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How Accessible Is Accessible: Delicate Arch Viewpoints




Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023


While doing research about accessibility in Arches National Park, when I saw images of Delicate Arch, I knew I had to try to find a way to see it for myself. If you didn't know, Delicate Arch is not only one of the most popular images you see of Arches, it has become a widely recognized symbol of the state of Utah, and standing 46 feet high and 32 feet wide, makes it the largest free-standing known arch in the park.


I am happy to report, Arches National Park does have options, depending on your abilities. For me personally, I did find that some trails were more accessible than others, some of the trails that are rated as being "Easy" were not easy for me, and there were many great areas to pull off on the side of the road to do photography, especially at night!


Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023


If you’ve been following my blogs, than you may have already read about my experiences doing Balanced Rock which is listed in the parks brochure as being wheelchair accessible https://www.denisevasquezphotography.com/post/how-accessible-is-accessible-arches-national-park-balanced-rock and The Windows Trail which was rated as being “Easy” https://www.denisevasquezphotography.com/post/how-accessible-is-accessible-the-windows-trail


I started my project over three years ago while I was in a wheelchair, using rolling walker and from time to time I’m still using my walking sticks, because personally I’ve discovered while visiting the parks, that many places that are rated accessible or easy, are not!


Rather than be discouraged, angry or frustrated, I’ve discovered over the years that sharing updated information not only helps me, other disabled or elderly people with limited mobility like me, it helps bring awareness to people working at the parks and on the trails.


How do I know, because many people at the parks have reached out to me over the years, have continued to consult me over the years, and have thanked me for what I’ve been doing over the years!


It takes a lot of time, money and energy for me to keep this project going, I have put my heart, soul and everything I have into it, and knowing that what I’ve been doing has been making a difference inspires me to keep it going.


Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023


When writing about my project, I make sure to mention the FREE Lifetime ACCESS PASS every chance I get, because too many people that I've mentioned it to over the years, did not know about it! The ACCESS PASS is available to disabled people, you can learn 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.


♿️ Balanced Rock was one trail listed as being wheelchair accessible in the park brochure. I really enjoyed that trail! I loved it so much I visited the area surrounding the trail morning, afternoon and at night!


Another trail that was recommended to me at the visitor center as being wheelchair accessible in the park is called the "Delicate Arch Viewpoints" Trail.


Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023


It’s important for me to mention that there are two parts to this trail. The Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint is a flat trail. As you’re walking along the trail you’ll see it splits into two trails. Stay on the right trail that leads to a viewpoint. Here you'll find informative interpretive signs, a sculpture and a view of Delicate Arch up in the distance.


Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023


This viewpoint would be even better if it had benches and binoculars. Having binoculars will help you see the Arch better. If you are a photographer like me who has a telephoto zoom lens, you can use it to not only view the Arch up close, but to capture some photos from this area.


Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023


Now if you are up to doing a more challenging adventurous hike, then walk to the left trail at the fork in the trail leading you to the Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint. This trail is listed as being “Moderate”, and I wanted to see for myself what this trail was really like, so I did it, and I personally found this trail to be Strenuous! You can watch my video on TIKTOK here


There was construction on the trail to the Upper Viewpoint in one area, the ground was uneven, rocky, muddy, sandy, and the climb was pretty steep to a high elevation which I noticed was affecting many people huffing and puffing while coming & going up and down the trail. Make sure to bring water, and pace yourself! There were no benches to rest along the way, I found myself sitting on rocks a couple of times to rest and catch my breath, and there were some unstable stairs at the top of the trail leading to an overlook which gave me another perspective of Delicate Arch.


Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023


From this viewpoint, Delicate Arch is separated by a canyon, you can NOT get to Delicate Arch from here, you can get a closer look, but honestly I preferred the view from the accessible lower viewpoint. The hike directly to Delicate Arch is a different trail that is longer, more strenuous that is said to be a 2-3 hour hike climbing up steep slickrock slope with a narrow rock ledge and some exposure to heights. I did not do that trail.


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


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