“THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN ON SHUT DOWN SINCE DECEMBER 22ND AND AMERICA’S NATIONAL PARKS ARE CONSEQUENTLY FEELING THE STRAIN.”
Without park employees, many of our protected spaces are being threatened by tourists vandalism. However, I don’t want to make this about politics, because it’s not. This is about the freedom of exploring wide open spaces without crowds, in Utah.
“THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT AN ENDLESS DESERT, VOID WITH PEOPLE AND RICH WITH OPPORTUNITY THAT MAKES YOU FEEL AT PEACE.”
Since visiting in 2016, Utah has always sparked something inside me that few places have.
If you’ve ever been to Utah in the summer, you know two things well: extreme heat and busloads of tourists – especially in the more popular parks like Arches, Bryce Canyon and Zion.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Utah is a state that is beautiful year-round and should be visited whenever you get the opportunity. But, if you have the flexibility, here are a few tips to help you find a little bit of serenity whilst exploring.
- GO IN THE WINTER
I CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH!
By visiting off-season, not only will you avoid the mass of people who decide that visiting Utah is only acceptable during the warmer months, but there’s a high possibility that you might also get to see the desert covered in a fresh dusting of snow!
Sure, the temperatures will likely drop below freezing at night, but day hikes under the Utah sun are warm year-round. If you’re in it for the solitude, this is the way to go.
- GET AN EARLY START
AS A LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER, THIS ONE IS SECOND NATURE TO ME!
In order to shoot in the best light, you have to wake up early, hike to the location, and have your camera set up by the time the sun rises.
The outcome? Soft lighting and a trail all to yourself. You’ll find that a lot of tourists choose to sleep in, so wake up and be at the trailhead before the sun is up, trust me, it’ll be worth it.
- BE ADVENTUROUS
Utah has 5 incredible National Parks, but it also has 43 state parks and hundreds of other hidden gems. So, my tip: don’t spend your time all in one place…
Now, it wouldn’t make much sense for me to give away all the hidden spots in Utah, because obviously, we want to keep a few of them to ourselves, but before your trip, do some research! Speak to park rangers, ask the locals, and trust me, you’ll quickly discover that you can find yourself completely alone in the middle of a beautiful desert at any time of the year.
Canyonlands National Park
On my recent trip, I got to visit Arches and Canyonlands National Parks – by following my three tips, we had a weekend full of jaw dropping canyon overlooks, picturesque rock arches, views of snow-capped mountains, and best of all, few people.
“IF YOU’RE VISITING THIS REGION OF UTAH, I HAVE TO RECOMMEND STOPPING AT DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK FOR SWEEPING PANORAMIC VIEWS AND ENDLESS LAYERS OF CANYONS WITH THE COLORADO RIVER WINDING HUNDREDS OF FEET BELOW YOU. IT’S LIKE A MINIATURE GRAND CANYON MINUS ALMOST ALL OF THE TOURISTS.”
Obviously, these three tips don’t just apply to Utah, they’re great rules to abide by wherever you decide to explore.
Get out and put them to use and you’ll experience how great it is to be alone in some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world!
Moab | Petroglyphs
Moab | Petroglyphs
Point of Interest: if you’re in Moab, take Highway 279 west of town and keep your eyes up on the cliff walls. There are huge panels of petroglyphs that you can view from the road which really make you wonder about the people who created them hundreds of years ago. I’ve seen a lot of them around the state, but these are some of the best.