Canyonlands or Cedar Mesa?

Where should I shoot in late October?


  • Total voters
    8
  • Poll closed .

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
It's that time of year, where I get really, really restless and start obsessively planning my fall photography trip. I'm thinking of Canyonlands, which I've never photographed, but I bought a trail guide and there are all kinds of hikes in Cedar Mesa. I know nothing about Cedar Mesa. Is it better to photograph than Canyonlands? I'm looking for monoliths and overlooks this time. I was tentatively planning on 4 days in Canyonlands, 3 days in Capitol Reef/Goblin Valley, and 2 days in Zion but was wondering if I should divert to Cedar Mesa…..all input appreciated. In fact, I think I'll start a poll.
 
Last edited:

DAA

Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
715
I think it would be criminal to spend that much time in the area and not do a couple Cedar Mesa hikes. It is dead last on your list for monoliths and overlooks though. But has it's own charms, that the others can't match. And even some monoliths and overlooks, too, just not quite in the same league for those specifics as Canyonlands.

- DAA
 

Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
.
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
1,722
Muley Point on Cedar Mesa has an amazing view over Monument Valley. Worth a night's stay for sure.

Sunrise at Muley Point can be sublime.


Gorge of the San Juan
by ashergrey, on Flickr

That said, you'll get more vista bang-for-buck in Canyonlands. But, as @DAA and @gnwatts say, if you're willing to get off the mesa and into Valley of the Gods/Monument Valley then Cedar Mesa can scratch that itch.
 

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
Sunrise at Muley Point can be sublime.


Gorge of the San Juan
by ashergrey, on Flickr

That said, you'll get more vista bang-for-buck in Canyonlands. But, as @DAA and @gnwatts say, if you're willing to get off the mesa and into Valley of the Gods/Monument Valley then Cedar Mesa can scratch that itch.

Whoa! That is one of the most insanely sublime pics I've ever seen (I'm going to flickr after this so I can add it to my favorites). I'd love to see Valley of the Gods, too *sigh*. I think I'm just going to sell everything, buy a truck w/4WD and a camper and spend the rest of my days roaming Utah…….
 

IntrepidXJ

ADVENTR
.
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
3,298
If you are not interested in ruins and rock art, I'd have to go with spending your time in Canyonlands....more bang for your buck there as far as overlooks and monoliths go
 

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
If you are not interested in ruins and rock art, I'd have to go with spending your time in Canyonlands....more bang for your buck there as far as overlooks and monoliths go

Awesome thanks, though some day I'd love to spend time looking for rock art. Saw a picture of a rock wall with hundreds of hands on it and it took my breath way.
 

pixie1339

Desperately Seeking Sandstone
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
1,692
It depends on what you want to shoot. For fall foliage go to the Needles. There are many great opportunities for pictures of the cottonwoods turning, especially along the Indian Creek corridor before you get to Canyonlands proper. There's a lot of first rate hiking to be done there, too. Cedar Mesa has a lot to offer, too, and isn't much further south. Maybe you could spend a couple days in Canyonlands and a couple days around Cedar Mesa.
 

gnwatts

Member
.
Joined
May 19, 2012
Messages
1,786
Cedar Mesa has a lot to offer, too, and isn't much further south. Maybe you could spend a couple days in Canyonlands and a couple days around Cedar Mesa.

That's a good idea. Muley point, then Valley of the Gods maybe. The inner gorge of the San Juan is spectacular also, in a more intimate way. It is accessed at the bottom of the Moqui Dugway (the road down from Cedar Mesa towards Mexican Hat), turn into Goosenecks State Park and immediately veer right onto a well maintained dirt road. Many photo and camping opportunities here.

I have always found a killer camping spot on Muley Point. You have the view towards Navajo Mountain that Ashergrey posted, but if you pan to the left you also have the entire Monument Valley below. If you plan to be there Friday through the weekend try to get there early to get a spot. I have never had problems during the week.

I like this area specifically because it is spectacular, relatively uncrowded, and free.
You could camp @ Muley Point for a sunset and rise, then get to Canyonlands in about three hours.
 

NateGeesaman

Donkey
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
272
I appear to be the lone voice that says emphatically, "Capitol Reef!" As good as all the other choices might be, Capitol Reef has charmed me. So much good hiking and geology along with some of the best BLM land in Utah for camping. I have been to Capitol Reef more than anywhere else in Utah and still have a lot that I haven't seen, and would repeat a number of hikes I have done.
 

pixie1339

Desperately Seeking Sandstone
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
1,692
I appear to be the lone voice that says emphatically, "Capitol Reef!" As good as all the other choices might be, Capitol Reef has charmed me. So much good hiking and geology along with some of the best BLM land in Utah for camping. I have been to Capitol Reef more than anywhere else in Utah and still have a lot that I haven't seen, and would repeat a number of hikes I have done.

I feel the same way you do Nate.:) You definitely can't go wrong with Capitol Reef. It's my favorite N.P. I know Laura has been there on fall trips in the past though, so in this specific case I'd suggest S.E. Utah.
 

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
I appear to be the lone voice that says emphatically, "Capitol Reef!" As good as all the other choices might be, Capitol Reef has charmed me. So much good hiking and geology along with some of the best BLM land in Utah for camping. I have been to Capitol Reef more than anywhere else in Utah and still have a lot that I haven't seen, and would repeat a number of hikes I have done.

Capitol Reef is hands down my favorite place in Utah (so far). The first time I saw it I felt wildness all around me. The problem is that I can't shoot worth $h!+ there. For some reason that place just kicks my @$$, and I've only had one photograph there turn out halfway decent. I've been told that as a photographer you will have an affinity for some places and shoot well in them, while others just won't work that well even if you just love the area. Capitol Reef is in that latter category, but I'm a diehard so I am definitely planning a couple days there on this trip, will do some new hikes and hope my luck changes.

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone on Cedar Mesa, Needles, Muley Point. I'm thinking I may need to just take a leave of absence from work and spend several weeks out there. There's just so much to see!
 

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
Okay, Canyonlands overwhelmingly wins as my primary destination-thanks for all the suggestions and advice everyone! It looks like it's going to be 4-5 days in Canyonlands, a night in Goblin Valley, 2 days in Capitol Reef and the last two in Zion. I've been researching the area and I'm beyond excited now. So far it seems that Lathrop Trail, Murphy Hogsback (with camping) and Indian Creek are on the must-do list. Navajo Knobs and Frying Pan trail for Capitol Reef. Any other suggestions for hikes with amazing views? You guys are going to be looking at the photos after all, might as well get some input on what you want to see. :cool:
 

Cool Danish

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
136
Okay, Canyonlands overwhelmingly wins as my primary destination-thanks for all the suggestions and advice everyone! It looks like it's going to be 4-5 days in Canyonlands, a night in Goblin Valley, 2 days in Capitol Reef and the last two in Zion. I've been researching the area and I'm beyond excited now. So far it seems that Lathrop Trail, Murphy Hogsback (with camping) and Indian Creek are on the must-do list. Navajo Knobs and Frying Pan trail for Capitol Reef. Any other suggestions for hikes with amazing views? You guys are going to be looking at the photos after all, might as well get some input on what you want to see. :cool:
If you are going to be near the top of the Island-in-the-Sky at the end of the day, a hike to False Kiva is fun and great views and photo opportunities. You can easily find directions in the interweb or I can give you GPS coordinates.
 

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
If you are going to be near the top of the Island-in-the-Sky at the end of the day, a hike to False Kiva is fun and great views and photo opportunities. You can easily find directions in the interweb or I can give you GPS coordinates.

Thanks! I'm trying to avoid the over-shot areas (I won't be caught dead at Mesa Arch at dawn!) and I've seen quite a few photos from False Kiva, but if you think there are some opportunities for unique comps I'll put it on my list. Since I've never been to Canyonlands my criteria for "over-shot" is if I've seen 10 or more photos from that location. I think I've seen over 50 from Mesa Arch. Dead Horse Point is also on my avoid list…...
 

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
What are your trip dates? That will help narrow down where the fall colors are hitting.

Not sure yet, I have to apply for my upcoming year's vacation in about 3 weeks. Tentatively hoping for the last week of October but we do a lot of work during election time so I'm worried I won't get the days I want. Cross your fingers!
 

Cool Danish

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2013
Messages
136
Thanks! I'm trying to avoid the over-shot areas (I won't be caught dead at Mesa Arch at dawn!) and I've seen quite a few photos from False Kiva, but if you think there are some opportunities for unique comps I'll put it on my list. Since I've never been to Canyonlands my criteria for "over-shot" is if I've seen 10 or more photos from that location. I think I've seen over 50 from Mesa Arch. Dead Horse Point is also on my avoid list…...
Well, False Kiva is kind of "over-shot" as far as amount of pictures on the internet :) But, you will avoid the crowds and a good chance you will not run into anyone else. I have been there twice and have not seen anyone else, but it was in July time frames.
As far as unique comps, it might be hard to find a new comp that have not seen before since it's inside a large alcove. I just love the view of Candlestick Butte and the privacy.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
IntrepidXJ Canyonlands Permits going to Recreation.gov General Discussion 4
J Family hike in the Maze in June? (Canyonlands / Moab) Am I crazy? Trip Planning 5
Parma Pssst, don't tell anyone but Canyonlands is opening up General Discussion 3
gnwatts BLM Oil and Gas lease auction, Arches, Canyonlands, Bears Ears etc. General Discussion 5
DouginGJCO Hiking &/or backpacking partner for Canyonlands Natl Park and nearby Noobs: Introduce yourself! 0
OwenM Canyonlands in winter/off-season Trip Planning 19
chandlerwest Monument Basin - Canyonlands NP - Not enough hours in a day. Hiking & Camping 6
J Canyonlands Needles Backpacking Suggestions Trip Planning 8
P Salt creek in Canyonlands Trip Planning 13
Parma Missing Person In Canyonlands General Discussion 2
U Maze District of Canyonlands question Trip Planning 15
M Water in Canyonlands Salt Creek early April? Trip Planning 11
zionsky Arches & Canyonlands closed due to snow General Discussion 12
Benjamin Hayden Looking for advice on Maze District, Canyonlands Trip Planning 1
C cave of 200 hands in Canyonlands Trip Planning 0
AKay09 Canyonlands NP: Needles District 4/24-4/27 Backpacking 11
IntrepidXJ Canyonlands National Park: Expanded Bear Container Requirements General Discussion 7
K Hiking the Needles Canyonlands Trip Planning 9
J Canyonlands Natl Park Needles District Circumnavigation April 9 to 15, 2018 Backpacking 1
D Canyonlands 1976 Backpacking 2
Brian Skibbe Moab, Arches NP, Canyonlands NP. May 2017 Hiking & Camping 3
JDWalters Canyonlands/ Needles District question Trip Planning 5
J "Mazing" Six day backpack in Canyonlands Maze Dist. Pt 2. April 13-15, 2017 Backpacking 8
J "Mazing" Six day backpack in Canyonlands Maze Dist. Pt 1. April 10-12, 2017 Backpacking 0
blueeyes Canyonlands/Moab Jug Handle Bikepack Loop March 18, 2017 Everything Else 21
C Canyonlands: Chesler Park, Virginia Park ??? Trip Planning 7
Mike Schasch Canyonlands/Needles hiking along river Trip Planning 7
George_Washington_Hayduke Canyonlands Figure 8: Packrafting Loop through the Needles and Maze District Backpacking 2
C Horse Canyon on Canyonlands Trip Planning 7
D 2 or 3 DayTrip To Canyonlands National Park Trip Planning 34
C day hikes in Canyonlands Needles in late November Trip Planning 19
Vegan.Hiker Canyonlands NP (Part 4 of 4) Backpacking 14
Vegan.Hiker Canyonlands NP (Part 3 of 4) On The Water 8
J Canyonlands Needles Dist.: Crosscanyon Backpack Traverse April 10-15, 2016 Backpacking 1
Vegan.Hiker Canyonlands NP (Part 2 of 4) Backpacking 18
Vegan.Hiker Canyonlands NP (Part 1 of 4) Backpacking 12
DrNed Canyonlands - Island In The Sky Hiking & Camping 12
DrNed Camping Outside of Canyonlands Trip Planning 7
Scott Chandler Veteran's Day Snow in Canyonlands Hiking & Camping 3
Cool Danish Southern Utah Expedition 2014 – Canyonlands, Sandstone and more. Hiking & Camping 16
Tres Westbrook A First Taste of Canyonlands - False Kiva - May 23, 2015 Hiking & Camping 4
mattvogt7 Canyonlands Three District Tour Backpacking 16
Parma Canyonlands Packrafting Trip Backpacking 41
Joey Canyonlands's Maze and Fins Loop Backpacking 14
RyanP 3-day Canyonlands trip in May---suggestions wanted Trip Planning 3
Jimmy Thoughts On Canyonlands Itinerary? Trip Planning 20
Bob Maze - Canyonlands Backpacking 10
CaptnKidd Canyonlands (2010) with Mineral Bottom Switchbacks Missing.... Off Road 6
Nick Canyonlands+Arches, October 2010 Hiking & Camping 0
Nick Salt Creek, Canyonlands Backpacking 54

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top