Resembling the work of an artist, sunsets like this one in Utah from Plateau Viewpoint in Labyrinth Rims/Gemini Bridges Special Management Recreation Area can feel almost unreal. Pink hues of the day’s last light grace the sandstone domes of the Sand Flats Recreation Area and the forested slopes of the Manti-La Sal National Forest. Bureau of Land Management manages this area, offering incredible opportunities for world-class recreation, like mountain biking, camping and river-rafting– or —gawking at sunsets. Photo by Stephen Smith (www.sharetheexperience.org).
As you enter Zion National Park in Utah, you immediately know you’re in a special place. The red rock walls stretching towards the sky, the Virgin River flowing by you and miles of trails to guide you towards nature’s great wonders. There is so much to see and do. While many visitors gather around iconic sights like Angels Landing, the Narrows and the Watchmen – seen here – there are many other stunning locations in the north and east sides of the park that are not as busy. No matter how eager you are to see everything, from time to time, you must stop and just enjoy a moment of peace in this gorgeous park. Photo by Matt Meisenheimer (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The sunset brings vibrant orange hues over Skyline Arch and fills spectators with a resounding sense of awe. When visiting Arches National Park in Utah, try camping with family or friends in Devil’s Garden Campground. From there, take the short hike up behind Skyline Arch. Experiencing the sunset from this vantage point promises some of the best evening light and can be a dream scenario for photographers. Photo by Nina Mayer Ritchie (www.sharetheexperience.org).
One of the most iconic views at Zion National Park in Utah is the Watchman glowing in sunset light as it rises beyond the Virgin River. With trails, overlooks and bridges easily accessible from the Visitor Center, this gorgeous scene is very popular with everyone from professional photographers to anyone with a smartphone. If the sunset is particularly colorful, stunned crowds will form, offering you a chance to connect with nature and your fellow visitors. Photo by Jeremiah Pierucci (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Get away from the crowd and venture into the amazing solitude of Capitol Reef National Park in Utah. Marked hiking routes lead into narrow, twisting gorges, slot canyons and to spectacular viewpoints high atop the Waterpocket Fold. Water, wind and gravity have shaped Cathedral Valley’s free-standing monoliths, or temples, out of the soft reddish-orange sandstone, leaving visitors feeling like they’ve stumbled onto an alien planet. Enjoy the beauty, but remember to take plenty of water and Leave No Trace. Photo by Dan Mitler (www.sharetheexperience.org).
You can visit Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah a hundred times and still find something new and interesting. This mysterious landscape of hoodoos and twisting trails glows orange in the light while the shadows stretch out like reaching fingers. Looking at these delicate carvings, it’s difficult to believe that all this was done by wind, water and time, and one day, the same forces that created it will wipe it all away. Photo by Rodney Preisch (www.sharetheexperience.org).
World-renowned for photography and climbing opportunities, the majestic Fisher Towers in Utah rise above the valley like red castle spires. Maintained by the Bureau of Land Management, a National Recreation Trail wraps around the base of the towers and gives visitors fantastic views of the Colorado River Valley. The tallest rock formation, “The Titan,” towers 700 feet above the surrounding landscape and is the tallest rock tower in the United States. Photo by Steven Luther (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The North Fork Virgin River flows through Zion Canyon past Mountain of Mystery, Temple of Sinawava, Angels Landing, The Great White Throne and The Sentinel. Life follows the river, a ribbon of summer green made up of cottonwood, ash and boxelder. Taking it all in from one of Zion National Park’s many epic views, a deep connection will rise as the golden sun sinks. This scene will replay itself many times in your mind, a memory that won’t fade. Photo courtesy of Brock Slinger.
If the colors and curves of Reflection Canyon don’t leave you breathless, the journey to get there will. Deep in the backcountry of Utah’s Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, this secluded wonder requires a 50-mile drive down dirt roads and a 20-mile round trip hike to find. Only experienced hikers should attempt this adventure. Trekking over unmarked, rugged terrain with only the water and shelter you can carry is not for the faint of heart. But we can all enjoy this incredible picture. Photo by Wan Shi (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The last moments of light before the sun sets at Zion National Park in Utah are a sight to behold. The Watchman stands tall overlooking the Virgin River flowing along the iconic trail. A view like this is easier to achieve than you might think. Pick a few days and plan your next adventure. Photo courtesy of Kenny Chen.