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How Accessible Is Accessible: Arches: Balanced Rock



Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023


Arches National Park has been on my bucket list for many years, and I’m happy to report, I finally made it!


I found this to be the perfect time of year to visit Arches National Park. Why? The park is usually very busy between March and October, and being an avid Milky Way photographer, I can totally see why! This park has some of the darkest skies in the National Park system. Timed entry is from April 1st-October 31st, so on a recent visit, no reservation was needed to enter the park, we didn’t have to wait in long lines to get in or around the park, and avoided the crowds.


Arches National Park is usually open year-round, 24 hours a day and If you have a FREE Lifetime ACCESS PASS, be sure to have it ready with your photo ID when you’re entering the park. Don’t know about the ACCESS PASS available to disabled people, read about it in my blog here https://www.denisevasquezphotography.com/post/the-national-park-access-pass and inquire about it at the entry gate or at the visitor center.

Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023


I stopped by the visitor center to inquire about accessibility, and they gave me general information about a couple of areas, but again when trails are rated or quoted as being “EASY”, I have to investigate for myself while asking “How Accessible Is Accessible” and who is the trail EASY for?


After hearing so much hype about this park for many years, I am happy to report Arches National Park definitely lives up to it!


Upon entering the park, to my delight, I discovered that everywhere you look your are surrounded with magnificence and beauty that feels otherworldly.


♿️There are so many areas to stop, take it in, or have a picnic, that are accessible for people with mobility limitations.


There are numerous scenic drive pull off areas throughout the park, where you can see many notable arches, buttes, and rock formations, right from the side of the road.

Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023


♿️One of my favorite accessible places in the park to do photography, was Balanced Rock. Balanced Rock is an incredible sight to see! It stands 128 feet tall, weighs about 3,600 tons, and looks different from every angle.


♿️When we reached Balanced Rock, we pulled into an accessible parking spot right in front of an accessible viewpoint area. The viewpoint area had an interpretive sign, with braille and a three-dimensional sculpture of Balanced Rock. Click HERE to watch my TikTok video.


♿️If you walk to the left of the viewpoint, you’ll find another information sign and a trail leading you closer to Balanced Rock. The beginning of the trail is flat and paved.

Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023


The trail then turns into rocky uneven terrain, leading to a beautiful view of The Windows and the La Sal Mountains off in the distance.

Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023


The trail loops around the rock up sandy rocky uneven steep stairs leading you up and around the rock onto more uneven rocky sandy and if it rains, muddy terrain.

Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023


My favorite place to view and photograph the rock was actually from another pull off area on the side of the road. I loved Balanced Rock so much, I photographed it 3 different times of day: in the morning, during sunset and at night!

Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023


Be aware that If you plan on photographing any rock formations or landscapes at night, light painting or using artificial light to sources to light up the rocks is prohibited.


Any time of day to photograph or experience this area is beautiful, but my personal favorite time of day here was during sunset. At sunset, the rock looked as if it was glowing while turning a vibrant red-orange color. It was truly breathtaking!

Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023


ℹ️ One of the things that I especially loved about Arches National Park, is the Trail Access data on the trailhead signs around the park:


Balanced Rock:


TRAIL LENGTH: 0.3 mi (0.4 km)

SURFACE: pavement, bedrock

OBSTRUCTIONS: rock steps


TYPICAL GRADE: 4%

MAXIMUM GRADE: 23%

10% of the trail exceeds 8% grade


TYPICAL TREAD WIDTH: 6 ft (1.8 m)

MINIMUM TREAD WIDTH: 32 in (81 cm)


TYPICAL CROSS SLOPE: 3%

MAXIMUM CROSS SLOPE: 17%

5% of the trail exceeds 10% slope


♿️ The restrooms in the park are accessible to wheelchairs.


♿️ There are picnic areas near Balanced Rock across the way and they have paved sections.


♿️ This photo experience is part of my Disabled Photographer Project & “How Accessible Is Accessible” ongoing series that began over 3 years ago.


✅ If you would like to support my project, by making a contribution, Pay what you can! Donations are accepted in any amount because any contribution is never too small! Donations help support my time, research, planning, travels, gas, accommodations, scouting, photography, memory cards, hard drives, content created & info shared in Captioned YouTube videos, blogs, instagram posts, tiktoks & so much more. Click on the button or link to Donate Now



Follow Me on Social Media to keep up with my journey & endeavors:


♿️ Disabled Photographer Project Instagram @DisabledPhotographerProject


♿️ Disabled Photographer Project & How Accessible Is Accessible Youtube channel



Denise Vasquez Official Instagram @DeniseVasquezOfficial


Travel & Landscape Photography Instagram @DeniseVasquezPhotographs




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