Pink and Yellow Maples, East Side

Zion National Park, Utah, 2013 View Full Zion: Fall Portfolio »

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About the Zion: Fall Portfolio

Without context, a number of the images in this portfolio are often mistaken for fall color images photographed in Colorado or even the Northeast. Yet, Zion, in concentrated pockets, can exhibit extraordinary displays of fall color. To draw on the cliche, it's all about location, location, location. Sheltered alcoves and benches near water with significant shade offer the best environment for Maples, Oaks, Aspen, and Cottonwoods to thrive.

Photographically, Zion enjoys a long Fall season given the significant difference in elevation throughout the park. High country can start to see color in September while the larger cottonwoods along the Virgin River in Zion Canyon may not turn fully yellow until near Thanksgiving.

Sadly, climate change and the extreme drought conditions in the Desert Southwest over the last few years have significantly weakened trees and their ability to display rich fall coloring. I can personally attest to the stress and challenge of the drought having surveyed favorites locations now for several years running. To me, these trees are like old friends locked in a struggle for life. I hope they see better days ahead.

Pink and Yellow Maples, Zion National Park

Pink and Yellow Maples, East Side

Zion National Park, Utah, 2013

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