11 Stunning Engagement Photo Locations in Utah

July 8, 2019

With so many places to choose from, how do you pick the perfect spot for your engagement photos or elopement? There’s mountains, forests, deserts, lakes, and open space, all of which can change and have a different look depending on the season. With so many looks to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming to pick the perfect location for your engagement session or elopement, but that’s what I’m here for!

With this blog post, you can check out some amazing, photogenic locations from Salt Lake City to Nephi from the comfort of your own couch and decide what’s the best fit for you. Want a little bit of a hiking adventure? Prefer somewhere that’s more easily accessible in a dress? Somewhere gorgeous in snow? It’s all here.

Some of these Utah engagement photo locations are in state parks, national parks, and public lands. Always research appropriate permits/access before scheduling a shoot or elopement, and practice “Leave No Trace” principles so you can leave these locations better than how you found them!

1) Little Sahara Sand Dunes

Little Sahara Recreation Area features 60,000 acres of open desert landscape, and is located in Juab County, Utah (about an hour south of Provo). It’s popularly known for its rolling sand dunes, speckled here and there with trees and brush, and is a popular spot for camping and motorbiking. The scenery here doesn’t change too drastically with the seasons, so it’s a great year-round option!

Some of the most scenic spots are right off the road, but I would recommend ditching the heels and wearing boots or sneakers as even a short distance in the sand can be a little tough to trudge through. Going barefoot is also a great option, just watch out for little sticks and things that can be hiding under the sand’s surface! Little Sahara is also a good distance from any gas stations, cell service, or food options, so plan accordingly!

To see more photos from this location, check out José and Alexandra’s bridal session!

2) American Fork Canyon

American Fork Canyon is one of my favorite places to photograph in the summer, fall, and spring! There are so many great spots for engagement photos along the Alpine Loop, including Tibble Fork Reservoir and Cascade Springs. The canyon has a great mix of evergreen and deciduous trees, so it’s beautiful almost year-round. Foliage typically starts filling back in on the trees in May and June, and some of the prettiest fall leaf colors can be seen in early October!

There is an entrance fee of $6 for American Fork Canyon, and no cell service further up the canyon (including at Tibble Fork Reservoir), so plan accordingly. The reservoir is also a very popular spot for couples and family photography, so if you’d like a little more of a private feel, I’d suggest scheduling your session for a weekday or heading to one of the many other spots nearby!

If you’d like to see more photos from American Fork Canyon, check out this engagement session and these bridal photos!

3) Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island is the largest of the islands in the Great Salt Lake, and is located on the southeastern part of the lake near Salt Lake County and Davis County. The drive is about an hour and a half northwest from Downtown Salt Lake City, and features some amazing scenery if you’re looking for an uninhabited, open backdrop for your session. Sunsets here are beautiful, and it’s possible to find some great spots without a lot of hiking. It’s also perfect for late fall, winter, and early spring sessions, as there are little to no trees to change the look of the landscape as the seasons change.

More photos from this gorgeous location can be found here!

4) Big Cottonwood Canyon

If you’re looking for the best spot for a winter wonderland, Big Cottonwood Canyon is the place! Areas like Jordan Pines Campground are full of towering evergreen trees, giving it a Christmas feel that lasts from December to March. If you want to shoot in snow, I’d suggest scheduling your session between late December and early February, as the warmer temperatures in early spring can lead to some squelchy walking conditions as the snow starts to melt!

If summer is more your season of choice, another great place for engagement photos in Big Cottonwood Canyon is Lake Mary! Most easily accessed from July to September, the trail for the lake starts at Brighton Ski Resort and is about 2.6 miles out and back. The trail heads up a fairly steep incline, so it’s not for the faint of heart (or those with bad knees), but the views are amazing. Some parts of the trail can be quite wet and slippery, so make sure to bring shoes with grip, and mosquito repellent for the lake! If you’re not up for a big hiking challenge, there are also plenty of great spots along the beginning of the trail that are more easily accessible.

Check out this engagement session for more shots of this beautiful spot!

If you find you’re in need of a tasty bite before or after your session, head to MAKANMAKAN in Sandy for some savory Indonesian and Malaysian flavors, or check out Pig & A Jelly Jar in Salt Lake City for some mouthwatering chicken and waffles.

5) Utah Lake

Utah Lake is the state’s biggest freshwater lake, and covers approximately 148 square miles. There are numerous access points to the lake, but my favorites are on the south end near Spanish Fork. Lincoln Beach is one of these great entry points, with ample parking and restrooms. You can also head a little further down the road for even more secluded, untouched spots.

With calm, level banks, Utah Lake is my go-to spot when I want to pretend I’m shooting at the beach but can’t make it to California. Summer and late spring are the best times to go to avoid muddy conditions from the snowmelt, but be ready to deal with a few mayflies!

6) Tunnel Springs Park

Another great place for a wide-open-and-free feel is Tunnel Springs Park. Located in Bountiful, this park is nestled next to a suburban neighborhood and features a wide expanse of rolling, grassy hills. Most of the year, the grass is a warm, golden color, but come spring it turns a lovely emerald green. Parking is available near the playground and then you can walk back towards the hills on a smooth, paved road.

Similar to Tibble Fork Reservoir, Tunnel Springs Park is very easy to get to and one of Utah’s most popular photography spots, so schedule your session on a weekday to avoid crowds!

7) Deer Creek State Park

Located about halfway in between Provo and Heber City, Deer Creek State Park is another one of my favorite places for winter engagement sessions! When temperatures drop in January and February, the reservoir freezes over and creates a vast snowscape that’s sturdy enough to walk on. Make sure to bundle up, get cuddly, and wear shoes with good treads. The ice can be slippery, but the views of clouds hanging over the tops of the frosty mountains are a treat!

8) Provo Canyon

If you live in Utah County like me, a great place for photos is Provo Canyon. The canyon splits between Mount Timpanogos and Mount Cascade north to south, and extends from Orem to Heber City west to east. Some of my favorite places to go are Big Springs Park and Bridalveil Falls, as well as a couple secret spots up a country road. Provo Canyon also connects to American Fork Canyon via Alpine Loop, and is a great scenic drive spring through fall.

As the canyon sits at a lower elevation and features mostly deciduous trees, it’s most ideal for photos in the summer or early fall. Hikes and drives in Provo Canyon are mostly easy and gentle, so it’s perfect for a quick nature getaway.

After your session, grab a sweet treat at Mora Iced Creamery (their signature blackberry flavor is a MUST), The Wash, or Rockwell Ice Cream Co.

9) Diamond Fork Canyon

Diamond Fork Canyon is what I call my hidden gem (no pun intended)! About 18 miles east of Spanish Fork, this canyon breaks away from the European-reminiscent alpine forests of the Salt Lake County canyons and gives you a little more Wild West. Rarely crowded, Diamond Fork Canyon’s vistas include sunkissed meadows, hot springs, open fields dotted with sagebrush, and even some red rock formations that don’t require going all the way to St. George.

As with most scenic locations, cell service only goes so far here, so it’s a good idea for everyone to meet up in town in Spanish Fork before heading out. If you get a little rumbly in your tummy, stop by Barry’s Parkview Drive Inn to grab a yummy burger and shake (blackberry, banana, and Reese’s are a few of my favorites there).

10) Jordanelle State Park

Located above the Heber Valley in Wasatch County, Jordanelle State Park is another one of my favorites for a rugged, Western look. My favorite recreation area in the park is Rock Cliff, which is a little further up State Road 32 towards Francis and Kamas. On one side, you can see rocky outcroppings sprinkled with sagebrush, and in the other direction, streams from the Provo River lead to the mountain-framed Jordanelle Reservoir.

Snow levels and the look of the riverbed can change significantly throughout the year, so it’s always a good idea to scout your location a week or two prior to your session to gauge current conditions.

11) Payson Canyon/Nebo Loop

Payson Canyon is one of my favorite places to photograph in the summer and fall! Driving along the Nebo Loop, you can find such a variety of spots for photos, including Mt. Nebo Overlook and Payson Lakes. Depending on where you go, the canyon has a great mix of evergreen and deciduous trees, and is a great spot for fall colors in early October!

Hope this list of Best Engagement Photo Locations in Utah helps you plan your dream engagement photos or outdoor elopement! I’ll make sure to keep adding to this list as I continue to discover and photograph more and more of this beautiful state.

Getting excited for your engagement session in Utah? Check out my other blog posts for more photos from these locations, or connect with me via the link below to start planning your dream session!