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How Accessible Is Accessible: Mather Overlook

Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2023

Prior to moving to Nevada, whenever I would visit from California or the US Virgin Islands, I would typically venture to Vegas, Tahoe or Reno. Now that I live here, I’ve been doing photography while exploring new accessible locations outdoors. I recently traveled to Great Basin National Park, and have to say that If you’re looking for a quieter way to enjoy the landscape, whether it’s to do photography, go on an adventure, or connect with nature, you should add this park to your bucket list!

Photo by Randy Martinez ©2023

This place is a hidden gem in the National Park system! Not only does this park have no entry fee, that’s right it’s FREE to get in, it will take you on quite an adventure through The Great Basin stretching from California’s Sierra Nevada to Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. The diverse landscapes, from desert terrain, to alpine lakes and ancient Bristlecone Trees that are up to 5,000 years old, to mountain ranges that will take your breath away quite literally from reaching elevations over 10,000 feet.

Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2023

While visiting the park, I was able to explore caves that are over 500 million years old (Click HERE to read my blog about Lehman Caves), drive through aspen groves, walk through an alpine forest, see Nevada’s only Glacier while doing sunset & Milky Way photography! Great Basin National Park was designated as an international Dark Sky Park in 2016 to protect the panoramic views of the night sky, and being so remote, this park has hardly any light pollution, if at all! This park is the best place I’ve done Milky Way photography to date! Here’s one of my favorite moments I photographed from Mather Overlook on this trip just after sunset, during a meteor shower...

Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2023

If you’ve ever wanted to know what it feels like to be on top of the world, Mather Overlook is a magical place that makes you feel like if you reach for the stars, you’ll become one with the universe. The stars are so clear here, you can actually see the Milky Way galaxy with your naked eye. My man Randy was with me & another gentleman joined us later to watch the meteor shower. If you plan on doing any night sky photography, I recommend arriving before the sun goes down, so you can find your spot, if you’re setting up a camera & tripod, find a good composition and enjoy the panoramic view! Be sure to use a red light, red lantern or red head lamp to give your eyes time to adjust. Also, we heard noises in the brush behind us and an animal cry, so be aware that there are mountain lions, bob cats & other wildlife in the park.

Click Below To Watch How Accessible Is Accessible Mather Overlook on YOUTUBE

This location has two overlooks. One overlook features a viewing area, a plaque commemorating Stephen Mather. If you’ve been to a number of National Parks, the name Stephen Mather might ring a bell. Many National Parks have a Mather Overlook with a plaque placed at some of the best views in the parks, named after Stephen Mather, because he was the first director of National Parks.

You’ll also find two educational signs where you can read about the geological forces that have affected the Great Basin and the post-glacial landscape at the end of the last ice age. There is also one of the most creative sculptors I’ve ever seen, by Bridget Keimel. This sculpture is a three-dimensional bronze tactile relief map representation of the Wheeler Peak area, created to help sight-impaired visitors get a better understanding of the park through tactile exploration.

If you walk beyond the restroom and picnic table, you’ll find an accessible walkway that leads to another viewing balcony. The short trail splits off, and if you go to the right, you’ll find two binoculars and a magnificent view of the valley down below. If you walk straight ahead, you’ll see magnificent panoramic views of Wheeler Peak.

This area may be a short stop to some, but for a disabled photographer like me, this was the perfect place to stay for a while, have a picnic, enjoy the views and do sunset & night sky photography!

Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2023

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

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