Javin Elliff Photography

May 15, 2024

Road Trip - Utah

This is part one of my road trip posts. I left Idaho on May 7, and spent 9 days traveling through Utah, before continuing to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, then through Nevada and back up the eastern side of California.

Antelope Island

Looking south from the high point of Antelope Island.

Antelope Island was a late addition to my road trip plan, and I debated on skipping it until the last minute. I thought it might be crowded due to its close proximity to Salt Lake City. However, since it was a weekday and a bit rainy, it wasn't busy at all, and I am quite glad that I got to experience this unique landscape! I hiked two trails and saw a lot of bison and a few antelope.

There are additional photos in the Bison gallery.

A view of the Wasatch Range from Antelope Island
Sunset on the snow-capped Farnsworth Peak and the Oquirrh Mountains from Antelope Island.
Rain clouds and their shadows on the Great Salt Lake
A herd of bison grazes in the evening light on a sunny day.
A herd of bison on the move at the end of the day.
Lone Bull

Wild Horses

In search of wild horses roaming free on public land, I headed south from Salt Lake City and left the highway and paved roads in the dust. I did not have an exact route mapped out, nor did I expect to travel more than 180 consecutive miles on dirt roads. The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for the management of wild horses, and has several designated areas for distinct herds. I visited two of these areas in two days, and saw a handful of horses in each.

The first group that I spent considerable time photographing was a stallion, mare and foal. The second group, which I spent the most time with, was two mares and a stallion. This group blessed me by walking up a ridge and spending several minutes sky-lined against distant cumulus clouds.

There are additional photos in the Wild Horses gallery.

A wild mare and foal crossing grasslands with snowy peaks in the background.
A tender moment between a mare and her foal.
Two wild horses graze on grasses face to face.
A wild horse stands on a ridge with dramatic clouds in the background.
Two wild horses on the skyline with dramatic clouds in the background.
A wild stallion with fresh bite marks on his neck inflicted by another horse.
A buckskin mare stands illuminated by evening light against a dark cloudy sky.
The sun peeks through the clouds just before disappearing behind a ridge at sunset.

Endless Scenery

For the next several days, I traveled across Utah, enjoying the amazing scenery around every corner. I traveled through canyons that were carved eons ago, saw ancient pictographs made by Native Americans, and went on my first hike through a slot canyon.

Sunset lights up a few wispy clouds above Wild Horse Butte in Goblin Valley State Park.

Amazing canyons in Utah carved over millions of years.
The silhouette of a dead juniper after sunset.
Clouds above distant snowy ridges, illuminated by warm light at sunset.
Light from sunrise strikes the distant rim of a canyon.
Early morning light illuminates one side of the canyon walls.
A panel of ancient Native American pictographs on a canyon wall in Utah.
Ancient pictographs made by Native Americans on a canyon wall in Utah.
Bright green cottonwoods contrast again the red hues of the canyon walls.
A steep canyon filled with juniper trees.
Sunight breaks through the clouds to light up one canyon wall.
A wild burro grazes with interesting rock formations in the background.
Portrait of a burro (wild donkey).
A narrow path through a slot canyon.
Slot Canyon
Slot Canyon
Last light at Goblin Valley.
Crazy rock formations at Goblin Valley.
Pink clouds above the strange rock formations of Goblin Valley.
A view of Fruita from an overlook along the Capitol Reef.
Capitol Reef


Zion was the first destination where I had an actual reservation. Two months prior, while planning the trip, I entered the lottery for a chance to hike to the Subway. This is a popular destination for photographers and hikers, and the park service limits the number of visitors using a lottery system. I was quite surprised when I drew a permit!

The classic view of the Subway in Zion National Park.

Zion Sunrise
The first corner of the Subway in Zion National Park.
The bottom stretch of the Subway.
A portrait view of the Subway.
The lower entrance to the Subway, with sheer cliffs overhead.
A wide-angle view of the lower entrance to the Subway.
A waterfall in Zion National Park.
Water streams over multiple ledges of a small creek in Zion National Park.
Trees cling to steep rock formations at Zion National Park.
Sunset hits the cliffs of Zion National Park.