View Full Version : Points of interest between Seattle and Zion?

Ben Hopson
10-Aug-2006, 20:34
I am planning a road trip beginning in the Seattle area the first week in October and ending around the second week of November. I plan to be at Zion NP from Nov 4 -10. No route planned yet. Any suggestions on what to see along the way? I will be taking both 4X5 and 8X10 cameras and the purpose of the trip is photography.

I have flown to Las Vegas and driven to Zion from there, but with limited time could not explore along the way. I may try to see Bryce and Escalante. Any thoughts on what areas have potential that time of year?



Doug Dolde
10-Aug-2006, 20:36
Be sure to stop in Oregon at the Painted Hills in the John Day Fossil Beds.

See my Oregon gallery for motivation.


Eric Leppanen
10-Aug-2006, 21:55
What an ambitious trip! Just a few thoughts, in no particular order:

- Oregon coast.
- Spend a week cruising the eastern Sierra. Mid-October is usually the height of fall colors, plus you've got Bodie (October is a great time to photograph there), Ancient Bristlecone Forest, Mono Lake, Alabama Hills. Add another 2-3 days to cross the Tioga Road and visit Yosemite (no waterfalls, but a nice time to photograph Merced River reflections since the water tends to be more still).
- Death Valley will still be warm, but you could work an evening shoot, stay overnight, and shoot Zabriskie Point or the sand dunes at sunrise and then escape before it gets hot.
- Spend a few days near Page, Arizona: the Wave (if you're lucky enough to win a permit), Horseshoe Bend, and of course Antelope Canyon (no light beams in October, but still very photogenic and less crowded).
- In early October shoot the Utah aspens in all their fall color glory. There are various locations for this, check with local park rangers or pick up a guidebook or two.
- Spend at least a week at Zion (fall colors, hike the Narrows, etc.), Bryce Canyon (Sunset Point at sunrise is a classic), Devil's Garden (outside of Escalante). Calf Creek Falls is also nearby but I don't know how much water there will be (if any) in October.

Since you are investing significant time and effort into this trip, I would suggest also investing in some photo guidebooks, such as Photographing the Southwest (www.phototripusa.com and http://www.phototripusa.com/swb_20.htm) and Photograph America (www.photographamerica.com). Both are highly recommended. A nice aspect of the newest Southwest books (revised volumes 1 and 2) is that they rate all the various photo locations in terms of photogenic attraction (based on a poll of working photographers who frequent the area), which can be a big help in prioritizing your activities.

Good luck and have fun!

Scott Davis
11-Aug-2006, 04:33
Another area to consider in your trek to Zion is Capitol Reef National Park. It has some spectacular formations, and has 1/10th the tourists that its big name siblings have. The Temples of the Sun and the Moon are worth a visit alone.

Ben Hopson
11-Aug-2006, 10:28
Some excellent suggestions so far. Keep em comming...

I did buy Laurent Martres Photographing the South West volume 1 and am in the process of reading it now. It is a terrific guide book on Southern Utah and I look forward to picking up volume 2.

Over a month on the road does make for an ambitious trip. I only hope my energy level is up to it and I don't run out of film.


Jeffrey Sipress
11-Aug-2006, 11:41
Capital Reef is so very not between Seattle and Zion. How about Yellowstone/Tetons?

Doug Herta
11-Aug-2006, 14:07
I second visiting the John Day/Painted Hills area in central Oregon and would also suggest continue heading Southeast to the Steens Mountain and Alvord Desert area. It is quite isolated and beautiful in that area of Oregon, and is not widely visited. Let me know if you want some ideas for local photo ops in Seattle.


Ben Hopson
11-Aug-2006, 15:23
So far I want to see every single place suggested. I will probably wear out a map or two narrowing down the possibilities and putting this journey together.

Doug, I live in Olalla which is near Gig Harbor, WA. I'm always interested in photo opps around Seattle, the east side of the Cascades as well.


Donald Qualls
14-Aug-2006, 14:55
Depending on your route, you might also consider going a couple hours out of your way north from I-84 to Craters of the Moon National Monument. Make sure you have suitable protective clothing, however; if you get off the paved trails *at all* (permitted in some areas, check locally), the lava rock will destroy ordinary athletic or hiking shoes in a matter of a few miles; even heavy duty boots have a short life in that country. Knee pads, elbow pads, and gloves are recommended as well; they can keep a minor stumble from turning into a 70 mile drive to the nearest source of stitches. Water and food, of course -- arid environment. It's a myth that the jackrabbits carry lunchboxes, however -- they just know the shortcuts to the diners at every freeway interchange.

Doug Dolde
14-Aug-2006, 14:59
If you live on the Oly Penninsula don't miss the Hoh Rainforest !

Ben Hopson
15-Aug-2006, 00:35
I think that on the way to Zion we will drop down and visit Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. My wife is traveling with me and she has family in Wyoming not far from Riverton. We have been wanting to visit and it will be a good opportunity to stay over night and spend the next day (maybe two) with them before heading south again. We will have a month before we need to be at Zion so there is no rush and plenty to see on the way.

Doug D, the Hoh Rainforest is high on my list of places to go. It has been several years since I was there and at the time I wasn't doing large format. It will be well worth going back.