Possibly the most photographed spot in the entire Garden of the Gods, Balanced Rock’s place as a backdrop in tourist photographs for more than a hundred years gives it a status worthy of “the most photographed barn in America” from Don DeLillo’s satirical novel White Noise: “No one sees the barn. Once you’ve seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn.”

Who among us hasn’t had our photograph taken with Balanced Rock, pretending to prop it or topple it? Who among us hasn’t spent more time looking at the camera that’s photographing us against it than the rock itself? Perhaps the photographs, past and present, are the best evidence that there is no “one” balanced rock. In fact, we believe that the two slide shows below will attest to the terrifying possibility that some Behemoth or Wooly Golem replaces Balanced Rock each night with a Balanced Rock that looks just similar enough to pass for all other Balanced Rocks.

Regardless, these images are but few of what must be millions of images and digital copies that testify to the fascination that Balanced Rock continues to hold for us no matter how many times we pose in front of it.

Let’s start with the past and Matt Mayberry of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum:

Says Mayberry, Director of the Pioneers Museum:

The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum has an outstanding collection of historic photographs—some 80,000 images in our collection. One of the great series of images in that collection come from Balanced Rock at Garden of the Gods. An exhibit that I’ve always thought about doing, and now will have a chance to do virtually, is to show how beloved Garden of the Gods, and Balanced Rock in particular, have been by tourists coming through and by photographers. Because of the way the road is up there now, it almost requires you take it from one specific location because of the parking lot and the roadway. But this reminds you that there were many different ways to get to Balanced Rock and the park wasn’t as carefully defined in terms of trails as it is today.

The next slideshow is culled from various places on the web as a sampling of the present. Though Sombreros and Burros have given way to track suits and Big Gulps, there is something equally essential about Balanced Rock’s status as evidence. “I’ve been here!” the photos still say. And somehow it’s reassuring.

The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is gladly accepting donations of Balanced Rock photographs from any era up to and including the present! Please contact them through their website HERE

(We always appreciate your comments below. If you have tips for other Big Somethings, please email us at thebigsomething@krcc.org. Thanks!)


4 Responses to Balanced Rock Forever Balanced Rock (TBS Encore)

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by KRCC. KRCC said: Balanced Rock Forever Balanced Rock (TBS Encore): Possibly the most photographed spot in the entire Garden of the … http://bit.ly/dzSBdE […]

  2. Very interesting! Loved it. Tried to upload my image of Balanced Rock, but couldn’t figure out how to do it. Any suggestions?

  3. Dave Franklyn says:

    After submitting my photo of Balanced Rock a moment ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was already found and used in the second video. Good stuff!

  4. Chrys Fotenos says:

    Nice interview Matt,the little boys were wearing Lord Fauntleroy suits! Thank you KRCC for the great interviews featuring our valuable Pioneers Museum!


Getty Images
October 23, 2016 | NPR · A new survey shows that white evangelicals are much more willing now than they were a few years ago to vote for politicians whose personal behavior has been “immoral.”

October 23, 2016 | NPR · The Cubs put an end to a 71-year drought Saturday, winning 5-0 to advance to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. The Cubs last took the World Series title in 1908.

October 22, 2016 | NPR · Comedian and Ohio native Mike Polk Jr. talks about the feelings of a Cleveland sports fan on the possibility of the city’s second major sports championship following a 52-year title drought.

Arts & Life

Getty Images
October 22, 2016 | NPR · Ernest Hemingway’s masterful first novel came out 90 years ago today; the story of aimless American expatriates drinking, fighting and falling in and out of love is regarded as one of his best works.

October 22, 2016 | NPR · We recorded the show in Rochester, N.Y., this week, which is home to the Garth Fagan Dance company. We’ll ask acclaimed choreographer Garth Fagan three questions about really deceitful people.

October 22, 2016 | NPR · Anne Carson’s book of poems come in a clear plastic box where they ‘float,’ which is also the title of her new collection. NPR’s Scott Simon talks with the poet about her work.


John Heyn
October 22, 2016 | NPR · Shot outside an arena in suburban Maryland hosting a Judas Priest and Dokken double bill, the short documentary captured something vital about its moment in music history.

October 22, 2016 | NPR · After suffering a stroke three years ago, Randy Travis had to learn to walk and talk again. This week he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, where he stood onstage and sang.

Courtesy of the artist
October 22, 2016 | NPR · The last surviving Bee Gee has released his first album in more than 30 years. In The Now is colored by the loss of Gibb’s mother and brothers, but he says it’s also about “the idea of having fun.”

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac