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Northern AZ, Southern UT


SparbaniePhoto
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SparbaniePhoto

Hey Folks,

I'm planning out a trip to northern AZ and southern UT, and I'm hoping to get some pointers. Photography is my main objective, so I've chosen some places based on that. Vermilion Cliffs (While Pocket, The Wave), Point Sublime, Monument Valley, and Antelope Canyon are on the list.

I'd like to get something a little more unique than the major parks, and I'm wondering if there's any hidden gems you could recommend? I have an off-road capable vehicle, but I'll be solo, so nothing that requires a team would be ideal. Slot canyons, arches... anything photogenic!

Thanks,

Sean

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tmountainnut

Hey Folks,

I'm planning out a trip to northern AZ and southern UT, and I'm hoping to get some pointers. Photography is my main objective, so I've chosen some places based on that. Vermilion Cliffs (While Pocket, The Wave), Point Sublime, Monument Valley, and Antelope Canyon are on the list.

I'd like to get something a little more unique than the major parks, and I'm wondering if there's any hidden gems you could recommend? I have an off-road capable vehicle, but I'll be solo, so nothing that requires a team would be ideal. Slot canyons, arches... anything photogenic!

Thanks,

Sean

My first question is how much hiking are you willing to do. theres lots of stuff that close to a 4x4 road, but theres also a lot of gems that require hiking and/or backpacking in. If you are willing to backpack/hike, how many miles would be comfortable.

Some stuff of the top of my head -

- Upper muley twist - rim route is fantastic

- halls creek narrows (theres a shortcut that reduces the mileage if you don't mind a bit of a scramble)

- zion (anywhere, but angels landing, kolob canyon, and narrows are the best)

- bryce (there's a great overlook halfway through the fairyland loop, also swamp canyon overlook is beautiful and kinda unknown)

- buckskin gulch (gotta hike wire pass if you're in the area, although the entirety is worth the trip)

- tons of stuff along hole in the rock road

- Highway 12 is a must, especially the section between escalante and boulder

- Burr Trail is also a great backway route in that area.

- cottonwood canyon road is also a great backway, with hikes along it

- driving into the needles backcountry to see chesler park and the joint trail

- Monument valley is great, but i think algatha peak just south of monument valley is more photogenic (and doesn't cost anything)

- Moon house and fish/owl creek canyons in cedar mesa

- Moki dugway and valley of the gods (fun to drive both, both are photogenic)

i can be more specific if you want.

FYI, if you want to shoot horseshoe bend, you'll need a wide angle. 28mm didn't cut it. I don't think 24mm would either. 20mm might. 16 definitely would.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

I really enjoyed hiking Buckskin Gulch, we did it in a day from the Wire Pass Trailhead to White House Campground / Trailhead. It was definitely one of those days where you have to remind yourself to keep moving and not take so many photos if you want to make it through before dark! (Shuttle needed)

Didn't manage to obtain the Wave permit, but White Pocket was really interesting, and the drive there (4 wheel drive, very sandy) was interesting in its own right. I'd also check out Zebra Slot off Hole-in-the-Rock-Road if you head that way, it's a short hike and not very long, but especially scenic I think. Next time I'm in the area, I might backpack Hackberry Canyon, then head south and explore the Vermilion Cliffs a little more in-depth.

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SparbaniePhoto

My first question is how much hiking are you willing to do. theres lots of stuff that close to a 4x4 road, but theres also a lot of gems that require hiking and/or backpacking in. If you are willing to backpack/hike, how many miles would be comfortable.

I'm willing to backpack for sure. It's a real pain to haul all my camera gear with everything else, so it's got to be a real gem to be worth it. I could do 10 miles a day, assuming it's not insane-o steep or technical.

Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm going to research these.

I really enjoyed hiking Buckskin Gulch, we did it in a day from the Wire Pass Trailhead to White House Campground / Trailhead. It was definitely one of those days where you have to remind yourself to keep moving and not take so many photos if you want to make it through before dark! (Shuttle needed)

Sounds like a proper adventure!

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Sounds like a proper adventure!

It's a great hike. If you're short on time though, you could just check out Wire Pass...There's some nice scenery just a short jaunt from the trailhead:

post-3-143508719025_thumb.jpg

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The area of northern AZ and southern UT is one of my favorite in the U.S. especially for it's infinite get away uncrowded hiking and outdoor opps. It doesn't get anymore unique or photogenic than this with the easy ability to get away from the typical crowded NP favorites. Tmountainnut and Aaron already gave a yr's worth of places to explore in the area but I'll add a few more possibilities. 1)Sedona 2) If you're willing to go to Pt Sublime on the N Rim of the GC also consider Pt Imperial, hiking down to the Colorado River via what many consider to be the most strenuous trail in GC NP the Nankoweep Tr to the Anasazi granaries, and to the Toroweap Window Overlook(Toruweep). Also consider Havasu Falls. 3) The Subway in Zion NP 4) Oodles of stuff in Escalante-Grand Staircase Nat Monument off the Hole in the Rock Rd(Coyote Gulch, Stevens Arch, Hamblin Arch, Grosvenor Arch, Lower Calf Creek Falls, 5) Glen Canyon Nat Rec Area 6) Bryce Canyon - so much, get away from the main THs near the lodge and the crowds diminish, try the Hat Shop on the Under the Rim Tr or the Fairyland Loop and don't miss the Queen''s Garden at sunrise or sunset from the rim 7) Capitol Reef - Lower Muley Twist Tr only about two miles down has some cavernous undercut amphitheaters, Waterpocket Fold, Brimhall, Cassidy, Cohab, Hickman, Arches(there are more), Middle Moody Canyon 8) Summit Mt Humphreys - the highest pt in AZ- awesome view into southern Utah over the Vermillion Cliffs extending to the glow of Phoenix far to the south during sunset and at night(on a clear night)! If you fall in love with this area as I have you might consider the 900 mile Hayduke Trail which zeros in on southern UT/northern AZ and samples: Arches, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands(Needles District), Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Grand Canyon NPs as well as Glen Canyon Nat Rec Area, Escalante-Grand Staircase Nat Monument, Paria River area, etc etc etc.

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BTW, even though Antelope Canyon, Buckskin Gulch, and The Wave are spectacular, quite possible to take in on one trip, there are plenty of other slots in southern UT that aren't as well known(or crowded at times or as hard to get permits for or NO permits are required at all) that are also similarly scenic. Check out Non-Technical "Canyon Hiking Guide to the Colorado Plateau" by Michael Kelsey(at least 5th edition). You might also include Petrifed Forest NP in the area.

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