steep cliff at the start so just keep some energy for your return. You will need climbing gear to access the subway from the top. This is a must canyon to photograph if you are able.  You must obtain a permit from the visitors center before hiking there.  Backcountry permits are $5.00.  To make reservations for the subway call (435) 772-0170. If you miss the deadline for the internet lottery you can go to the BLM office. You get a ball the first day in the lottery and every consecutive day that you show up, you get an extra ball in the draw so your chances go up.

The second area of the park is the deep canyon section that is accessed by the Zion's Canyon Scenic Drive outside of Springdale, Utah.  Between April and October there is a shuttle that provides access to the canyon.  The shuttle has many stops along the road where you can get on and off.  This area of Zion's National Park contains many of the favorite landscape areas for the photographer to photograph.  This is a deep canyon with steep walls of red rock.  At sunrise the favorite photograph locations are behind the museum, the end of the Canyon Overlook Trail and any one of the switch back before the tunnel on the way to Mount Carmel.


During the day there are many hikes and wildlife to photograph along the North Fork of the Virgin River.  The Emerald Pools trail is a favorite trail with lots of places to take pictures of water over rocks and pools with a slow shutter speed.  Wild flowers are throughout the area in the spring.  The weeping rock trail is an easy hike to a cliff where water seeps out of it.  This creates hanging flower baskets that are beautiful to photograph.  Riverside Walk Trail winds along the river where you can find interesting things to photograph all day long.  The river walk trail that starts at the Temple of Sinawava has many areas along the river to photograph.  If you want to hike the narrows you will need a dry bag for your camera gear.

The last area of the park is east on Highway 9 towards Mount Carmel after you drive through the tunnel.  This area has white rock with many cracks and shapes to get you busy photographing.  The famous area is Checker Board Mesa. 




There are many different wildlife that live within the park that make great photographs.




For sunset photography the famous location is at the bridge over the north fork of the Virgin River at the intersection of Highway 9 and Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.  This area will be crowded so get there early. 







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