Bryce Canyon was awesome! But… I never imagined that I would ever visit Utah. I even joked about that while I was there. As a child it seemed like it was a million miles away, and it wasn’t on my list of places to visit.

In May 2018, that all changed, and I’m so glad it did. Utah is a beautiful state, visually it gives you so much. There are open green fields, aspens, and rock formations of all shapes, sizes and colors. I went there to photograph Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks, but there was so much more. If you love the beauty of nature, Utah is a must-visit.

Within an hour of arriving (directly from the airport), we headed to Antelope Island State Park. Along  the road to the park was when the picture taking began(a few minutes from the entrance gate). We noticed that some people had stopped, which indicated that there might have been something to see. It was beautiful… a blue lake with a mountain backdrop and large flock of birds. 

Antelope Island
Antelope Island State Park

We hopped back in the car and headed into the park. I was copilot – so I was reading the brochure to see what the park had to offer.  In addition to incredible scenery, that turned out to be free roaming buffalo and antelope. After all. it was Antelope Island. It was huge park. So we explored. Along the way, we saw some antelope along the side of the rode. We stopped the car to get some shots. They graciously stopped to pose for us.

Antelope Utah
Taken at Antelope Island State Park, Utah

Now I was really hoping to see some buffalo. As we were driving, I looked off into a field and I spotted something large and brown. It didn’t appear to be moving. Could it be a buffalo? We drove closer to discover that it was, a very large one. We got out of the car and cautiously approached to get some shots. Having only a 24-105mm lens, I knew I was going to have to get closer than I was comfortable with. But, I took the risk for the shot. Fortunately he was in a good mood and didn’t really feel like moving. He did stand up long enough for me to get a good shot of him. By the way, my on site research revealed that buffalo can run pretty fast.

Utah Bison
Bison taken at Antelope Island State Park, Utah

The next morning it was time to hit the road to Capitol Reef then to Bryce Canyon by sunset. The first leg of our trip from Salt Lake City was going to take us nearly 4hrs. Along the way, we experienced the beauty that Utah has to offer. 

We arrived at Capitol Reef National Park. It was incredible! The red rocks in contrast to the blue sky and clouds made the scene almost surreal. At advice of the park ranger, we did the scenic drive. We took the turn onto the unpaved road – into the Capitol Gorge. Oh my!! The first thing that stuck me was the enormity of the mountains that created the gorge. Then the colors and textures. There were stripped stones and some that looked like sponge. I was in total awe, and I felt so tiny.

Capitol Reef National Park Bryce Canyon
Capitol Gorge at Capitol Reef National Park

After spending a few hours at Capitol Reef, it was time to head to Bryce. We wanted to take the Scenic Byway 12, which was about 120 mile stretch of road between the two parks… another 4hrs of driving. Most of the drive seemed to take us through the Dixie National Forrest, but as the name indicated – it was very scenic. We drove on a road that took us up inclines, down declines, winding through mountains, and some scary sections along the cliffs. We stopped at several places along the way to get some shots.

scenic byway 12 Bryce Canyon
Scenic byway 12, Utah

We reached our final destination, Bryce Canyon National Park, after about 8hrs on the road. We still had a few hours before sunset, and all the driving left us hungry. So, we ate before heading into park. It’s a very remote area. So, our choices of places to eat were few.

Appropriately titled, Sunset Point was our planned stop. I walked up the railing of the observation area, and the view immediately blew me away! I stood there and just took it all in before even thinking about my camera. Neither words or pictures can accurately describe what I saw. But, I was there to take pictures. So, I was going to do my best to try.

Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

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