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9 Best Photo Spots in Canyonlands National Park (2023)

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What are the best photo spots in Canyonlands National Park? We’ve rounded up some of the can’t-miss Instagram spots in Canyonlands to make it easy for you.

Canyonlands is one of Utah’s off-the-beaten-path national parks. This isolated desert paradise is perfect for photographers looking to immortalize some never before seen Utah scenery.

Ever since we visited Canyonlands for the first time, we were in complete awe. It’s one of those places you visit once and will never be sick of exploring.

The best photo spots in Canyonlands National Park can be hard to find in such a vast park with four different sections, so we made a list to save you some time!

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Best Photo Spots in Canyonlands National Park

Mesa Arch

View of a rocky landscape through a red stone arch

Mesa Arch is a popular Canyonlands National Park photography spot for the sunrise.

This spot is located in the Island of the Sky section of the park. There is a half-mile hike to reach the arch, and it takes about 30 minutes to complete. Make sure to plan ahead if you want to see the sunrise!

Sunrise here is great, but the views you get after sunrise are what make this one of the best photo spots in Canyonlands. The neo-light shines on the arch, illuminating the bottom of it. It’s a sight you do not want to miss.

You can also see the famed Washer Woman from Mesa Arch.

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Wilson Arch

Wilson Arch is a great spot if you want a beautiful picture but you don’t have a lot of time. You can reach the arch in a five-minute walk from the road.

One of the larger arches in the park spans 91 feet and reaches 41 feet tall.

The majestic Wilson Arch can be photographed at any time of day, but the night sky provides an unreal backdrop for the picture.

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    The Needles

    The Needles comprise the southeast section of Canyonlands National Park. This section is less visited than Island in the Sky, so if you’re looking to capture the genuinely rugged beauty of the park, this is the place to go.

    The area is named the Needles due to the sandstone spires that reign over this section. You can hike throughout the entire area to find some unique spires.

    You might even see an arch and spire melded into one!

    Grand View Point

    Huge canyons in a rocky surface

    Grand View Point is famous in Canyonlands National Park photography.

    This view is truly grand. The 300-foot sidewalk leads to an overlook where you can see the White Rim. Speckled white sandstone adorns the top of the rim like a crown.

    Come to the White Rim at sunrise to see the reds set on fire and the white turn to orange. It is a breathtaking sight.

    Other sections of the park, such as The Maze and The Needles can be seen from Grand View Point as well. This is one of the best photo spots in Canyonlands National Park for a view with many different options to photograph.

    Buck Canyon Overlook

    Buck Canyon Overlook makes photographing Canyonlands National Park easy. This overlook is wheelchair accessible, and the views are not to be passed up.

    Staggering 1,000-foot cliffs will dominate the photographs you snap here. These natural walls form the mesa that often characterizes the park. This place will make you feel small in the best kind of way.

    This is not a good place to try to capture in harsh sunlight because you’ll end up losing a lot of the little details that make the scenery so stunning. Early morning or even evening photos work out well here.

    Shafer Trail Overlook

    Rock formations with a road going through a canyon under a blue sky

    Now for one of the not-so-accessible overlooks, but certainly the most adventurous, Shafer Trail Overlook was made for those willing to do anything to get the shot.

    This overlook can only be accessible from Shafer Trail Road, a snaking road that climbs up the red sandstone canyon walls. If you are brave enough to attempt it, be prepared for switchbacks and some really tight spots.

    Making it to the top will result in a fantastic photo of Shafer Trailer Road. Think of it as a consolation prize for the journey.

    Green River Overlook

    River snaking through a canyon surrounded by red rocks

    Liked the White Rim so much you want to see it from a different angle? Green River Overlook is the stop for you.

    Oh yeah, and you can see the Green River here, too. Green River is one of the two rivers that flow throughout Canyonlands. Who knew the desert had so much water?

    Veiled by the White Rim, Green River stands out proudly against its sandstone neighbors. Capturing this view at sunset is something you don’t want to miss if you are photographing Canyonlands National Park.

    If you capture Green River at its highest water level, visit the park towards the end of May.

    Aztec Butte Ruins

    The ancient past isn’t something you can see everywhere, but nestled in the Canyonlands sandstone, you can find the ruins of two ancient buildings called granaries. This is where Indigenous people once stored food and medicine.

    The Aztec Butte Ruins have lasted this long, but who knows how many more chances you’ll get to see something like this?

    You can take a picture of just the granaries, the granaries, and the scenery, or just the scenery. These quaint granaries make for a special picture that you will treasure for the rest of your life.

    Take lots of pictures, but remember not to touch the buildings!

    Upheaval Dome

    Red and white stone surface under a blue cloudy sky

    Upheaval Dome has two different viewpoints that will provide you with fantastic views of the park. The layered sandstone provides an array of natural colors that ignite in the sunlight.

    The first viewpoint appears a mile into the hike, but to see one of the best photo spots in Canyonlands, keep going until you reach the second one.

    Sure, it takes a little bit more time, and it’s a bit of an uphill battle, but you won’t regret experiencing the views it has to offer.

    Upheaval Dome shines its brightest in the morning sunlight or late afternoon as the sun is going down.

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    Final Thoughts: Canyonlands Photography

    So there you have it, the best photo spots in Canyonlands National Park. This park has so many beautiful views to offer, and hopefully, you’ll get to witness and photograph them all!

    I look forward to seeing your Canyonlands picture on the cover of a magazine someday!

    Check out our vlog from when we visited Canyonlands National Park & saw the sunset in Arches National Park!

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