You are here

Reader Participation Day: Which National Park Brings the Best Out In Your Camera?

Redrock and Snow, copyright Kurt Repanshek

Redrock and snow. There aren't too many parks where you can capture both in the same frame, but Arches National Park is one of them. Kurt Repanshek photo.

It's a given: national parks are great places to take photographs. And yet, there are some parks that seem to produce better photos from my camera than others.

Arches and Canyonlands national parks have both gorgeous structure and dazzling colors in their red-rock ramparts. Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Olympic National Park are lush and leafy, and if you look close enough in either you can find photogenic critters, such as the salamanders in Great Smoky or the banana slugs in Olympic.

Traveler's steadily growing flickr site is evidence that those behind the lens go in search of different perspectives and subjects. So, tell us, which national parks do you find the most photogenic, and why?


My husband Dave is the photographer in our family. For him, it has to be Yellowstone! The diversity of wildlife, geysers, pools and hot springs have given him so much joy to photograph! The difference between a cloudy or a sunny day influences the intensity of colors in the pools or illuminates the drops of water spraying heavenward from a geyser. This summer, we had the opportunity to meet Mr Tom Murphy, premiere Yellowstone photographer and of all of the places he's photographed he told us he always comes back to Yellowstone. Since going digital a few years ago my husband is enjoying his passion all that much more!

For myself, the snapshot tourist, I love Glacier NP and of course, BRYCE Canyon NP with all of its hoodoos. The Grand Canyon is breath-taking but it's expanse and grandeur is difficult to convey in mere photos.

DEVA or SEKI hands down

I'm definitely partial to Capitol Reef National Park, since I live right next to it! Like Arches, it too has the red rocks, blue skies, white snows in winter, and huge vistas that just go on and on and boggle the mind with their beauty. Plus, a decided lack of crowds allows me to snap pics of amazing features without having to angle just right to make sure no people are in it.

Yosemite was the NP of my childhood, so I'll always have a soft spot for pictures taken there. Gorgeous!

For me, it is Crater Lake, especially from water level or from Wizard Island. The clarity of the water, snow-fed waterfalls, underwater dropoffs are magnificent. I thought I would get some great shots from Mt. Scott, because it is the view on the state quarter, but was disappointed (in the photos, not the hike!).
I agree somewhat on Grand Canyon, but the further you can go below the rim, the better the pictures become. Our family and friends hike to Phantom Ranch is a lifetime highlight, but the best pictures were at least 2,000 feet below the rim.

I would point out that in my opinion the two most photogenic places under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service are Delicate Arch and Half Dome. Both present contrasting views depending on what angle the photo is taken from.

However - one of these days I'm going to get the perfect sunrise photo (i.e. the sun popping up through the clouds) at Haleakala. This one isn't mine:

For me - it has got to be Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From the sunrises over the mountains, streams and waterfalls in wonderful woods - and wildflowers - the Smokies have it all. I love heading into the less crowded areas when even at busy seasons, I can head out for a nice hike with wonderful photographic opportunities - and not be in a crowd. Only 39 more days until I'm back at GSMNP :-)

I'm amazed at how good photos I took at Big Bend turned out. I think a big factor in this is weather, specifically blue, sunny skies. Sure, the WA and AK parks are gorgeous, but you're much more likely to have a cloudy/rainy day there than say Big Bend.

Grand Teton National Park gets my vote. Every turn has another breath taking view. I have spent hundreds of rolls of film there and all the pictures are keepers. I love it there.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide