Arches National Park Photo Guide: Off the beaten path (part 1)

Herdina Park is closer to Balanced Rock than Delicate Arch, yet due to access is seldom visited in contrast to the other attractions in the park. Yes it takes a high-clearance 4×4 to drive to the Eye of the Whale Arch, yet by parking on the Willow Springs Trail Road several miles from Balanced Rock, the hike north to Herdina Park is less than a half-mile. There is no trail, and the trek is full of obstacles due to a wash, but it’s an adventure to get there. Another option is to go about 3 miles and walk up the draw created by the drainage of Herdina Park.

Once you are on the slick rock it is like walking on pavement. Due to steep drop-offs you can’t go everywhere, but with a little care and patience, you’ll be surprised where you can get. Petrified Gaze (above) is of rocks that stand like guardians on the southern face of the swell.

HP Statues Roost

Get a little closer and you’ll get a feel for the size of these rocks. These are features that can be spotted a mile away. I named this Statues Roost.

HP Rainbows Desert Relic

The first time I saw this next feature, I though I was in Egypt. This stunning sphinx like structure also guards the south side of Herdina. I call this Rainbows Desert Relic.

HP Statues Playground 2

Here is a different view of the same area. Truly, you could spend a whole day just photographing these features. This image is titled Statues Playground.

HP Herdina Flats

The trek to Eye of the Whale arch is easterly across a slab of rock that is easily a hundred yards wide and a mile long. I call this Herdina Flats.

Eye of the Whale Arch

At the end of this trek, which certainly doesn’t need to end here, you are treated with the backside of Eye of the Whale Arch, which is probably the side that inspired the name. This shot was taken on a field trip that I led for the Loveland Photographic Society last October, 2010.

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2 Responses

  1. your web site is great — super photos, very useful info.
    i’ll be visiting herdina park on my next trip to moab.

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