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How Accessible Is Accessible: The Sky Island Forest Trail

Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023

Great Basin National Park in my opinion is one of the most underrated National Parks in the USA! Not only does this park offer FREE entry, but it offers something for everyone!

Whether you’re into photography, hiking, camping or just driving around, this park has a number of wonderful accessible areas from viewpoint and picnic areas where you can pull over and take in the magnificent surroundings, to trails that vary from accessible to moderate.

Photo by Randy Martinez ©2023

In my previous blogs, I wrote about photographing the Milky Way at Mather Point, doing the Accessible part of the Lehman Caves Tour, and now I’d like to feature a trail that I really enjoyed called the “Sky Island Forest Trail”.

This trail lies at the top of the paved Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive. Make sure to bring water, stay hydrated and be aware of the high altitude as some people do get altitude sickness, which happened to my partner while we were up at nearly 10,000 ft elevation.

There are a couple of levels in the parking area, so be sure to drive to the bottom level of the Bristlecone Parking lot at the end of the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive.

There is an accessible restroom in the parking lot and benches to sit and enjoy the surroundings.

Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023

The Sky Island Forest trail starts at the same location as the the Alpine Lakes Loop and The Bristlecone Trail, but we stayed on the Sky Island Forest Trail for a few reasons:

1-I was informed that it is built to ADA standards and is accessible with a standard wheelchair and wanted to see for myself.

2-I always pick trails that I think my body can handle, where I can sit if needed, and set up my camera and tripod to take photos.

3-It’s always important to select trails within your ability level, especially when exploring new locations!

Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023

This trail leads you in a loop along a boardwalk onto matted surfaces in some areas, through an alpine forest of trees. I found myself at peace as I walked along the 0.4mi/0.6km path, with the soothing sounds of streams all around me. I was informed there is a 20ft/6m elevation gain, but personally, I did not feel it.

Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023

There were interpretive waysides along the trail, and benches to sit, bird watch, and enjoy the tranquility. While making our way back around the loop, we were lucky enough to experience a family of deer. I didn’t want to disturb them, so I zoomed in with my telephoto zoom lens to capture this shot. I always have two cameras ready, one with my wide angle lens, and the other with my telephoto zoom lens, in case of sightings like this. Over the years, experience has taught me how to prepare and be ready for opportunities when they come!

Denise Vasquez Photography ©2023

If you’re looking for a tranquil slice of paradise, this trail is a great place to relax, do photography and if you’re lucky, see some wildlife!

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

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