Photos are often the best souvenirs of your travels — and the least expensive too. They help you remember your travel experiences. Taking photos can also be why you travel. Traveling to see stunning scenery and take eye-catching photos is very satisfying. But even if your travel is primarily to visit family, you can still take the time to scout out beautiful locations to photograph. Or maybe you just want a great location for a family photo! That’s why I’m sharing the best places to take photos in Utah County. Much of my family live there, and we visit often. And not surprisingly, Utah County has some incredible places to photograph, too.
1. Utah Lake
Utah Lake is Utah’s largest freshwater lake. It is not the most beautiful lake I have ever seen. However, you can take some amazing sunset photos of the lake with the Lake Mountains range to the west. One of the best spots for taking Utah Lake photos is Vineyard Beach. You may also see sailboats, paddle boards and birds here to add variety to your lake photos.
2. Provo River Parkway Trail
This trail actually winds from the shore of Utah Lake all the way to Vivian Park in Provo Canyon. Not all of it is scenic. But the stretch from Lakeshore Bridge Trailhead (where there is a convenient parking lot) to the lakeshore is a paved pathway that mostly parallels the Provo River. Walking or cycling on the path takes you through a picturesque tunnel of trees. See if you can spot the rope swing near the river. In the fall, it is especially pretty with autumn colors.
3. Alpine’s Lambert Park
Lambert Park is probably best known for its red poppy bloom in spring. For that reason, it is sometimes closed to control the crowds that come to take photos with the poppies. Too many people = too many poppies trampled, unfortunately. Good news, though. Lambert Park is incredibly beautiful year-round! The wild park is nestled at the foot of an arena of mountains and is at a high enough elevation to give stunning views of the valley. There are ruins to explore, yellow roses blooming in the summer, and scenic trails to hike. No matter which way you turn, there’s a view worth photographing.
4. Lehi Roller Mills
The Lehi Mills are a historic and iconic fixture in Lehi. They were founded in 1906 and listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The mills also featured prominently in the 1984 movie, Footloose. With its fresh coat of red and white paint, it pops against the blue sky and mountain backdrop. I don’t know how anyone can resist taking a photo! (Or buying their blueberry muffin mixes!)
5. Flight Park at Point of the Mountain
Not too many people know how easy it is to drive up to the Flight Park at Point of the Mountain to take some amazing photography. But now you’ll know! Besides some great views of Utah Lake and the entire Utah Valley spread before you, there’s also the hang gliders and paragliders to watch.
If you do go, keep in mind that it can be quite cold and windy, depending on the time of year. I last visited in November, and I couldn’t keep my hands warm enough. But it was so entertaining to watch the paragliders struggle against the wind until they were free of the slope and lifting off the ground. This park is actually known as one of the best training sites for hang gliding/paragliding in the world.
Utah is probably well-known for its many temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In Utah County, there are currently four operating temples and three more under construction. These temples are examples of inspiring architecture and landscaping. They are gorgeous backdrops for family and wedding photos. And the public is always welcome to stroll the grounds. No drones are allowed, however.
There’s another temple in Utah County, perhaps lesser known. It is the Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork. It, too, has beautifully landscaped grounds and architecture, worthy of a photo or two!
7. Alpine Loop Scenic Byway
You could spend months traveling the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway and not run out of things to photograph, even though it is only about 20 miles. Here you will find Bridal Veil Falls, Provo River, Sundance Resort, Mt. Timpanogas and the Timpanogas caves, Stewart Falls, and Cascade Springs, plus plenty of deer and other wildlife. In the fall, the colors are just stunning! Please keep in mind there is a $6.00 day use fee for parking anywhere along the scenic byway.
8. Thanksgiving Point’s Ashton Gardens
At Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, there is a garden that is just spectacular for photo-taking. In fact, Ashton Gardens might just be the best place for taking photos in Utah County. There is an entrance fee (currently $24 for adults, $19 for youth, and $17 for children). With a full-size waterfall, themed gardens like the Italian Garden and Rose Garden, the Light of Christ garden, a Koi pond, and so much more, you can easily spend an entire day here. The gardens are so stunning, you might forget to take photos!
9. Street Murals
These days, nearly every town, large or small, has added street murals to their list of attractions. These are great for selfie photos! Plus, it seems like it’s a constantly changing gallery, since cities continue to commission new works or allow local residents to decorate utility boxes, gates, and more. I’ve found the most art in Provo and Lehi, but there’s certainly more everywhere in the county. So…while you’re driving around Utah County, keep an eye out for more artistic gems!
10. Backroads for exploring
I have to leave something for you to explore on your own. The nice thing about Utah County is that there are still so many backroads worth checking out. Choose a road and follow it wherever it leads — up a mountain, down a country lane, towards a lake or park, along a canal. I guarantee you’ll find cool things to photograph. On excursions like these, I have found Highland cows, 150-yr old pioneer homes, old barns, overgrown trellises, old brick buildings, and amazing vegetable gardens lined with sunflowers. You might enjoy photographing pathways along railroad tracks or footbridges, stacks of ice along the lakeshore, new modern homes or themed parks. One of my favorite backroads is the road to the American Fork harbor. Just know that the list of amazing things to photograph in Utah County will probably never end.
Tips for taking photos in Utah County
- Use the Rule of Thirds when framing your photos. This places your subject in the left or right third of an image, leaving the other two thirds more open. This typically creates well-composed shots.
- Look for at least three elements in your photo: your primary focus in the foreground, a layer behind that, and a background. For example, focus on the silhouette of a paddle boarder on the lake with the shoreline as a middle layer and mountains as a backdrop.
- The best time to take photos is typically early morning or later in the evening just before sunset. Those are the golden hours when there’s more wamth to the light and more color in the sky. If you take photos during full sun, sometimes the subject is washed out with too much light.
- Avoid taking photos when deep shadows fall on the focus of your image.
- If using a drone, be sure to check for regulations restricting its use.
- Be creative when posing family photos. You don’t all have to be standing in a row!
For more photography tips, see Tips for Terrific Travel Photography.
I’d love to hear how your photography adventures turn out…or if you have any favorite places to take photos in Utah County that I’ve missed. Be sure to leave a comment below!
Utah has some beautiful places to photograph, indeed. Great tips for taking photos anywhere!
Thanks, Heather! I learned from the best!
Love the Alpine Loop! And guess what, that dolphin mural isn’t there in Provo any more! Painted over by a newer mural now.
Thanks for the heads up! Just like I said — the art scene is constantly changing.
We spent a lot of time exploring the state of Utah on our last visit. But we missed many of these great spots to visit and photograph in Utah County. The outdoor sights really would draw us in. And always fun to watch paraglider enjoy the updrafts by the mountains. The temples sure do have beautiful architecture. We have friends outside Salt Lake City so your post has added some spots for them to take us to on our return visit.
For us there’s always a reason to go back!
Drone footage in Fall on the Alpine Loop was amazing!
It sure was!
I love taking pictures of architecture (not moving, so it is easier, I guess). So I would spend some time taking pics of the temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Lehi Roller Mills. In my opinion photos can be a great memory, but with all this photoshopping they can also cloud your memory or even prevent you from making memories, because you are preoccupied by finding the right photo spot.
You make a good point, Natasha. Taking photos should never get in the way of having wonderful travel experiences.
I like taking photos of nature and Utah looks like a perfect destination for nature lovers. I would like to go to Alpine’s Lambert Park in spring and take photos of the red poppies. I can imagine how beautiful they contract with the landscape behind them. The Alpine Loop Scenic Byway seems to have plenty of scenic points along the route as well. I am always interested in photographing waterfalls and woods, so I’d like to visit this place as well.
I’ve been to Utah a couple of times and always found it so photogenic so it’s great to read your recommendations on the best places to take photos. As well as the beautiful natural landscapes, I had no idea that there were such impressive temples in Utah, and I love the street murals in Provo.
I do concur, yes. Without taking several photos, a trip is incomplete. I never realized Utah County had so many beautiful attractions—this is really a great list. The street murals are stunning. Photos of beach sunsets never go out of style! I also enjoy taking pictures of the natural world. Your photographs are all gorgeous!
Wow! These are indeed beautiful photo spots. So far, the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway is my favorite. It looks really magical as if it’s from a postcard or painting. I would love to visit and see this place during fall too.
Utah Lake is indeed picturesque. Esp. sunrise or sunset photos there would be beautiful. As someone who loves poppy fields (connects my mind to remembrance day), Lambert Park would be my top choice. Flight park look awesome and I’d actually love to do paragliding here! I agree when you say ;You could spend months traveling the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway’. It’s gorgeous!