La Sal Mountains from Arches NP
My previous trips to Utah consisted of a conference in SLC and wandering across the border when I photographed Monument Valley, which is partially located in the Beehive State. This trip was devoted to the Moab area, which is surrounded by Canyonlands and Arches National Parks and close to other attractions, including Natural Bridges National Monument, Hovenweep, and the famous House on Fire Ruins near Blanding.
Moab is almost 250 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, and there's little to see or photograph en route, so I made a beeline for my hotel, arriving there after dark (it was December.) I spent a total of five nights there, punctuated by two nights in Blanding, which has none of Moab's charm, dining or lodging options. (A good starting point is Discover Moab.) Laurence Martres’ book Photographing the Southwest, Southern Utah, Vol. 1, Third Edition, is a must have.
As usual, I chose December to avoid the crowds and I was successful. It being the off-season, many businesses had shut down. My hotel was practically empty and restaurants were serving locals only; no waiting.
Canyonlands NP and Dead Horse Point SP are about 45 minutes from downtown; Arches NP is only 10 minutes away and, in my opinion, somewhat more photogenic than Canyonlands with the exception of the famous Mesa Arch. The weather was chilly but not frigid and other than snow in Canyonlands that melted by noon, the weather was pleasant. I actually hoped for more snow for artistic purposes, but a dusting here and there was all I got.
Good food, good lodging, very nice people (it is Utah, after all), and beautiful surroundings. Two visits was not enough.