Search
  • Denise Vasquez

How Accessible Is Accessible: Zion National Park

Updated: a day ago


Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2021


For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved #traveling, I’ve always felt a #connection to #nature, and I’ve always loved being #outdoors. I remember as a child, my mother sending me from New York City to Puerto Rico for visits with my grandparents during the #summer months… I remember being in awe of the #mountains that looked like giant waves frozen in time…I remember being in awe of the #color of the #water that reminded me of #turquoise jewelry… I remember being in awe of the #wildlife roaming free in the great outdoors whether on the #beaches, in the #roads, or on my grandfathers sisters #land… and I remember how #happy being able to see big #skies filled with #stars, #clouds, and #colors made me feel. That feeling of being in awe of nature’s power still resonates with me today!

#Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2021


Being in nature has always been my happy place, especially when I have my #Canon #cameras in hand #photographing #colorful #moments! Over the years, I #worked #professionally as a #photographer for different companies, all of them involved me doing photography outdoors! After getting injured at work, and going through what I went through, during my journey, I was reminded how #healing being in nature truly is! Life’s #lessons are truly the greatest #reminders! Over the last three years, having #access to nature & having access to #parks, helped in my #recovery #mentally, #spiritually and #physically! There have been #challenges along the way, but I began seeing that many #barriers placed before me along the way, were not due to my personal #limitations. Too many #places, including parks are not #accessible. I began wondering if it was deliberate, ignorance or something else?


My #purpose in #writing these #blogs & making #Youtube #videos, is to help bring #awareness to what is really accessible & what isn’t. We are all #human beings, and we all have the #right to have #equal #accessibility to nature and the outdoors whether it’s to #connect, to #heal, to #create or to be #happy.



I’ve been #traveling around to a number of #National Parks as well as #State Parks to see when people say something is accessible, are they #ADA compliant, and How Accessible Is Accessible?


The last time I #traveled to #Zion National Park, was back in the 90’s and the people I was #traveling with weren’t really into taking their #time at this #location, so we #drove through the park rather quickly. I was so young at the time, still #learning about myself & what my #needs were, but one of the many things I’ve learned over the years is how important it is to know yourself, know what your needs are, know what your #goals are. I also learned to #plan and #prepare while leaving room for #spontaneity, and #travel with like minded individuals who are not only on the same page, but who #communicate well, are not in a hurry, and don’t cause unnecessary stress or anxiety, because if you have a permanent disabilities like mine which includes #CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome), #stress and #anxiety can cause more #pain!

#Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2021


I was looking forward to returning to #explore Zion National Park for many reasons! Zion is not only the first National Park in #Utah, it’s filled with massive colorful #sandstone #rocks & #cliffs, #wildlife, #trees, #plants and accessible #walks along the Virgin #River! When we arrived and stopped at the gate to enter the park, we were greeted with a big #smile & a warm #welcome. The reason I mention how I'm #greeted is because it set a tone right from the start to my #experience at the park! From what I personally experienced, everywhere I went, I found that people in Utah are very #kind! I showed my National Park #AccessPass to the young lady at the gate along with my ID, and got FREE entry into the park along with a #brochure and an #information #guide. If you don’t know about the Access Pass & would like to learn more about it, you can read the #blog I wrote about it by clicking HERE


Be sure to grab the information guide or print it out from their #website https://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm before entering the park because you will not have access to your phone in certain areas around the park, and the information guide offers a lot of valuable information and #updates: from Covid-19 Precautions, contact information, #safety #tips, getting around the park, which #campground is open (currently the Watchman Campground was the only one that is open & that campground is #wheelchair accessible); and a detailed #hiking guide and #map that shows not only the level of difficulty from Easy to Strenuous #Trails, but also shows where the two accessible trails are.

The information guide shows two accessible trails in the Easy category: the Pa’rus Trail which is a #paved trail that begins at the #Visitor #Center and #follows along the Virgin River to #Canyon Junction, and the Riverside Walk which is a #pavedtrail that follows the Virgin River into a deep canyon. In two of the photos & also video I posted above, I’m on the Riverside walk which was not only paved, #beautiful and #tranquil...there were places to #sit when I needed whether to #rest, take in the #views, #connect with nature, watch wildlife or to take #photos. It must be baby season, because I’ve been seeing & #photographing a lot of baby #animals on this #trip!

#Photography by Denise Vasquez ©2021


I am happy to report that Zion National park is not only welcoming and beautiful, it is Accessible from the restrooms, to the visitor center, to camping areas, to the trails! Thank you Zion for making your park accessible to everyone!


If you'd like to #support The Disabled Photographer Project, you can make a donation by clicking the #Donate button below:


#Shop here https://www.denisevasquezphotography.com/shop


The project is also currently seeking #sponsors, #grants, and #ambassadorships. For inquiries contact Denise Vasquez denisevasquezphotography@gmail.com


#Follow #TheDisabledPhotographerProject


#Youtube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCallyZDiOzSkVDqUjMYdOaw


#Blog https://www.DeniseVasquezPhotography.com/blog


#Instagram https://www.instagram.com/disabledphotographerproject


#Facebook Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/thedisabledphotographerproject






Recent Posts

See All
©Denise Vasquez Photography