Looking for information about ADA accessible trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Badlands and Black Hills areas of South Dakota, and Devil’s Tower in WY.
Alltrails.com has a filter for “wheelchair friendly” whatever that means. They cover the entire US. Each National Park’s website tells you about accessibility.
The trail around Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain NP is accessible. There is also a “roll-in” ADA tent campsite there.
Hi Linda, its Pinky again; one of your Forum Moderator’s. I just recently was gathering some of this info for another Forum Member, but was mixed in with a lot of other information about the parks; so thought I would send you an abbreviated list to check on. Here you are:
As our Fabulous member Joy mentioned, Alltrails.com is an incredible resource for doing your trail searching. I always do a little “yelp” type searching too before going out on a trail to get more specific up-to-date information on the current quality of a trail, so that way I know if I will run into any issues along the way. (Nothing worse then getting caught halfway down a trail, only to discover your wheelchair is broken and your stranded.)
Speaking of… if you wouldn’t mind coming back after your adventure and telling us all about it and how those trails were you tried? Or any other details about the adventure? Were always excited to learn about new, “accessible” places to visit.
Thank you for coming to the Forum with your inquirer; its always a pleasure to be of help. Please come back often and bring us any other questions, comments, or whatever’s ti the Forum page,
Keep on traveling everyone; It’s our world too!
Thank you for this specific list. Looking forward to adventuring and will definitely come back and share.
Hello, Pinky and ADA Travelers,
Wanted to get back to you with a report on our trip and seeing the sights along the way.
We put nearly 5,000 miles on the car, covering 7 states. I despise car travel because my body is so disagreeable, yet the opportunity to see this vast country and its enormous beauty keept me going. We were gone 26 days, but only slept in hotels 7 nights while covering lots of miles. In between we stayed with family, friends, and an Airbnb. This helped with travel challenges in that I could geet up and roam to other rooms, using a couch or recliner when thee bed did not bring sleep. Dragging my scooter in and out of the back of the car is a hassle, but without it, I could not have explored some of the most beautiful places!
So here goes the report on the trail information requested for
Rocky Mountain National Park: We ended up choosing to head up into the Rockies, but stayed out of the park itself in order to avoid increased Covid exposure due to high volume of travelers in the park itself. Instead we went up to Brainard Lake, NW of Golden, CO. At over 10,000 feet, there is a paved road all the way around the lake which provided wonderful views of the mountains and the lake. We took a picnic lunch along and ate on the lake shore.
Badlands National Park in S. Dakota: There are only two ADA accessible trails away from the parking lot, but jaw dropping views of this unique area are around every turn. There are pull outs and photo opportunityeis along the road through the park, and all are accessible. If you are in this area - do NOT miss this treasure! We arre lunch at Cedar Pass Lodge Restaurant ( ADA accessible). The Indian Soft Tacos are dynamite!
Black Hills/Mt. Rushmore National Monument: We explored this area by car except of Mt. Rushmore, where I used my scooter to take an ADA trail around the back of the ampitheater to get a close up view of the monument from the base. Trail is either paved or a boardwalk. We turned around at the stairs. Once again, there are multiple opportunities for pulling out to stop and gaze at the wonder and beauty of the area. At Sylvan Lake there is a trail that goees to the dam bridge and thn returns to be able to go around the other side of the lake. The trail is both paved and packed dirt.
Devil’s Tower: Out time was a bit limited here. There is a trail around the base of the monument with several short off shoots. The parts of the base trail we explored were all paved, but at some points a bit steep and narrow. The narrowness just means patience is needed for two way traffic and turning around at some places required multiple maneuvers at backing up and going forward, like a multi-pointed star. Caution in descending some of these steeper part is well advised. Still, there were at least two places where the trail took the traveler to the base of the monument with an unobstructed view of the tower. Truly worth the stop. Note that the restrooms at the visitor center itself are not ADA accessible, but there is another smaller building just down the walk which are ADA accessible.
Traveling with disabilities is full of challenges, and navigating some of these places in crowds can increase those challenges. For a variety of reasons, I would recommend making the Badlands, Black Hills, and Devil’s Tower trip in early September. The main travel season is over so things will be a bit more relaxed. Plus, it is typically cooler. We had temps of 90-102 degrees while there. I skipped one ADA trail in the Badlands because the heat had exhausted me.
Hope this helps someone else. At the very least, be encouraged to tackle the challenges for the wonder and beauty of exploring some of the most beautiful. magical locations in the nation. It can be done and is well worth the planning and any hassles!
This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing. It seems like a lovely trip. I personally have not spent a ton of time in Colorado or the Dakotas, but definitely need to do so soon!