10 Favorite Northwestern U.S. Photo Locations

The northwestern United States and Alaska provide some of the most dramatic scenes in the country. With numerous national parks, preserves and forests, the landscape and wildlife photo opportunities are endless. Here are 10 favorite northwestern U.S. photo locations.

1. Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska


One of Alaska’s eight national parks and the smallest, Kenai Fjords National Park is located along the western edge of the Gulf of Alaska and 13 miles northwest of Seward in the south-central region of the states. It was designated in 1980 to preserve the Harding Icefield and its nearly 40 glaciers flowing out of the mountains. Dozens of sea mammals, land mammals and seabirds call this park home. Read more …

2. Mount McKinley, Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska

Another one of Alaska’s popular national parks is Denali. Towering over 20,000 feet, the park’s Mt. McKinley can technically be seen from all over the state, although it’s said that visitors to the park only have a 30% chance of seeing the mountain due to weather conditions. Getting good photos of McKinley can be a challenge, but there are some recommended vantage points to try. Read more …

3. Enchantment Lakes, Leavenworth, Washington

A climb of no less than 4,400 feet up either of the two main trailheads is required to get to just the first of the countless lakes near the top of the upper Cascade Range of Washington State. The Enchantment lakes are even farther up at an elevation of 7,000 to 7,800 feet. But the views of the stunning granite spires, pristine lakes strung together by creeks, never-ending larch trees and curious mountain goats make it a trip that’s well worth it. Read more …

4. Sol Duc Springs, Olympic National Park, Washington

Sol Duc Valley is a lush, green valley that’s located 40 minutes west of Port Angeles inside Olympic National Park in Washington. The Sol Duc River is fed by numerous mountain streams that run through this area. Easily accessible from the parking lot that can be found off Sol Duc Road is a one-mile trail that winds through an enchanted forest to popular Sol Duc Falls. Read more …

5. Painted Hills, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon

Seventy-five miles east of Bend and nine miles northwest of Mitchell, Oregon, is the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. This is where the Painted Hills can be found, which provide a multiplicity of color related to different geological eras. Read more …


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6. Stanley Lake, Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho


Just outside of the charming little town of Stanley, Idaho, nestled in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, is where visitors will find Stanley Lake and the spectacular jagged snowcapped peaks and pristine forests of the Sawtooth Mountain Range. There’s a campground on a hillside above the lake that offers fantastic views of 9,860-foot McGown Peak and all of Stanley Lake. Read more …

7. Swiftcurrent Falls, Glacier National Park, Montana


Located in northwestern Montana along the spine of the Rocky Mountains and the Canadian border, Glacier National Park is a wildlife and landscape shooter’s Disneyland, with thrills and wows around every corner. Read more …

8. Koessler Lake, Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, Montana


The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex consists of three national wilderness areas covering over 1.5 million acres of roadless, remote backcountry and numerous trails in northwestern Montana. Koessler Lake is a 15-mile hike from the trailhead at Holland Lake and is nestled in a stunning glacier-carved cirque at the foot of Ptarmigan Mountain. Read more …

9. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming


Comprised of 2.2 million acres of pristine wilderness in northwestern Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park is known for its spectacular scenery and incredible thermal features. It’s home to 300 geysers and hot springs and a wealth of wildlife including 60 mammal species and 300 species of birds. This park is a nature photographer’s paradise. Read more …

10. Schwabacher’s Landing, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming


North of the Jackson, Wyoming and only 10 miles from Yellowstone is Grand Teton National Park. It’s a wildlife-diverse area with breathtaking mountain views, plus a beautiful river, ponds and grassland. One of the most popular landscape photography spots in the park is Schwabacher’s Landing, which is located on the Snake River. Read more …


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