Rating Popular Utah Locations | Albion Basin | Whitney Beth Photography

Rating Popular Utah Locations | Albion Basin | Whitney Beth Photography

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Let’s play a game where I rate popular Utah locations based purely and objectively on my own opinion. Let’s dive in.

Up first in this series is ALBION BASIN.

If you’re not familiar with Albion Basin, it’s a quaint meadow/hillside at the top of Alta (up Little Cottonwood Canyon) That springs alive when the snow melts and the flowers bloom. Think scenes from the sound of music, with gigantic and massive mountains as a surreal backdrop. During peak bloom, the ground is littered with flowers as far as you can see. This picturesque scene is nestled into a cozy corner full of evergreen pine trees.

Naturally this is a very popular place.

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LOCATION:
– If you don’t have to stop or slow down, you can easily make it from the mouth of the canyon to flower hill at Albion Basin in 30 minutes. The mouth of the canyon is covenantally located just off of 9400 S which is basically a straight shot from the freeway.
– The road up to Albion, past the toll booth is pretty bumpy, but it is significantly better than years past.
– There is a $10 parking pass to go up there, and they only let enough cars up that they have parking spots for.
– If you don’t make it early enough to the toll booth you have to wait in line in your car until someone comes down. This is hard to control when it comes to sessions and meeting your clients.
– logistically speaking, there’s no where else like it in Utah. There are similar places, but you either have to compromise driving/hiking distance, views, or the hillside.

LOCATION SCORE: 9/10
For how close it is to Salt Lake City and the surrounding suburbs, the ease at getting up the canyon makes it a dream. Especially the reward at the end of the long, gravel road. But the parking situation docks it a point. Believe it or not, it is actually way better controlled than from when I first started shooting there – plus they’ve added more spaces! However, it is still very stressful trying to make sure both client and photographer both made it up.

PEOPLE & POPULARITY:
– Albion Basin during peak bloom at sunset is the worst. Sure it is beautiful, but there are people in nearly every shot that will need to be photoshopped out.
– However, morning sessions totally redeem the feeling of going to Disneyland over UEA. Most, if not all of my sessions are taken just after sunrise and we usually have the place to ourselves, minus a few groups of photographers and hikers here and there. MUCH more doable.
– Once upon a time when there was only 60 parking lot stalls people could and would just follow game trails along the hillside. Since people are people (and we can’t have nice things) the trails were totally regarded and new trails were blazed. flowers were trampled and after years of abuse stopped growing back.
– There was a time when photographers lost free access to it and it was such a sad time. Thanks to the plans to rehab the space the flowers were fuller this year than I’ve seen in a long while.
– Trails were put in place with specific mats laid out to stand on so you could get “the shot” of making it seem like you were in the thick of a patch, when in reality all the flowers were safe and secure.
– Even with the trails and signs and mats, I still saw people walking off trail and doing their own thing – which if caught resulted in $150 fine.


PEOPLE & POPULARITY SCORE: 7/10
Morning sessions are seriously carrying the weight here. Otherwise it’d be a lot lower. (Whoops, did I say that out loud?) I know photographers who avoid Albion like the plague, and it is all thanks to this category right here.

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WHITNEY VIBE:
(arguably the most subjective and least official category on here – does it vibe with my brand)
– Green pine trees
– Mountain Views
– Wildflowers
– Close commute from my house
– lots of space to explore and not shoot in the same spots over and over.

WHITNEY VIBE SCORE: 10/10
It checks all the boxes. This is probably the most quintessential “Whitney location” in Utah. It has everything I love about it. 10/10 bravo, well done.

FINAL SCORE: 8.6/10
Decent, a little disappointing for how grand and spectacular it is, but not bad for our first go at this.

Have a location you want me to rate next? leave it below in the comments

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