Top 5 outdoor photo spots within 2 hours of SLC

Utah has always been known for picturesque red rocks in Southern Utah—Zion, Canyonlands and Arches national parks have always offered classic photo ops for travelers and locals alike.  But Utah has much to offer close to Salt Lake City.

This week we wanted to look at some of the best Instagram-worthy photos taken within a two-hour drive from the heart of Salt Lake City.

Willow Lake

Drive time: 37 min

Willow Lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon is a recreational area full of day activities.  While Willow Lake’s trail head is a half hour drive from SLC, you’ll have to hike two miles to get to the lake.  Wildlife is abundant, with frequent sightings of deer and moose.

Ensign Peak

Drive time: 11 min

The closest place on our list, Ensign Peak, is just above Utah’s Capitol.  At about a mile roundtrip, it is a short, but sometimes steep, hike to see panoramic views of the valley.  Go at night (headlamps!) to get some amazing cityscape photos and to avoid the heat.

Butterfly Lake

Drive time: 1 hr 33 min

Located in the Uinta Mountains, 35 miles beyond Kamas on Mirror Lake Highway, Butterfly Lake is a great place to escape the heat and hike, canoe, swim and, of course, make some Instagram posts.

Bonneville Salt Flats

Drive time: 1 hr 32 min

The Bonneville Salt Flats are one of Utah’s unique natural features. In the summer, it is miles and miles of packed salt, but if you visit in the spring or fall, the flats are covered with a skim bit of water, allowing some of the clearest reflections of surrounding mountain ranges.

Emigration Canyon

Drive time: 26 min

Emigration Canyon above Hogle Zoo plays host to many hiking and photo opportunities and it is a quick getaway from summer heat.  The Ridgeline Trail is about eight miles up the canyon and provides great photo spots. If you are looking for a slightly shorter hike, Lookout Peak is an option that offers a view of Emigration Canyon.

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