For Here Magazine Issue 6, we highlighted activists who are making the outdoors more accessible for all, including people with disabilities. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), there are guidelines for how public spaces make themselves accessible to people with disabilities. Here, Summer, the founder of Fat Girls Hiking, shares her favorite ADA-compliant spots to enjoy nature in the U.S. National Park system and beyond.
Jenny Lake in Grand Teton has a lovely view of the mountains. The paved trail goes along the lake and even has accessible beach access. The many benches along the trail are also helpful, and make sure you take the accessible boat ride across the lake—just note that the trail on the other side of the lake is not ADA compliant.
Window Trail and Door Trail in the Badlands are two ADA accessible boardwalk trails that lead to some incredible views of the park. The visitor center is a great resource for accessible exhibits and information on other ADA trails in the park.
The ADA accessible cave tour offers a view of unique gypsum formations and historic cave writing. The two hour tour is a 1/2 mile trail with 267 feet elevation gain and the group size is limited to 14 people, unlike other cave tours at the park which can have over 100 people.
This is a must-hike in Portland for kiddos or anyone with accessible needs. The paved trails go through forest, wetland and marsh, and offer a great way to feel like your far away from the city. There are many benches along the trail as well.
If you're looking for accessible campgrounds, this is your spot. Indiana Dunes campgrounds are ADA accessible and offer bathrooms with showers and flush toilets. Don't miss the accessible views of Lake Michigan and short ADA-compliant trail to a marsh overlook.