Two previous articles about Willow Springs BLM Boondocking and the Willow Springs Dinosaur Tracks describe how to find the starting point for the Jeep trail that goes to Balanced Rock inside Arches National Park. The dirt road conditions are rough along this stretch Willow Springs Road, so a high ground clearance vehicle or 4x4 is the best choice for this trip. Carrying plenty of water will be necessary in case of a vehicle breakdown, because this is a remote area with no cel phone service and it will likely be a long walk to find rescue. Other than the nitty gritty associated with touring the high desert back country, the trek from the Willow Springs Dinosaur Tracks to Balanced Rock goes through some of the most picturesque landscapes in the Moab region, so this back country excursion is guaranteed to be a real feast for the eyes!
Biking actually is the better choice of transportation mode when touring the full length of Willow Springs Road. There are several famous Moab BLM mountain bike trailheads to be found on the way to the National Park, which include the Klonzo, Zoltar and Houdini Trails. Biking really is the way to go because there will be far more opportunities to meander through this amazing high desert landscape.
There literally is one unique geological feature after another to discover along Willow Springs Road on the way to Arches National Park, so be prepared to make plenty of stops to take in the beautiful views. Coral pink sand dunes, ancient petrified dunes, dry wash stream beds and some of the most intriguing wind carved red rock outcrops that can possibly be imagined await to be discovered. The sparse vegetation shelters rabbits from the hot sun and there are plenty of reptiles to be seen too. The views extend to the horizon and the towering red rock bluffs that guard the Island In The Sky can be seen in the distance.
After passing through the open National Park gate near the midway point, the the landscape becomes even weirder looking when the surreal features of Arches comes into view. Toward the end of the line there are options for touring a long Jeep trail inside of Arches National Park or going straight to the end point at base of Balanced Rock. The amazing views of the Balanced Rock landscape certainly are a just reward from completing this rough dirt road trip. Best of all, there will be no long waiting line to contend with at the National Park main entrance gate on Highway 191, which definitely makes doing the complete tour of Willow Springs Road all the more appealing!
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