Five Fun Photo-Ops in the Southwest

The American Southwest is not short on the picturesque. Across Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada, there are many iconic landscapes on which to train your camera lens. Here are five phenomenal places in the Southwest that you will want to capture on your DSLR, smartphone, or point-and-shoot camera.

  • 01 of 05

    The Grand Canyon

    Majestic View of the Grand Canyon
    Diogo Martins/Getty Images

    Arizona. You really can take your pick of Grand Canyon landscapes, as all of them are astounding. Most famous is the Skywalk, an overlook bridge in Grand Canyon West maintained by the Hualapai Nation. Meanwhile, the National Park Service maintains itineraries for scenic hikes and drives of the North and South Rims.

  • 02 of 05

    Monument Valley

    Monument Valley
    Wiki Commons

    Utah/Arizona. The mythical mesas, spires, buttes, and red rocks of Monument Valley have had starring roles in numerous films, from 2001: A Space Odyssey to spaghetti westerns to Forrest Gump. (Young kids may even recognize the area as being the inspiration for the landscape in the animated film Cars.)

    The most iconic landscape in Monument Valley includes the "Mittens," lone rock formations visible from the scenic loop road. The Navajo Nation oversees Monument Valley.

  • 03 of 05

    Antelope Canyon

    antelopecanyonAZ.jpg
    Wikipedia

    Arizona. Slot canyons, canyons formed by the erosion of sandstone, are common throughout the Southwest. But Antelope Canyon, near Page, Arizona, is the most beloved by photographers because of its spiral grooves and waterfalls. As with Monument Valley, access to Antelope Canyon is controlled by the Navajo Nation.

  • 04 of 05

    Delicate Arch at Arches National Park

    Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Utah
    Wikipedia

    Utah. Standing 52-feet tall, a giant among more than 2,000 natural arches, Delicate Arch is classic photo op in Arches National Park. Use the arch as the frame for a family photo or wait until crowds disperse to take a solo shot of the arch.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05
    whitesandsnationalmonument.jpg
    Getty Images

    New Mexico. In a land of unusual landscapes, White Sands National Monument is unique for what it lacks--no lone rock formations, no ruddy red sand. These blindingly white dunes of gypsum spread across 275 square miles are a surreal--but awesome--location for a photo shoot. Are they worth the trip to remote southern New Mexico? That's for you to decide. One caveat though: as the entire monument is surrounded by military installations, it may be closed from time to time. Make sure to check the NPS website for details prior to your trip.