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How to photograph Turret Arch through the North Window at sunrise

Turret Arch through the North Window Arch of arches national park at sunrise


A bucket list photo for many people is photographing Turret Arch at sunrise through the North Window arch in Arches National Park in Utah. This guide will give you everything you need to know to do it.


Getting there

Drive 9.2 miles into Arches National Park, take the first right after Balanced Rock into the Windows section of the park. You will follow this road 2.7 miles to its end at a circle for the Windows Section Trails. The road dead-ends here and forms a loop, there is a parking lot on the north side of the loop for access to Double Arch and one on the south side for access to the Windows. There is a trail connecting the two parking areas
Windows trail map

0.25 miles one way

  • Park at the South parking lot and head south out of the lot onto the Windows Loop Trail
  • Follow the signs to the North Window Arch, or just stay left on the trail at the first junction. 
  • The trail takes you up some rock stairs into the North Window Arch opening.
  • Once in the arch opening, look through to see the rock formation directly across from you, that is where you want to go to set up for your shot

Rock ledge position behind the arch

  • Look for a safe way down the back side of the arch, down into the shallow gully and then back up the other side, make your way out to the ledge
  • Once on this ledge you can move around and frame your shot. 

The shooting location behind Windows

There is a little pinnacle you will see at the very left or end of this ledge that some photographers will want to occupy as the ideal spot, however, there is plenty of room along the ledge, especially to the right of this pinnacle and if you look you will also see some area down below the left side of the pinnacle. 


This little pinnacle only has room for one tripod, but this still leaves room for others if they are handholding the shot.


Don’t ignore the scene behind the Windows to your left, it’s really a beautiful area and 99% of the other people there to photograph Turret Arch will not even see this scene as they are so focused on the arch. 


I personally think this area behind the arch is more beautiful than the shot of Turret Arch through the North Window. For some reason, very few people are aware of it.

Behind the windowsThe scene to your left of the arch is stunning

Sunrise behind the Windows

As the sun breaks the horizon you will start to see the top of Turret Arch light. It will take a little while for the sun to rise high enough to light up all of Turret Arch and the backside of the North Window.
After you have gotten your shot, I recommend you explore the area. Around Windows and Turret arch you can find lots of interesting subjects to photograph. Framing the Windows from over inside Turret’s Arch is a good image to explore making also.
This guide will help you familiarize yourself with the entire Windows Section of Arches National Park.
Head over to the North Parking lot and walk over to Double Arch. This area is rich with beautiful and interesting subject matter.
The area to the left of Double Arch has lots of sand, ancient Pinyon Pines, and rock formations to explore. Behind Double Arch is an area called Cove of Caves also, but sunlight won’t be in that area until much later in the day.
Area around Double Arch
Explore the area to the left of Double Arch

Photo Notes

  • You really don’t need a tripod unless you feel the need, the shot is at sunrise so there is plenty of light
  • Your shot success depends on the sunrise, keep an eye on the horizon in the direction of the sunrise —  if there are clouds on the horizon you might only have a small window of opportunity. You want that full sunlight lighting the front of the arch in front of you and Turret Arch in the background.





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