But Are You Balanced… Arches NP: Part 2

Balanced Rock, Arches National Park

Balanced Rock is one of the best known rock sculptures in Arches National Park. The cracked mudstone underneath it makes me wonder about how long it will last.


Ever have that feeling that you are teetering on the edge? What if you weighed 3,600 tons and stood 128 feet up in the air while you teetered? That’s the case of Balanced Rock, one of the most iconic rock sculptures of Arches National Park in Utah. Actually, the rock owes more to the super-glue mudstone that attaches the sculpture to its base than any super-power balancing capabilities. Someday, it will come crashing down, but until then, it is there to admire and astound.

Balanced Rock scene, Arches NP

A more balanced Balance Rock?

Balanced Rock in Arches NP

And a closer look.

Sliding off pedestal, Arches, NP

In terms of balance, I found this rock more talented. It lacks the glue-like mudstone and appears to be sliding off of its pedestal.

As the buried layers of salt that I mentioned in my last post work upward, it leads to parallel cracks in the sandstone above that eventually erode away leaving long fins, from which arches, balanced rocks and other rock formations of Arches National Park are created. The most impressive fin to me, Park Avenue, greets visitors on their way into the park. If you’ve ever walked down Park Avenue in New York City, you know it is lined by sky scrapers. That’s what folks had in mind when they named this impressive formation.

Park Avenue in Arches National Park 3_edited-1

Park Avenue with its sky-scraper like rocks.

Park Avenue at Arches NP

Another perspective.

Fin 2 Arches NP

This fin shows the beginning of the erosion process.

Creation of fins, Arches NP

And here, a number of fins reflect the parallel cracking of the sandstone.

My favorite!

Still a fin but with a different erosion look caused by thinner layers of sandstone..

And to conclude, here’s some more eye-candy from Arches National Park.

Courthouse Towers, Arches NP

Standing rock, Arches National Park

Sentinental 2

Climbers in Arches NP


Courthouse rock, Arches NP

And a final view for this post.


Note: All photos are taken by Curtis and Peggy Mekemson.

NEXT POST: The arches of arches.








30 thoughts on “But Are You Balanced… Arches NP: Part 2

  1. Isn’t it just amazing and a wonder what nature can create left to itself. It is sheer beauty and also of course the tricky balance. Makes it all the more a bit like us.
    Thanks for this wonderful and all beautiful photos.

    • I’ve felt like those rocks a few time in my life, Miriam. (Laughing, at least in looking back.) Arches has exceptional beauty. I always feel that nature has beauty to offer everywhere, from the local city park to vast wilderness areas like in Alaska. It may not be as dramatic… but it is there. Thanks so much. –Curt

  2. Great photos Curt, as always. I haven’t been to arches in many years, and your photos are a good reminder of how beautiful it is. The wonderful thing about Arches, (and many other parks in the west), is the lack of vegetation, which keeps these erosional remnants clearly visible. Outstanding natural art for sure. ~James

    • The National Park system is one of the things that America got right, Evelyne. And Arches is one of the crown jewels. There is so much beauty and so much diversity. Still, I worry at times. Will we continue to put the money into the parks necessary for upkeep? Will we open the parks to mineral exploitation? We we turn operations over to private entrepreneurs. Hopefully not. But those thought are always bouncing around out on the far right. –Curt

  3. Wondrous, Curt! You wouldn’t want to be under Balanced Rock when the mud superglue loses its strength! 😀 Ahh…What a fantastic walk down Park Avenue! A fascinating place and I’m so glad to have learned so much about the Arches – thank you for sharing…this is a beautiful start to my day! 😀🌻

    • Glad you are enjoying the rocky Southwest, Annika. Peggy and I had a lot of fun reviewing our photos. They are what made Peggy immediately decide that we need to go back there this spring. Any excuse to wander and we are out the door. 🙂 –Curt

  4. We enjoyed walking all around Balance Rock — and the view changed with each perspective. Your photos make me want to return here. I loved the naming of Park Avenue and Three Gossips — pretty appropriate, if you ask me. And again, the time of day makes a difference. In fact, it would be fun to see Arches NP twice — early morning and afternoon. I could do that!

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