Trip Reports: Two Weeks In The Canyons Of Utah - April 2010

In April I spent two weeks hiking, camping, and photographing in and around the canyons of southern Utah.  I visited a lot of new places I haven't seen before, including Goblin Valley State Park, San Rafael Swell, Robbers Roost area, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park.  I also returned to my favorite canyon area - Escalante - for a 4 day backpacking trip, which was the highlight of my journeys.

The photos below are arranged in roughly chronological order.

Little Wild Horse, canyon, Utah, San Rafael Swell, hiker, photo

Little Wild Horse Canyon

San Rafael Swell, Utah

A hiker walks through some trippy formations in a narrow section of Little Wild Horse Canyon. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Goblin Valley, San Rafael Swell, Utah, sunset, photo

Goblin Valley Panorama

San Rafael Swell, Utah

A panoramic sunset view of the plethora of mushroom hoodoo formations at Goblin Valley State Park.  Prints available; please contact me for pricing. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Robbers Roost, Utah, slot, canyon, photo

Slot Passage

Robbers Roost Country, Utah

Amazing slot formations a remote and seldom visited canyon in the Robbers Roost region - similar to the famous and oft-photographed Antelope Canyon, but without the crowds.  I was all by myself down here, spending most of the day lost in a daydream, wandering up and down the canyon and photographing the interesting formations.

As most photographers who have been in slot canyons know, the best time to photograph them is during the 3-4 hours around midday on a clear sunny day, when the sunlight filters in and bounces around in the deep narrow slots, illuminating the walls with otherworldly glowing hues.  As the sun moves through the sky, the bounce light changes dramatically in the slots, sometimes in a matter of minutes.  This allows for hours of fun finding photos in canyons like this.

I also have a version of this photo without the hiker, if you're interested.
. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Happy Canyon, Robbers Roost, Utah, hiker, slot canyon, photo

Slot Riddle

Robbers Roost Country, Utah

Checking out another strange slot canyon formation in Happy Canyon. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Robbers Roost, Dirty Devil River, Burr Point, Utah, sunset, photo

Robbers Roost Sunset

Robbers Roost Country, Utah

Sunset light filters through a gap in the clouds to the west, lighting up the mesas of Robbers Roost Country, with the Dirty Devil River down below, as seen from Burr Point. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Temple of the Sun, Lower Cathedral Valley, Utah, Capitol Reef National Park, photo

Cathedral Valley Vortex

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

The Temple of the Sun in Lower Cathedral Valley. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Temple of the Moon, Temple of the Sun, Lower Cathedral Valley, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, sunrise, photo

Temples of the Moon and Sun

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Sunrise light on the Temple of the Moon, and Temple of the Sun, in the Lower Cathedral Valley. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Bryce Canyon, moonlight, national park, Utah, photo

Bryce Moonlight

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Moonlight illuminates the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, as seen with a long, high-ISO exposure on a stormy moonlit night. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce Point, snowy, sunrise, Utah, photo

Bryce Canyon Snowy Sunrise

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

An awesome sunrise on a snowy morning in April, as seen from Bryce Point. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Bryce Canyon, sunrise, hoodoos, snowy, Utah, national park, photo

Snowy Hoodoos

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Hoodoos of Bryce Canyon glow even oranger in the sunrise light on a snowy April morning. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Bryce Canyon National Park, hiking, Navajo Loop Trail, Utah, photo

Hiking in Bryce

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Hiking down the Navajo Loop Trail on a snowy April morning. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Thor's Hammer, sunrise, orange, hoodoo, Utah, photo

Thor's Hammer

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

One of the more famous hoodoos in Bryce, Thor's Hammer.  Though shooting straight into the sunrise here, the orange hoodoos of Bryce soak in some strong bounce light. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Neon Canyon, Escalante, Utah, photo

Walking Neon

Escalante, Utah

Walking down Neon Canyon. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Escalante, springtime, Utah, canyons, photo

Springtime in Escalante

Escalante, Utah

Brilliant green trees reflect in a small pond deep within the Escalante canyons - April. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Escalante, Utah, desert varnish, canyon, photo

Sandstone Sunbeams

Escalante, Utah

Desert varnish and a solitary tree. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Canyon, Escalante, Utah, tree, springtime, photo

Neon Tree

Escalante, Utah

A lush green springtime tree deep in an Escalante canyon.  Not much to this photo, just a peaceful tree with a colorful backdrop. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Neon Canyon, reflections, Escalante, Utah, alcove, Golden Cathedral, photo

Golden Cathedral Lightshow

Escalante, Utah

At the head this tributary canyon of the Escalante River, is a small pond underneath a large alcove.  Several holes have been eroded through a horizontal layer in the alcove, forming a very unique series of natural bridges through which water flows during floods.  On sunny days the light shines into the canyon and through these holes, bouncing off the water of the pond and casting strange reflections on the sandstone ceiling of the alcove.  My friends and I spent hours there tossing rocks into the pond to create different reflection patterns.  Such fun! Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Neon Canyon, Escalante, Utah, ripple reflections, photo

Light Ripples

Escalante, Utah

Trippy ripple reflections on a canyon wall.  Read more about this place here. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Neon Canyon, Escalante, Utah, photo

Gravity Testing

Escalante, Utah

At the head of Neon Canyon, we had a brilliant idea of seeing how far we could run around this ramp until g-forces failed.  Here's Wesley getting around pretty far.  Good fun. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

petroglyph, horse, rattlesnake, Escalante, Utah, photo

Rattlesnake and Horse

Escalante, Utah

An ancient petroglyph panel along with local rattlesnake resident.  I'm not sure if that's a snake petroglyph to the left, but if so... pretty interesting scene. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

moonlight, flashlight painting, Canyon, Escalante, Utah, photo

Deadend Moonlight

Escalante, Utah

Moonlight and flashlight painting at a dead end branch of one of the many branches of the Escalante. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Escalante, Utah, flashlight painting, sandstone, photo

Tree and Wall

Escalante, Utah

Flashlight painting below a sheer sandstone wall. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Escalante, wading, narrows, Utah, photo

Wading

Escalante, Utah

Wading through some narrows in Escalante - April.  The pool got to about armpits-deep and was about 50 meters long around a corner and through an enclosed pool.  Passing through this chilly obstacle earned us entrance to about two miles of spectacular narrows. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Escalante, Utah, canyon, photo

Curvy Canyon Reflection

Escalante, Utah

The canyon walls seem to pulsate in the strong bounce light, accentuated by the curving streaks of desert varnish. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Escalante, Utah, sandstone, wall, hiker, canyon, photo

Choprock Wall

Escalante, Utah

A massive sheer sandstone wall deep in the canyons of Escalante.  Note the scale with the little hiker (me) at the bottom. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

canyon, Escalante, Utah, subway, photo

Deserted Subway

Escalante, Utah

A Subway-esque section of narrow, remote corner of the Escalante canyons. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Escalante, Utah, campsite, alcove, photo

Alcove Camp

Escalante, Utah

A great campsite in a tributary of the Escalante River, under a huge sandstone alcove.  This is where over the millenia the drainage has carved a huge undercut into the cliff wall, leaving a flat sandy bench with a massive arching sandstone ceiling!  This was our basecamp for three nights as we explored the nearby canyons. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

moonrise, Three Virgins, Zion National Park, Utah, Canyon Overlook, photo

Zion Moonrise

Zion National Park, Utah

Moonrise light on the Three Virgins, as seen from the Canyon Overlook. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

California condor, condor, Zion National Park, Utah, photo

Condor A3

Zion National Park, Utah

A rare California condor poses for the camera on Angels Landing.  Notice the radio antenna and id number.  Not the prettiest bird ever, but what a sight to see!  The next day I saw two of them circling up on a thermal over the Zion canyon and was amazed at what graceful fliers they are. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Three Virgins, Zion National Park, Utah, moonlight, photo

Zion Lunar Alpenglow

Zion National Park, Utah

Lunar alpenglow on the Three Virgins in Zion National Park on a nearly full moon night. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Zion National Park, moonlight, stars, Utah, photo

Zion Moonlight

Zion National Park, Utah

Stars and moonlight as seen with a long exposure taken from the East Rim of Zion Canyon on a nearly fullmoon evening.  The yellow cloud on the left is illuminated by the lights of Cedar City. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

Zion National Park, sunset, Deertrap Mountain, Angels Landing, Utah, photo

Zion Canyon Sunset

Zion National Park, Utah

A spectacular sunset above Zion Canyon, as seen from Deertrap Mountain on the East Rim.  Angels Landing is the red rock outcropping visible in the canyon on the right side.  The Narrows is up the canyon past that. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available

abstract, photo

Zion Funk

Zion National Park, Utah

An abstract. Photo © copyright by Jack Brauer.

Prints Available