Best Places to Watch the Sunset in the West

Via readers share their favorite sunset spots in the West.

Leaning waterside palm on Kauai’s Poipu Beach by Nukumoi Point, Hawaii, picture
Editor’s pick: A leaning waterside palm on Kauai’s Poipu Beach frames the sunset perfectly. And, on calm days, the reds, oranges, and yellows are reflected in the glass smooth cove formed by Nukumoi Point.
Greg Vaughn

“I love watching the sun set at Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City, Oregon. Nothing is more awe-inspiring than watching the sun sink into the ocean behind Haystack Rock.”—Steve Ware

“Looking west over the Flathead Valley in Montana, you’ll see the big skies flame peach, then crimson. These stunning sunsets are so common when it’s warm out, we no longer rush to snap a photo—we simply relax and enjoy.”—Nancy McGunagle

“You’ve never seen a California sunset until you’ve been on the Golden Gate Bridge at sundown. The famously blue San Francisco sky turns as orange as the bridge itself, and the view—of the turquoise water, the towering red orange uprights, and the city as the lights are coming on—is simply breathtaking.”—Jean-Jacques Garbarz

“In a lifetime of savoring sunsets, I’ve never seen any to equal those at Pistol River State Park in southern Oregon. You feel enveloped by the colors, as the sky's hues reflect off the shallow waters near shore and the sun is framed by the massive sea stacks.”—Mike Gaynes

Dramatic sunset over the snow-capped peak of Santa Fe Baldy in the Sangre de Cristo mountains near Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Snow-capped peak of Santa Fe Baldy in the Sangre de Cristo mountains near Santa Fe, New Mexico glows at sunset.

Jim Ekstrand / Alamy

“Northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico, you'll see the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, where the combination of clouds, landscape, and distance makes for dramatic sunsets. Best seen in autumn.”—John Edwards

“The rest stop on the Bonneville Salt Flats in western Utah is a great spot to take a break after a long day of driving on I-80. The white salt pools reflect the oranges, royal blues, and pinks of the sky, creating a beautiful symmetry.”—Beth Touchette

“We can never get enough of the ever changing sunsets we see from the bank of the Snake River in Heyburn, Idaho. Gazing across the Magic Valley, it’s hard to know whether to focus on the dazzling sky or the glittering water.”—Bill and Carolyn Williams

“I could watch the sunset over Napili Bay on Maui every day. The orange colors are the brightest I’ve seen anywhere. It’s so amazing that onlookers bring beach chairs to watch, then applaud when the show is over.”—Blythe Mao

Sunset from the Catalina Mountains overlooking the city lights of Tucson, Arizona. 

Sunset from the Catalina Mountains overlooking the city lights of Tucson, Arizona. 

Dannaphotos / Alamy

“As a 68-year resident of Tucson, I can attest to the breathtaking sunsets. The real show happens when the colors hit the Santa Catalina Mountains north of town. The setting sun paints the peaks with pastel pinks, bright yellows, and deep shadows.”—Felicia Stickney

“There’s no better place to see a sunset than in Huachuca City, Arizona. If you’re looking southwest at just the right moment, the orange, scarlet, crimson, and violet hues crowning the Huachuca Mountains will leave you utterly speechless.”—Victoria Ashford

“We are just as amazed by Nevada’s exquisite fiery skies as we were 25 years ago, when we first moved to the Las Vegas Valley. It’s absolutely incredible.”—Pat Clason

“West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, California, looks across Monterey Bay. The walk is always full of people—locals, tourists, skateboarders, surfers, runners, bicyclists, and the occasional Segway rider. As the sun dips into the horizon, everyone stops, cameras ready, to catch the sunset.”—Neal Coonerty


This article was first published in September 2018 and last updated in February 2020.