What is this magical fairy tale land?
Albion Basin is a one of the most gorgeous locations in Utah and probably the world! It’s located about an hour from downtown Salt Lake City up Little Cottonwood Canyon at Alta Ski Resort. In recent years, it’s become EXTREMELY crowded so park officials now require photographers to pay a fee in order to shrink the crowds and help protect the beautiful wildflowers that grow there.
Albion Basin is open for Summer from July-Sept (exact dates can vary from year to year). The wildflowers start blooming in late July and usually last through August! The best time to shoot is in the evening, between about 5-8:ish pm. That’s when you’ll get the softest, most beautiful glowy light.
What will it cost?
Photographers are charged a $130 application fee and another $50 fee per day of shooting. You can apply for multiple days with the same application fee, but if you need to add an additional session later, you must pay another application fee. (Hope that makes sense!) To avoid paying multiple application fees, I schedule all of my sessions there at the same time, usually during the first two weeks of July. That doesn’t mean I shoot all my sessions during this time, it just means that during that time is when I’m filling up my Albion Basin calendar for the season and once my calendar is full I go on and pay the application fee and the fee for all the days I’ll be shooting there. This decreases how much each of my clients have to pay! Here are some main takeaways from this boring talk about fees
- If you want to schedule a session at Albion Basin, talk to me in early July (*that’s now*) to get on my calendar!
- The more family or friends you recruit to also do a session there, the less you pay to cover your fee!
How does a photographer shoot at Albion?
If you are a photographer and want to shoot at Albion, make sure you get a permit and don’t try to sneak in without one! Doing things like that will get you into huge trouble and jeopardize the use of this location for everyone else who plays by the rules. Make sure you carefully read through all the requirements here https://www.alta.com/summer/photography-and-permits and apply for your photography permit here https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd696248.pdf (Clients, you do not need to do this!) For more information you can contact the Salt Lake Ranger District office at 801-733-2660 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photographers, I beg you (Tom Haverford style) to educate your clients about what is expected of them and you and make sure to include those expectations in your session contract!
Where do I park?
Parking at Albion can be tricky, so any chance you get, you should carpool! There is a $10 fee to go up the Albion Basin road and go past the toll booth. There is no roadside parking and there are very limited parking spots. You may have to wait to go past the booth until there is a spot available. The ski lift is not running this year (2020) so that’s not an option right now (sad face)
What are the rules?
You guys, I’ve always been a slightly paranoid rule follower. If the sign says stay off the grass, I stay off the grass. There’s nothing worse than being reprimanded ~by a stranger~ or being seen as someone who ~doesn’t care about other people’s property or other people in general~. Yikes. Let’s just all follow the rules, ok? I’ve turned that weird paranoia into this super helpful blog post and I’m going to top it off with this. As with any person’s house or yard, we need to respect the rules and the location if we want to continue to be allowed to go there. Albion Basin officials ask that all visitors remember:
Stay on designated trails and roads – Cutting switchbacks leads to erosion and loss of wildflowers
Leave no trace – carry out everything that you bring in
Refrain from picking wildflowers or damaging plant life
Do not disturb the wildlife – for your own safety and the safety of others
Respect the watershed – no swimming or wading in Alta’s alpine lakes
Dogs are not allowed in Little Cottonwood Canyon – not even in your vehicle
Let me know if this was helpful and feel free to reach out with any questions about Albion Basin! We’re super lucky to live by this incredible place and I hope/want to believe we can all follow the rules and respect it so we can enjoy it for years to come. Can’t wait to get up there with you and get some gorgeous images! And let me know if there’s any info I left out!