Best US National Parks for Photography

Do you feel an urge to grab your camera and tripod and never miss a second of the picturesque natural beauty that a sunset beholds? If you have a passion and a flair for nature and landscape photography and you find yourself confined to capturing only sunsets and shining moon, then it is time to go through this article thoroughly.

Various landmarks, including the national parks in the US, are a hub for capturing the breathtaking natural beauty of the mountains, the thick forests, and iconic landscapes. This article enlists some of the most popular US national parks that will leave you spellbound with the scenes they have to offer. From the majestic sunsets behind the tall trees or mountains to the crystal-clear view of the horizon where lush green fields meet the mighty sky, these national parks are a heaven for nature photographers.

So, let us dive in without further ado.


1. Yellowstone National Park

Beautiful Meadow in Yellowstone National Park

Founded in 1872, this national park is one of the oldest ones in the country. It is so huge and gigantic that it spans over Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. What it has to offer to the photographers and visitors is about 3,500 square feet-mile of mesmerizing wilderness that encompasses lush landscapes.

The most amazing aspect of Yellowstone National Park is the underground supervolcano that attracts thousands of visitors. It is also regarded as amongst the popular natural wonders. Also, the natural beauty of the Grand Prismatic Spring in this park would leave you stunned when you view it with the naked eye – the photography and the lens make it look more stunning and lifelike.

This spring is about 370 feet wide and is considered the world’s third-largest hot spring. The microbial mats under the spring make the water appear orange and red during summer and dark green in winter. It is indeed a sight to capture through the lens!


2. Yosemite National Park, California

The view of Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park

One of the most visited sights of this national park is the huge corridor that is lined with naked mountainous peaks and shiny domes that make sunsets and sunrises breathtakingly beautiful. Moreover, this main landscape of the Yosemite National Park is carved with glaciers all around it. It is impossible to visit this national park and not fall in love with the place.

If you are an enthusiast for capturing ASMR videos and audios, the tract of Sierra Nevada range in this national park is filled with waterfalls. There is an unlimited potential of taking your best shots as the waterfalls slowly descend into the valley with mesmerizing beauty all around. This park also has groves of tall sequoias, flowering trees, meadows of wildflower, and flaming autumn foliage depending upon the season during your visit.

Pro tip: visit this park during rain or snow season and capture the spectacular mariposa grove with clouds over it.


3. Zion National Park, Utah

Temples and Towers of the Virgin at Zion National Park

Located in the southwest of Utah, this national park is deep in the semiarid plateau of the country. It welcomes the visitors with the wilderness that offers a spectrum of various bright colors and sculpted rocks arranged in a way that would leave you awestruck.

When the sun is not blazing hot, this national park is blessed with warm glowing sunlight that makes it best for photographers to capture the essence of the beauty of this land. Zion Canyon is one of the main attractions for photographers and is lined with walls that turn sunlight falling onto them into a beautiful rainbow.

The Zion Canyon also has about 3,000 feet of the valley filled with juniper, maples, oak, cottonwood, willow, and wildflowers. One shot that you would never want to miss out on is capturing the Watchman during sunset hours from the Virgin River Bridge.


4. Death Valley National Park

Sand dunes in Death Valley National Park

This national park offers a broad range of natural beauty. It is filled with contrasting scenery comprising of mudstone hills, dunes, canyons that twist in the most mesmerizing way, mountainous peaks with snow caps, oases filled with freshwater, etc. The best time to visit for capturing a brilliant reflection of the natural beauty of this park is spring. The blooming desert flowers during spring provide an excellent layout for a photo.

The must shot in this national park is the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes if you go at sunset or sunrise.

Pro tip: The Death Valley National Park is located in a hot place, so it is better to visit there during November and March when the days are a little bit cooler.


5. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Panorama of the Grand Canyon from the South Rim

If you ask a hiker or any nature-lover for that matter, the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is either on their wish list, or they have already checked it off of it. Grand Canyon comprises of one of the most stunning crafts of nature’s talent, spanning over 277 miles. The plunges these mountainous zig-zag ranges take while twirling in the most breathtaking manner is mostly dizzying.

One of the greatest attractions of this park is the unmatched scenery it has to offer – the rich deep receding landforms offering various perspectives of viewing this natural wonder with nothing but awe is spell bounding. The sunlight reflecting these varying colors of the mountainous peaks can make anyone fall in love with this sight.

And yes, don’t forget to take the pictures of the remote Toroweap Overlook when you reach Grand Canyon National Park.


6. Rocky Mountain National Park

The alpine tundra of Rocky Mountain National Park taken along the Tundra Communities Trail

Stretching on about 11 miles of land with the iconic Rocky Mountains, this national park is located in Colorado. The wilderness of this park is unmatched. It comprises of a paved road that takes you through the beautiful alpine habitat at about 11,000 feet above the sea level. It is an amazing sight to see and capture after a strenuous hike up the hill.

For driving, this park also offers potential for various animal shoots. You can find a grazing elk, a marmot, or even an avalanche lily to capture. It is such a sight to view nature’s creations in its most natural habitat. The less elevated parts of the park have various lakes filled with spring water that reflect the surreal surrounding.

Autumn is one of the best seasons to visit this park as the elk can be found out grazing and can provide a picturesque view that any nature photographer yearns for.

Pro tip: for a close-up shot of the marmots, look for them in the boulder fields at timberline.


7. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

photo taken at the Cliff Tops on Mount Le Conte, in the Great Smoky Mountains

Sitting between the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, this national park is famous for its pristine forests inhabiting a varied variety of species that is nowhere else to be found. It is surrounded by misty ridges and skyrocketing mountains that have various plantations comprising of about 1,500 different species of flowers. These mountainous ranges also have about 60 different species of mammals and 200 species of birds.

The wildlife and the waterfalls make an amazing combo for the nature lovers to capture iconic shots, reflecting the beauty of the forest. The must capture location in this national park is a picture of the cascading pathways leading to the Little River blurred with raindrops.

The light rainy season is the best to visit this park and get awesome shots.

Pro tip: try avoiding the peak times so that the majority of your time is not wasted in navigating through thick traffic.

Final Words

Nature calms us in the most unfathomable ways. All the national parks mentioned above are the most popular ones for photography and mesmerizing views. Thanks to nature photographers, if this weren’t for them, we would not be able to witness these parks’ natural beauty and enjoy this virtual trip.