10 Epic Photo Locations in the Southwest
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
If you love the outdoors and capturing its beauty, then a road trip through the American Southwest is something you’ll want to experience at least once in your life. Between the dramatic vistas, vibrant red landscape, and otherworldly rock formations; there's no shortage of adventure and epic photo opportunities. It also happens to be home to some of the country's most beautiful national and state parks.
Listed below are 10 epic photo locations in the American Southwest. Technically the Southwest Region is made up of 8 states in the U.S. This article will cover locations in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.
I should mention that getting to some of these locations might be a bit of a challenge if you don’t like hiking or you're not comfortable with heights. Challenging or not, reaching these destinations will definitely be a rewarding experience and an adventure you won't forget.
1. Mouse's Tank Road, Valley of Fire State Park Nevada
Valley of Fire State Park is about an hour's drive from Downtown Las Vegas. It's located in the Mojave Desert and features bright red sandstone formations and unique geological features that date back millions of years.
The park as a whole is pretty much one photo opportunity after another. However, the top of Mouse’s Tank Road in Valley of Fire is one of the most scenic viewpoints in the Southwest.
Mouse's Tank Road isn’t marked as an attraction on the map; it's a scenic road leading to the main attractions in the park. To reach the viewpoint pull over at Rainbow Vista and face towards the Visitors Center. For an even better view of Mouse's Tank, you can easily climb up the rocks along the road.
Read more about things to do in Valley of Fire State Park here.
2. Angels Landing, Zion National Park Utah
It seems a little crazy to plan a road trip around the Southwest and not include Zion National Park. With its magnificent views and famous trails, this park is a hiker's and photographer's dream. One of the most popular hikes in Zion National Park is Angels Landing.
Not only is Angels Landing one of the most incredible viewpoints in the Southwest, but the final climb to the top is also one giant adrenaline rush. With sheer 1,000 foot drop-offs on both sides, extremely narrow sections of the trail, and bolted chains for added support, the last leg of the hike is quite an adventure... or as some might put it: scary as friggin hell!!.
The last portion of the Angels Landing trail is not for everyone. It's been listed as one of the most dangerous hikes in the US and as one of the scariest hikes in the world. I will admit that it wasn't until my 3rd time doing this hike that I was able to muster up the courage to complete the last section of the hike (yes it was totally worth it and I'm so glad to finally did it!). If you have a fear of heights or simply don't want to do this part of the hike, you can still enjoy stunning views from Scouts Lookout.
More photos of the Angels Landing Trail:
Sunset is always a favored time to shoot but, photographing the top of Angels Landing at sunset can be risky because you will be heading back down the dangerous part of the trail in the dark.
Read more about Angels Landing here.