3 Instagram-Worthy Spots in Zion That Don’t Require Any Hiking

Feb 15, 2020

According to Times Magazine, Zion National Park is the most-Instagrammed spot in Utah, and among the top spots in the U.S.

If you’ve visited this iconic national park, this fact probably doesn’t surprise you. If you haven’t had a chance to drive or ride into the canyon, your first trip might be a bit overwhelming. With so much to see and do around you and towering far above your head, scouting your own picture-worthy overlooks, hiking trails, and other destinations in Zion, there’s a lot to take in. 

You might choose to head to some of the best-known icons in the park. But many of the most photographed spots, like Angels Landing, require some potentially dangerous, and definitely strenuous, hiking. Not up for a trek, but still want to get some photos you can share with your friends and family? You’re in luck.

Keep reading for a list of some of the best spots for taking Instagram-worthy photos in Zion National Park that you won’t have to hike to get to.

The Watchman

This photo destination isn’t just popular for its stunning view; it’s also incredibly easy to get to. This makes it the ideal spot for anyone stopping over at Zion for a short visit or those who don’t want to or can’t take on some of the park’s infamously difficult trails.

Many visitors to the park hike its trails or drive through the canyon without realizing that each of the peaks high above them has names. One of the most iconic is the Watchman. This stunning spire rises to a curved peak in the distance as you enter the park. In fact, you can spot this peak from most areas of Springdale. But if you want a great photo, head into the park.

If you’re driving, park at the Visitor Center. If you’re walking into the park, you’ll head there as well. Then, continue on, just past the Visitor Center until you get to the first bridge, where the road turns to cross over the Virgin River leaving you perpendicular to the rest of the canyon. From there, you’ll have an amazing angle of the Watchman peak, with the Virgin River and all of its surrounding foliage below.

Unfortunately, this popular, easy-to-reach spot tends to draw a crowd, so you may be vying for a spot alongside other photographers and sightseerers. Cars and buses also travel the bridge, so be aware of your surroundings. The sharp turn near the bridge means that drivers might not see you until they get too close. For those reasons, it’s best to only try to capture your shots very early or late in the day, just as long as there is plenty of light for motorists to see you.

Tower of Virgins

Another iconic peak in the park is the Tower of Virgins. Rather than a single peak, though, this formation consists of several, with sharp jagged edges. One, called the Altar of Sacrifice, is named for the iron oxide that streaks its side, causing it to look like its dripping with blood.

Yet another easy photo opportunity, you can get a great view of these towers by simply heading out to the backside of the Zion Human History Museum. If you’re riding the Zion Canyon Shuttle, hop-off at the second stop (the Zion Visitor Center is the first stop). While it’s just as easy to get to as the bridge with the view of the Watchman, this Kodak moment can be accessed without having to stand in the middle of a busy road!

In most cases, you’ll want to head to popular photo spots early in the day to avoid some of the crowds. While there’s plenty of room for everyone at this spot, going at sunrise will give you an incredible view of the sun reflecting on the rock faces. If you don’t feel like getting up before dawn, don’t fret; you can get perfect photos at any time of day. 

Three Patriarchs

Back on the shuttle, this time you’ll want to ride to the fourth stop. If you’re visiting during the winter months, look out for the shuttle stop and park in one of the nearby lots. From the Court of the Patriarchs shuttle stop, you’ll have a great view of the Three Patriarchs rock formation. As the name suggests, these three spires dominate the west side of the Zion Canyon valley far below. Each even has its own name; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

While you can get a shot of the rock kings from the shuttle stop, a short trail will take you to a viewpoint with fewer obstructions. Like the Tower of Virgins, with no traffic to worry about, this spot is easier to relax and snap a few pictures without watching for oncoming cars and buses!