Canyons of Utah: Arches & Canyonlands

Odds are good, when you think of the southwestern United States, the image that is conjured up when those words cross your mind is from the Moab area. Famous for arches, towers and canyons, there is no shortage of incredible scenery to behold in southeastern Utah. Home to two National Parks, along with an additional 1.8 million acres of BLM managed public lands, the opportunities for unique photos is truly endless. Vast expanses of red rock go on as far as the eye can see, and the nearby La Sal mountains allow an escape from the heat and a birds eye view of the desert around Moab. This is truly a wonderful place and no doubt a must on any photographer’s bucket list.

On this five-day hiking and vehicle based photo tour you will be granted the opportunity to photograph some of Utah’s most iconic landscapes, as well as some lesser known gems. Group sizes are kept intentionally small so that each photographer gets access to one on one instruction. Your guide will ensure you are in position to photograph some truly mesmerizing locations, while their knowledge of seasonal light and weather patterns will help you to not waste a moment of the precious golden hour light that the desert is so famous for.

We will photograph iconic locales such as Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch and Mesa Arch during the optimal time of day to maximize the red hues presented at sunrise or sunset, while also pursuing intimate photos at unique locations in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.
Other possible locations include Corona Arch, Wilson Arch and Castle Valley. Due to the nature of wanting to shoot almost exclusively during sunrise or sunset, this trip results in many early mornings and late evenings. To cope, we will return each afternoon to a cozy hotel to rest up and enjoy a fantastic meal while pouring over your photos from the days adventures. This time will also allow an opportunity to receive one on one photo processing instruction from your guide to make the most of those beautiful desert landscapes!

Join us this year on an Arches and Towers of Moab tour and shoot alongside a seasoned southern Utah guide while exploring some of the most uniquely beautiful desert landscapes the world has to offer.


Please note: Due to the nature of the terrain and photo locations our Canyons of Utah: Arches & Canyonlands is a “hiker” trip. Although the purpose of this trip is photography it is best suited for those that like to get out and hike! For any questions please give us a call at 928-478-1521 or fill out the contact form below!

Highlights

  • Photograph iconic landscapes such as Mesa Arch and Delicate Arch
  • Intentional focus on shooting during golden hour twice daily
  • Opportunities to shoot lesser known features of the Moab area
  • Small Groups
  • Top-notch meals
  • Learn from & shoot alongside a seasoned pro

Canyons of Utah: Arches & Canyonlands

5 Days

$2795

Deposit: $1000

+$550 Single Occupany

Moab, Utah


*trip difficulty ratings

2019 Departures

Dates Difficulty Availability
March 18th to 22nd, 2019 2-3 ("Hiker") Open

2020 Departures

Dates Difficulty Availability
March 16th to 20th, 2020 2-3 ("Hiker") Open

Itinerary

Please note: Due to the nature of the terrain and photo locations our Canyons of Utah: Arches & Canyonlands is a “hiker” trip. Although the purpose of this trip is photography it is best suited for those that like to get out and hike! For any questions please give us a call at 928-478-1521 or fill out the contact form below!


Day 1 (Travel Day)

Plan to arrive in Moab, Utah by 6pm for an orientation and welcome dinner.

Day 2

We will depart our hotel early this morning and head straight for nearby Castle Valley. Our first day will be spent shooting views of Castleton Tower and the adjacent ridgeline known as the Rectory. We will have a chance to go into the foothills of the La Sal mountain range to get a glimpse of the vastness of the canyon country surrounding Moab. As optimal light fades, we will head back into town for brunch and a chance to rest up before the evening shoot. During the afternoon your guide will be happy to work with you on processing your photos and will provide some tips and tricks for making the most of what you have captured. After dinner we will embark south for a shoot of Wilson Arch as it embraces the setting sun and provides witnesses with a magnificent red glow.

Day 3

This morning will be our earliest of the week as we head to the Islands in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park in an attempt to capture perhaps one of the most iconic desert landscape photos in Utah. Sunrise at Mesa Arch is an incredible experience and should be on every landscape photographer’s bucket list. Our hope is to get to the arch with enough time to set up our systems before the inevitable hoards of other visitors arrive with their various phones, cameras and devices, all trying to capture that one iconic shot. As the golden hues fade from underneath the arch, we will pack up and move to a few other impressive vistas at Islands in the Sky before heading back to our lodging for brunch and an afternoon off.

Day 4

Today is all about getting photos of Arches National Park. We will begin with a sunrise shot at the impressive Landscape Arch. Stretching 290 feet across, Landscape Arch is the largest natural span in the Western Hemisphere and this thin sliver of free standing rock is a sight to behold as it seems to defy gravity. After our morning shoot, we will again adjourn to our hotel for breakfast and a morning off. We will then have a mid afternoon start to head back into Arches National Park, this time to shoot Delicate Arch at sunset. The arch is 1.5 miles from the road, so we will have to hike in all of our equipment over a moderate trail of slickrock. Bring a headlamp, as typically the best views of this magical location are after the sun has just dipped below the horizon, lighting up the La Sal mountain range in the background.

Day 5

This morning we will get up early again to go shoot another angle from the Islands in the Sky plateau, but this time from nearby Dead Horse Point State Park. Photographers will delight in seeing the results in their screens as light plays off the vast canyon landscape below, casting shadows and rays of sunshine across the open expanse of rock carved by the Colorado River. As the golden light fades and gives way to the harsh light of midday in Southern Utah, we will make our way back to Grand Junction to say our goodbyes and bask in the glow of another wonderful trip full of even more wonderful images.

Please Note: Please note that the exact sequence of the itineraries on all photography trips will be based on weather and lighting conditions. The goal on these trips is to make sure we are at the right place at the right time for the perfect light on our subjects. Also, itineraries can change for a variety of other circumstances including floods, forest fires, national park closures, road closures and more.

Details

Physical Requirements (for “hiker” trips)
All participants must be in good physical condition and have the ability to hike 3-7 miles per day on steep mountain trails with a daypack.

Group Size
We keep groups small to maximize your one on one time with the guide / instructor.

Accommodation
We will be staying in comfortable lodging in Moab, Utah

Meals

Most meals are included during the trip dates and we typically eat at park lodges in the evening as well as a hand picked local restaurants. We often do snacks on the trail and then return for a late breakfast during photography trips as we are often out early to capture the morning light.

Weather
Expect warm pleasant days and chilly nights. The weather is generally very dry and stable in Utah however it can change on a moments notice. Remember some of the best photographs are made before, during and immediately after a storm cycle. There is no such thing as bad weather just poor layering and gear choices – please plan accordingly! For more info on what to bring please email or call us.

Price Includes
Most meals, ground transportation, accommodation during the trip dates, professional photography instruction, medically certified wilderness guide.

Price Does Not Include
Airfare, alcoholic beverages, accommodations before or after the trip dates, guide & staff gratuities

Travel Details
Departure city is Moab, Utah

“We had been to both locations previously but really enjoyed our time with the Backcountry Journeys’ team. Everything was well coordinated and top of the line. We had great meals and stayed in very nice hotels, while getting great photography tips and constructive picture critiques. We split into two groups, each of which had a photography pro/instructor and a logistics/nature specialist. In addition to honing our photography skills, we learned about the geology of the area and hiking/backpacking techniques. The crews were not only pleasant and encouraging, but also just a ton of fun. We had a great time on the trip and highly recommend Backcountry Journeys. Can’t wait for our next expedition with them.”

Linda EChicago, Illinois

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