Advice for Grand Canyon + Lake Powell Area

Started May 28, 2013 | Discussions thread
bflood Senior Member • Posts: 1,602
Re: Advice for Grand Canyon + Lake Powell Area

Since you are departing from Vegas and your 1st stop is the dam, I assume you are also flying into Vegas at the start. Your itinerary involves a lot of driving.  Plan on 5-5.5 hours drive from Vegas to the south rim, not including stops. If you get there before sunset, obviously you'll have sunset shooting opportunities.  South rim to Meteor Crater will take 2 hours or so, and then Meteor Crater to Page about 3.5 hours, but there are good stops along the way to shoot, which will take longer.  When you leave Page, it's about 2.5 hours to Zion, also not including stops - and there's much to stop for.  Zion to Vegas is easy - plan on 3 hours from the Zion Canyon visitor center to the strip.

Hiking at the south rim: assuming you are reasonably healthy, take lots of water, expect the hike back up to take 2 hours for every hour you hike down, take lots of water, you don't need to wait until that sunset/golden hour time of day to have the light give you that strong topography definition - the canyon is deep enough that your get that effect earlier than most places, and take lots of water.  It really is a desert out there (expect RH to be 10-15% in the afternoon).

Zion: you don't have enough time in your plan to climb to Angel's Landing, but you'll see the high country on your route from Page into the canyon. Places to pull off the road are rather small up there and not very frequent - if you see something you want to shoot and see a place to park, jump on it.

In the canyon, you also won't have time to hike the Narrows, but you can get up there (north end of the canyon) and walk into it a short distance (~100 yards) and get some really good shots showing the narrowness and color. Watch for deer around the Zion Lodge and north of the visitor center. Zion has a shuttle system and you won't be able to drive your car in the canyon once you get to the visitor center. However, you come down from the high country thru an impressive 2-lane tunnel followed by switchback from the tunnel down to the bottom. There are pullouts on the switchbacks, and if you aren't arriving after about 3 PM, there are some good shots of the canyon's western side mountains.

If you have time (not likely, I think), there's a place immediately out the north side of Kanab UT (between Page and Zion) called the Best Friends Animal Society - they take in discarded exotic animals, many retired from circus duty, and it offers some very good shooting opportunities.  With limited time (isn't it always) and a priority to see the SW, this place may not be especially important.

If you also plan to shoot the strip, be sure to get to the Conservatory in Bellagio, the fountain show in the lagoon in front of Bellagio (shoot from both sides, with the Bellagio in the background and with the Paris Casino in the background). Good views of the strip can be had from some of the 2nd and 3rd floor bars at the Cosmopolitan, but getting in there may be difficult. Every casino has a parking deck, and the ones for Bellagio and Treasure Island offer good views of the strip. Daylight shots of the strip can be had from the open upper deck of the double decker buses that run the strip (they call it the Deuce). There are no good shots of the strip to be had from the pedestrian bridges over Las Vegas Blvd - plexiglas walls.

Enjoy your trip.

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