If you’re looking to capture epic Instagram photos on your next adventure, look no further than the Lake Powell and Grand Staircase area in Utah and Arizona. Picture-perfect arches, active waterfalls, sculpted red sandstone, and narrow slot canyons make for the most breathtaking backdrops.
When you stay at Under Canvas Lake Powell-Grand Staircase, several scenic landmarks are close by (and right on site)—making it easy to experience some of the most picturesque places for travel photos:
#1 Antelope Canyon
With sweeping curves, sunbeams, and sand showers, it’s no wonder Antelope Canyon is the most photographed and most-visited slot canyon in all of the American Southwest. Visitors come from all over the world to capture the unforgettable moment when light beams through the canyon and illuminates the fiery color sandstone shapes. There are two canyons, the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons, but you’ll find the coveted sunbeam shots at the Upper Antelope Canyon. The best time to see it is between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. during the spring and summer months due to the lighting. To see the 190-million-year-old masterpiece yourself, you’ll need to book with a local tour guide company since the land is protected and is a sacred site to the Navajo people. A tour is a great way to learn about the rich history of the land dating back to the dinosaurs and find the best photo ops. This top attraction is just 17-miles from Under Canvas Lake Powell-Grand Staircase.
#2 Horseshoe Bend
Just 20-miles from Under Canvas Lake Powell-Grand Staircase, Horseshoe Bend is a photographic icon. Take in the view from atop the canyon for a popular Instagram shot overlooking the natural bend in the Colorado River or immerse yourself in the landscape from the river below in a canoe or boat—you can even rent a kayak or paddleboard from Under Canvas Lake Powell-Grand Staircase. No matter how you get there or what time of day you visit, you will be met with spectacular views. For soft pink skies, we recommend rising early for a pre-dawn photoshoot. If you’re looking to capture sun flares as it passes the horizon line, arrive just before sunset. As you snap away, make sure to take in the view with your own eyes and not always from behind the camera!
Pro-tip for taking great photos: A wide-angle lens or selecting 0.5x for an ultra-wide lens on your phone will help you capture the most scenery.
#3 Rainbow Bridge National Monument
Strike a pose in front of what looks like a “rainbow turned to stone.” Rainbow Bridge is one of the largest natural bridges in the world and is sacred in Navajo culture. You can get to Rainbow Bridge National Monument by taking a scenic Lake Powell boat trip, making the 30-mile trek on one of two permitted trails around Navajo Mountain in Navajo Nation, or going by way of horseback. Once you arrive at Rainbow Bridge National Monument, there is a short hike to the natural bridge. The best light will be in the morning before the sun is at its peak. No matter what time you take photos, you’ll want to position yourself so the sun is partially behind the natural bridge to lessen the intensity of the brightness and catch its rays glinting off the arch.
#4 Jacob Hamblin Arch
Some say it’s the most beautiful arch in Utah, with its imposing presence and vaulted ceiling, it feels like being inside a natural cathedral. On the way there, you’ll hike through the desert, drop into a canyon, and come across a flowing stream before spotting the most popular aspect of Coyote Gulch, the Jacob Hamblin Arch in Grand Staircase Escalante. Visiting the arch can be done as a day trip. Although it’s long and somewhat challenging, the scenery makes the hike well worth it. Bring the entire family, both kids and adults will be in absolute awe of this amazing arch.
#5 The Wave at Coyote Buttes
A visit to The Wave in Grand Staircase-Escalante will make you want to pose like you’re riding the wave of red, orange, and yellow sandstone formations that give this landmark its name. A geological work of art, the colorful sandstone that looks like brushstrokes is a one-of-a-kind visual experience. The Wave is in the north section of Coyote Buttes, between Paria Canyon and Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. Plan ahead to visit this location as permits are required and only 64 people per day are granted access in order to preserve this stunning natural landscape. You can request a permit online or try your luck at getting a walk-in permit, if you go early enough. This stunning location is worth the trip, less than one hour away from Under Canvas Lake Powell-Grand Staircase!
With countless spots to snap Instagram-worthy photos, choosing your next profile picture might prove difficult. Not to mention the photo ops you’ll find right outside your safari-style tent. Perched on the Canyon Rim Plateau, Under Canvas Lake Powell-Grand Staircase offers sweeping views of Lone Rock, Lake Powell, and the surrounding sandstone…as well as an onsite slot canyon waiting to be explored. For the ultimate Instagrammable adventure, you can book a UTV tour, whitewater rafting, or float trip around these stunning spots with the help of our Adventure Concierge.