Travel to Utah and region : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am putting together a trip to southern Utah and area in the next couple of weeks. I plan to shoot arches, canyons, ruins and whatever else comes to light in 4x5. I will be camping.

I would like to here from anyone familiar with the region and any sujestions for good locations to shoot. I am trying to beat the summer heat but I'm not sure If I will run into too much rain or snow on the ground so any input on the best time to work in the region would also be welcomed.

Thank you all in advance for you comments.

-- Dan Skahan (, February 25, 2001


Dan, There is a very good travel account on the LF home page that may help with some prospect aread to visit. With a little research you should be able to come up with some adventerous places off the beaten path. I would advise you to be prepared for nights down to 20 degrees and be a little flexible with the weather, as you're still in a snowy season.

-- Roger Rouch (, February 25, 2001.


You said that you were planning to travel to southern UT, but you didn't say how long you'd be in the area. I think that if your time is limited, I would either concentrate on Eastern or western UT, but not try to do both.

You could work in the Moab area, hitting Arches and Canyonlands NPs, and Goblin and Horseshoe Mesa State Parks. I would allow at least two weeks for this. Be aware that foot travel in Arches is more restricted than what you may be accustomed to. I'm personally unaware of any slot canyons in this area, but that doesn't mean that there aren't any. Water on the Island in the Sky Mesa in Canyonlands may be an issue. Check with the park HQ before you go.

Alternatively, you could visit SW UT, stopping a Zion NP, Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon NP, and the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. This, too, would be a two or more week trip. There are slot canyons along the Hole in the Rock Road, which heads SE from Escalante. Arches are found along the Escalante River. Contact the BLM office in Escalante for information.

Best of luck, Bruce

-- Bruce M. Herman (, February 25, 2001.

I spent three weeks in the Four Corners region this past May. Even in late spring the temperature fluctuations are wild - we experienced temps ranging from 7 to 117 (YES - SEVEN to ONE HUNDRED SEVENTEEN) in about a two week period, so avoiding wild weather may not even be possible. Enjoy the WIND. Protect your gear. At Canyonlands we experienced sustained winds of about 35 to 40 MPH, which peppered my camera, film holders and eyes with sand. Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument roads, specifically state route 24, may be impassible this time of year; you may want to call Utah's Chamber of Commerce to check. I want to go back.

-- Chad Jarvis (, February 26, 2001.


One resource that is pretty helpful is the Utah Atlas by DeLorme. You should be able to find this at Barnes & Noble or Border's. I don't know what part of the country you're coming from but I agree with the previous post that Utah is too big to do the whole southern portion in a short time. One thing I would consider is checking to see when Zion NP restricts auto access for the season. It would be a great opportunity to shoot some things that aren't easily accessed during the summer. One last thing, bring enough film for the whole trip. The closest place that I know of to get large format stuff is in St. George in the southwest corner of the state.

Good luck.

-- Kevin (, February 26, 2001.

Dan--it's still cold in the desert even into March--however,the days can be very pleasant indeed. More than likely, your best bet would be to go to Moab--Arches first to get the "hang of it" and my suggestion would be to head for Canyonlands and "down" as it will be warmer & pleasant whereas being up "high", its still wintry--by all means read before hand if possible, don't over extend yourself as the "desert country" is BIG & be aware of gas & water. The desert will be showing signs of Spring activity by the time you get there--enjoy & tread lightly.

-- Raymond A. Bleesz (, February 26, 2001.


I share others comments about the weather in March. It can be very unstable and cold. Try this website for weather trends for Escalante. Also, I would stay as long as you can. I find my photographs improve with the length time I spend in and area. I recently spent the month of October in India and Nepal. Eight days of that trip were spent in Varanasi and we never spent more than 4 anywhere else. My best images are from Varanasi and right in the area of my hotel. I light of that you may just want to pick someplace and stay put if you only have a week. My preference would be Escalante.

-- Paul Mongillo (, February 26, 2001.

I'm stepping into the subject because Escalante was mentioned. I have a friend photographer going to Boulder-Escalante in april. He will not travel far but rather stay within fifty miles from his point de chute. What places would you recommend in that area and what sort of subjects will he find, is it too early for the blooming season?

-- Paul Schilliger (, February 26, 2001.

Paul--re: the Escalante------it's a beautiful canyon----very long--I sponsored a 9 day backpacking trip with high school students in the late '70's. My memory has clouded somewhat over time, but my thoughts are the following: it's very remote--on the West side of the river so therefore, more travel & expense---the canyon is wide for the most part, the upper end is somewhat the same, the lower part becomes narrower and possible "dangerous"--if you may recall, a year or so back, 9 to 11 tourists were caught in a flash flood & drowned--I believe that was in the vicinity of Antelope Canyon which is also a major exiting or entering point at the lower end. The Escalante follows the base of the Kaparowits(sp) plateau--the dominant land form which also is a Indian sacred ground & is being dug up for oil/gas--obviously a conflict area--an throw in a few Mormon cattle ranchers to boot. It's also the area where Father Escalante of the Spanish explorers travel most northernly in their travels and also the "Crossing" for the early Mormon explorers westward. A very unique part of the desert! a toute a l'heure! Raymond

-- RAymond A. Bleesz (, February 27, 2001.

Merci, Raymond, for the historian point de vue! Thanks also for the warning. Yes, one has to be cautious when entering those narrow canyons. Best!

-- Paul Schilliger (, February 27, 2001.

After the designation of Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument, both and put out an issue on the monument. You can order back issues. These kind of publications are of great help when you're not familiar with the place, and more detailed and systematic than anything you can collect on the web. has a great general guide for the Plateau.

-- Q.-Tuan Luong (, March 07, 2001.

Thanks, Tuan . Site is even in french too! What a luxury!

-- Paul Schilliger (, March 07, 2001.

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