Alstrom Point

Alstrom Point has, perhaps, the most beautiful view over Glen Canyon. It was one of my first stops when I visited the Southwest US in the spring of 2017. As it is difficult to travel to this spot, I joined up with 3 other photographers to hire a local guide to drive us out the rough trail (it is not a road). The trail requires a high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle and takes about 75 minutes to travel the 24 miles to the end. The ride out was exciting, involving several difficult passages best left to an experienced local driver. It also included numerous stops to take in the incredible panoramas. 

When the terrain became so difficult that the 4x4 could travel no farther, we hiked a short way to the Alstrom point overlook. Before us was Glen Canyon and one of the most amazing views any of us had ever seen. The contrast of the deep blues against the yellows, oranges & reds was striking. Combine that with the majestic Gunsight Butte that seems to rise right out of the fingers of Lake Powell and you have a landscape photographer’s dream.

We arrived about an hour before sunset. The sky was mostly clear and remained blue as the sun descended behind us. Fortunately, the golden light did create a boost of color as it reflected off of the rock formations. I snapped this just moments before the direct light disappeared casting Gunsight Butte and the entire valley into shadow.

When I returned home, I found that the timing was fortunate in one other way I had not seen in the moment. As it turns out, there was a cloud that cast a shadow on the formations behind Gunsight Butte. The dark shadow provides additional depth and separation from Navajo mountain (some 35 miles in the distance).  Not necessary, but convenient nonetheless. 

I always love a colorful sunset…but I think I prefer blue skies at Alstrom Point…as it provides balance to a scene already filled with warm tones.