Scenic Southern Utah photos: an album

For the last six days we’ve been traveling around Southern Utah. We were based in Bluff in the southeastern portion of the state and Kanab in the southwest. We loved both of these small, friendly towns. We wanted to feature one of our photos from the trip as Photo of the Week. There were so many shots that we wanted to share so we decided to include one from each place we experienced. Here are a few of our scenic Southern Utah photos; we have hundreds more. We’ll write more about Bluff, Kanab and southern Utah in future posts.

Scenic Southern Utah photos


The Castle at Hovenweep, photo Steve Collins

The Castle at Hovenweep, photo/Steve Collins

You’ve probably never heard of Hovenweep National Monument; it sits just over the Colorado border in Utah, a short detour between Durango and our next destination, Bluff, UT. We had to go. This ancestral Puebloan site, shows signs of human habitation going back 10,000 years. These Pueblo ancestors were here from around 500 A.D. to 1200 A.D. Most of the buildings here were built between 1,2oo and 1,300. The area was once home to about 2,500 people. An approximately two-hour loop walk takes you past remains of stone structures including round and square towers, dwellings and kivas (ceremonial chambers). What we loved about Hovenweep after we experienced the crowds at Mesa Verde was the relatively undisturbed state of the site. Currently admission is free.

Newspaper Rock

scenic southern Utah photos - Petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock photo Billie Frank

Petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock photo/Billie Frank


Newspaper Rock State Historical Monument is on the way to the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park. Even if you’re not planning to visit the park (we didn’t) it’s worth the trip. Why? The rock is covered in petroglyphs (rock carvings) made by native peoples. We love to visit petroglyph sites whenever we can and this is one of the best we’ve seen. They speak to us. Our detour on the way to Arches added about an hour to the trip but was well-worth it. This is a fee-free site.

Arches National Park

Arches National Park, photo Steve Collins

Arches National Park, photo Steve Collins

Arches National Park in Moab is one of the most spectacular places we’ve ever been to. The red rock formations and arches are truly stunning. I found myself saying, “Oh my God, oh my God.” over and over again coupled with “Wow, just wow!” When we got out at a viewpoint to take photos a woman from New Jersey emerged from her car with an astonished, “Holy cannoli.” I know exactly how she felt. There is a per vehicle admission charge.

Monument Valley

Scenic Southern Utah photos- Monument Valley from the road photo Billie Frank

Monument Valley from the road photo/Billie Frank

Our route took us past Monument Valley on the Navajo Nation on the Utah/Arizona border. We stopped to get a few shots of some of its remarkable rock formations from the road. We want to go back and drive the road through the area. There just wasn’t time on this trip. There is a per vehicle admission charge.

We added some Arizona pics to our scenic Southern Utah photos. While we crossed state borders the natural environments flow together.

Grand Canyon North Rim

scenic southern Utah h photos - North Rim, Grand Canyon photo Steve Collins

North Rim, Grand Canyon photo Steve Collins

Our Southern Utah road trip was catalyzed by a desire to see Grand Canyon’s North Rim. The rest of the trip evolved from that. Although the site officially closed on October 15th it will be open to visitors until the road in is closed by snow. It’s definitely a less crowded time to visit this popular site. We made the hour-plus trip from Kanab, Utah where we moved after three nights in Bluff. Although it was an overcast day with prescribed burns in the area the conditions weren’t optimal for good photos but we gave it our best effort.

Vermilion Cliffs

Vermillion Cliffs, photo Steve Collins

Vermilion Cliffs, photo/Steve Collins

On our way back from Grand Canyon we skirted the southern edge of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. The extra time it added to our return trip was well worth it. The red cliffs are magnificent. We’d love to return on a sunny day!

Navajo Bridge at Marble Canyon

scenic southern Utah photos - Navajo Bridge ovre the Colorado River at Marble Canyon, photo/Billie Frank

Navajo Bridge crosses the Colorado River at Marble Canyon, photo/Billie Frank

The historic Navajo Bridge, on US 89A, opened in 1929, crosses the Colorado River at Marble Canyon. It replaced the unreliable Lee’s Ferry that crossed the river at a low point in the canyon. The bridge, which was built with the traffic of its day in mind, wasn’t up to the demands of modern traffic demands and was replaced by a newer, wider bridge in 1995. The original bridge is now open to pedestrian traffic. Walk out into the middle for great photo ops. Admission is free.

Bryce Canyon National Park

scenic southern Utah photos - "Natural Bridge" 'which is really an arch) at Bryce National Park photo/Steve Collins

“Natural Bridge” ‘which is really an arch) at Bryce National Park photo/Steve Collins

Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the most visually stunning places we’ve ever visited. The park is composed of hoodoos (pinnacles of eroded rock). We drove to Rainbow Point (the furthest viewpoint) and made our way down 15 miles of road, stopping at every pull-out and parking area to see the views and take photos. It took us about two and a half hours. Allow more time if you’re planning to hike some of the trails.

 Zion National Park

scenic southern Utah photos - A rock formation at Zion National Park photo Billie Frank

Rock formation at Zion National Park photo/Billie Frank

Zion National Park is made up of a series of rock formations representing seven geological eras going back as far as 250 million years ago. The road is narrow and crowded with pull-outs for people to stop, enjoy the views and take photos. The first 12 miles to the Visitors Center is open to vehicles. To see the rest of the park, visitors must board shuttle buses.

We took lots of other pictures as we drove through Southern Utah but we’ll save them for another time. We hope you enjoyed our scenic Southern Utah photos, a definite departure from our Photo of the Week format.

Do you have any scenic Southern Utah photos? We’d love to see them and hear about them.




18 Responses to “Scenic Southern Utah photos: an album”

  1. noel
    October 30, 2016 at 9:13 pm #

    You’ve already seen so much on your road trip, I’m quite envious. What a fun trip it has been so far.
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    • Billie Frank
      October 31, 2016 at 9:18 pm #

      It has indeed. I knew we’d love Southern Utah but I didn’t know it was going to be as spectacular as it was.

  2. Shannon - SoleSeeking
    October 31, 2016 at 7:35 am #

    Love Utah, it’s like being on Mars there. I’d have loved to see more of Bryce but unfortunately bad weather spoiled things. Canyonlands National Park is also gorgeous.
    Shannon – SoleSeeking recently posted..10 Fundamental Rules for Happy Travel I Rediscovered in AustraliaMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      October 31, 2016 at 9:20 pm #

      We saw some very lunar landscape which I didn’t like- but the red rock areas are incredible.

  3. Donna Janke
    October 31, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

    These are all stunning locations. I’ve driven through Utah and saw some beautiful scenery doing that, but didn’t have the time to stop or visit these sites. Hope to do that some day.
    Donna Janke recently posted..Tacoma: City of GlassMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      October 31, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

      Go back and spend the time! It’s so worth it. We want to go back and spend weeks there. So much to discover.

  4. Doreen Pendgracs
    October 31, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

    Great pics, Billie. I agree. utah is so picturesque! And petroglyphs are a bonus!
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..celebrating the best chocolate treatsMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      October 31, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

      Thanks! Petroglyphs are always a bonus. They really fascinate me.

  5. Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields
    October 31, 2016 at 10:36 pm #

    I understand why you like Utah, it is my favourtie US state. David loves America so we try to get there once a year – no mean feat given that we live in Australia. If it was up to me, I would just keep going back to Utah and its stunning scenery. What a shame you found Mesa Verde crowded, even David was blown away by it.
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    • Billie Frank
      November 1, 2016 at 6:49 pm #

      We’d been to Mesa Verde off season years ago and loved it. This time it was just too zooey. Looking at the cliff dwellings from afar is still wonderful. What I want to do- not sure when is to go to Canyon de Chelly and see the cliff dwellings there. Because you have to go in on a tour it’s way less trafficked. Southern Utah sure is spectacular!

  6. cindy
    November 1, 2016 at 7:46 am #

    We did almost this exact trip over a few weeks some years ago – as you show, it’s a fantastic part of the country. Great memories – I need to get back there!
    cindy recently posted..Exploring with the Vilnius City CardMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      June 18, 2017 at 11:03 am #

      I need to get back there as well. One of my favorite spots in the USA.

  7. Debbra Dunning Brouillette
    November 2, 2016 at 9:21 am #

    I must get to Utah! All the photos I have seen look amazing and I can’t wait to get there and photograph it myself. What a road trip you have been on! It sounds like it does take time to get to the sites so I’ll have to plan a couple of weeks, at least, to take it all in!
    Debbra Dunning Brouillette recently posted..Ah, Athens! Must-see sites: Acropolis and Acropolis MuseumMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      November 2, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

      It’s been an amazing road trip. We were there 6 days and it wasn’t nearly enough. Two to three weeks or even four could be pretty packed with things to do. We definitely want to go back.

  8. Jaunting Jen
    November 3, 2016 at 8:05 am #

    These photos are beautiful. I’m going to Utah for the fist time in about three weeks and I’m even more excited to go after reading this post.
    Jaunting Jen recently posted..The Best Adventures are the Most UnexpectedMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      November 3, 2016 at 9:24 am #

      It’s an amazingly beautiful place. Glad our post added to your excitement. Hope you get to some of the places we missed. We really want to go back. So much to see there.

  9. ST Mastering
    November 5, 2016 at 11:29 am #

    It is such a amazing place.I just love Utah.The photos are also amazing. Next year I am planning to make a road trip there.
    Wish you all the best for your next trip

    • Billie Frank
      November 15, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

      It is an amazing place- one of the most stunning we’ve visited.

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