There is no getting around it: southern Utah has some of the most spectacular scenery in the United States. From Moab to Escalante, there is so much beautiful country to explore. Among the endless desert landscapes, there are five National Parks.
These parks are all relatively close and each boasts a unique landscape, making them prime destinations for travelers. Zion, arguably the most iconic of the parks, rose to the third most visited National Park in the nation (in the last non-pandemic year). This of course means that travel during peak months can be busy and hectic. The parks have done a great job of dealing with the crowds, but parks all across the country are as busy as they have ever been. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to enjoy the solitude of these great places, however. Winter is the best time of year to beat the crowds and enjoy these parks at a slower pace. That’s exactly what our Backcountry Journeys group intended to do for a week of shooting Zion and Bryce in February.
We all met in St. George and I was excited to learn that our small group had either never been to Zion or Bryce, or had visited briefly many years ago. I love when it works out that way because it is always exciting to visit the parks with someone who is seeing them in person for the first time. After a great meal in town, we all turned in early so we would be well-rested for the pre-dawn departure. Unfortunately, a rogue oven in the hotel’s kitchen decided to set off the fire alarm in the middle of the night and deprive us of our beauty sleep. Non the less, we convened in the morning excited and ready to start the trip, even if we were a little groggy.