Planning for 'mega' Canyonlands Trip


Jan 13, 2013
Hi there,

I am based in the UK and have done quite a few photography trips into the South West over the last few years....

Although I have traveled to both Arches and island in the Sky with my family, there is a burning desire to go 'deeper' into the interior of Canyonlands for a landscape photography trip with a difference...

As I live a long way away I am trying to hatch a plan to maximise on a single visit... I realise that there will be a fair deal of 'hiking' involved but that is secondary to the primary focus of the trip which would be landscape photography... I have no interest in anything technical which might involve rope either..... :)

Current plan in its very early stages is something along the lines of :

1. Three / Four Nights in the Maze, staying at Maze Overlook one night and Doll House for two / three nights... Would have to do this with an outfitter as I have no desire to try and drive this area... its an expensive option but dont see how I have a choice on this one... During the time there would be keen to spend some time in the Fins area, hike out to Chocolate Drops and also possibly the Green / Colorado Confluence area... No real interest in Great Gallery or Harvest Scene pictographs in this area...

2. Two / Three nights along the White Rim trail below Island in the Sky... Would be interested in comments on best / most scenic camping areas... I assume no easy access into Monument Basin? I do suspect its best to photograph from above anyway.... Would I need an outfiter for this one or jest rent a Jeep for a few days from Moab...

3. Two / Three nights in Needles area... keen to spend at least one last afternoon in Chesler park area, walk up Elephant Canyon to Druid Arch for early morning picture and ( unfortunately I suspect a bridge to far! ) hike out to Angel Arch and see the All-American Man too.... Would probably use an outfitter for this one especially if Idecide to have a go at Angle Arch... not at all keen on hiking solo in this / any area...

In terms of when, I would guess around mid May 2015 is when I would target the trip.... Hopefully that would provide a balance between wind and rain.... Would be great if I miss 'bug season' too...

The trip is planned from west to east to enable me a little R&R time between trips in and around Moab for showering restocking etc...

Would be very interested in comments from those on the forum that have visited these locations on the plausibility of my plan and also might have any suggestion on other great photographic locations in this specific area...

Many Thanks In Advance!!!

PS - This was cross posted in Bogley too...


May 18, 2012
Des, I replied to you on Bogley. I'm in the UK near you and I've almost planned an identical trip with a friend. Would be good to chat about it rather than write long emails. I've sent you my phone number. Ross


Mar 6, 2014
White Rim and Maze requires permits for car camping, obtainable max 3 months in advance. Secure these as soon as you can, i.e mid February, unless you go with an outfitter.
Camping in Needles District is first come first serve, and full at noon every day in season. Plan on arriving in the am in hope of getting a site.
There's a hiking route into Monument Basin. No trail, just a route.
In May wind (and thus airborne particulate) is more likely than rain. Best air quality, light, colors are in the fall and winter.

I live in Moab and have been to all the areas you mention. Wouldn't mind 'guiding' you, schedule permitting.
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