East Zion Sunrise
No part of Zion is anything short of wonderful, but for me the east entrance area has always been the greatest delight. The unfolding views as you drive west of colorful sandstone domes, patterned cliffs and bonsai ponderosas make my heart leap, and the anticipation of the tunnel and subconscious loom of the main gorge are almost more exciting than Zion Canyon itself. And it’s my kind of country, mostly lacking in official trails, but with every roadside turnout promising a hidden treasure in waiting.
I will say to anyone in search of shooting tips for this area: you have to scout it out. To see the best of the area requires getting off the road, and there aren’t really established overlooks or any classic spots; you have to choose your own adventure. Also, it’s a sunrise area, which always makes matters a bit trickier. Though I expect there are also plenty of good shots to be had late in the day, it’s more logical to be up there in the morning, and the terrain is not very friendly to improvising in the dark. I’m pretty used to winging it in unfamiliar locations before sunrise, but when I tried it off the east entrance road my luck failed me. Fortunately, a second attempt with a specific place in mind yielded better results.
This was our last morning in Zion, and a very satisfactory end to an excellent trip!