Southeast Alaska
Southeast Alaska

Alaska has a number of trails with minimal obstacles.  Some are very easy and others are wheelchair accessible.  Here are just a few of them.
Most of the links given were found through Internet search. Some places I have been able to visit and a few have been recommended to me by other people who have been there. With your help, we can share our knowledge with disabled people everywhere and also increase awareness of the need for more accessibility. Please e-mail me with your suggestions using the form in the sidebar.



  • HikerwithcaneCreamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Reserve  is a  birding area near Fairbanks.  It covers 1800 acres of wetland, forest, ponds, and open fields.  There are three nature trails, described as “flat and easy” by visitors.     Here are some reviews from Trip Advisor.   To avoid disappointment, it would be wise to call to learn the best times to coincide with the birds’ migration and to check trail conditions.  Laurie Boeck, Refuge Manager, wrote me that “Creamer’s does have an handicapped accessible loop in a typical year, but this year has been an exception with the persistent flooding events (we flooded again on Monday [9/1/14]).  The boreal forest trail is also a relatively easy walking, and while it is not up to ADA standards, it is a flat trail with frequently placed benches for people to rest as they traverse the trail. ”  Call 907-459-7307 for more information.             Thanks to Ontario artist Terry Best for telling me about it.

  • Katmai National Park
    “Katmai National Monument was established in 1918 to protect the volcanically devastated region surrounding Mount Katmai and the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes….  It is still an active volcanic area, but also preserves 9000 years of human history.”  Katmai spans over four million acres of remote, wild, and spectacular country.  There are “vast multi–lake watersheds with hundreds of miles of wild, untamed rivers and streams.”  It is important habitat for salmon and thousands of brown bears.
    Wheelchair AccessibleAll bear viewing platforms are accessible. “The trails to the Brooks Falls and Riffles platforms are accessible. However, the narrow paths at Brooks Camp are rough and can become very muddy. ”  Also be aware you might have to move off a trail to make way for a passing bear.
    Accessibility  907-246-3305

  • Tongass National Forest   From
    Tongass is the nation’s largest national forest.  It covers most of Southeast Alaska, including the Inside Passage, Mendenhall Glacier, Bear Creek, and Admiralty Island.  It “is the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world, and is home to a majestic array of islands, mountains, forests, glaciers, salmon streams, fjords and bays.”
    Wheelchair AccessibleWard Creek Trail    1.4 miles gravel surfaced in rolling terrain.

    Wheelchair AccessiblePipeline Trail 3.1 miles  gravel surface in rolling terrain.

    Wheelchair AccessibleMosquito Cove Trail  1.5 mile loop through hemlock/spruce forest.  The first 1000′ is ADA complaint.
    Wheelchair AccessibleEagle’s Nest Campground Interpretive Trail  0.5 mile through spruce trees, along Control Creek where salmon spawn.
    Wheelchair AccessibleWukuklook Beach Trail   0.5 mile boardwalk to Wukuklook Beach.

    Crystal Lake Trail  0.8 mile on natural glacier gravel deposits.  This trail is rated “easy”, but may not be easy enough.  Call the Forest to learn more.
    Lake Florence Trail  1.4 miles “The trail gradually climbs from saltwater on Chatham Strait through a spruce/hemlock forest and ends at Lake Florence.”  Rated easy, but check first.
    Tongas National Forest Headquarters 907-225-3101   Map

    The Forest Service has produced this guide to Trails outside Ketchikan.  It includes trails within the Forest and some administered by the City of Ketchikan.  A number of these sound pretty easy, although not wheelchair accessible. Call the Ranger District to learn more. 907-225-2148

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  • Alaska State Parks
    Alaska’s “…diversity of landscapes is reflected in the parks, historic sites, recreation areas, trails, preserves, and special areas of the State Park System — a collection of 123 units ranging in size from the half-acre Potter Section House State Historic site to the 1.6 million-acre Wood-Tikchik State Park.”
    Brochure     Accessible Facilities
    DNR Public Information Centers phones:  Anchorage 907-269-8400, Fairbanks 907-451-2705

  • Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve 
    Created by the state in 1982, the preserve protects the world’s largest concentration of Bald Eagles and their habitat.  It also protects the natural salmon runs.  The Preserve consists of 48,000 acres of river bottom land of the Chilkat, Kleheni, and Tsirku Rivers. 
    Wheelchair Accessible
    1.75 miles of pavement and boardwalk for viewing eagles along the Chilkat river. Map  Haines Ranger Station phone 907-766-2292

  • Chugach State Park
    This large Southcentral Alaska park includes “….diverse land forms and rugged topography, bounded on the north and west by the Alaska Range, and on the east by the Chugach and Wrangell Mountains and Prince William Sound. The region contains extensive ocean shoreline, abundant lakes, massive glaciers and ice fields. The park’s westernmost boundary lies in the western foothills of the Chugach Mountain Range and is a mere seven miles to the east of downtown Anchorage. “
    Wheelchair Accessible
    Anchorage Overlook trail 0.25 mile paved and gravel trail view of Anchorage, Alaska Range and Cook Inlet.  Anchorage Hillside Trail System Guide    Map    Chugach Hillside Brochure and Map
    Wheelchair AccessibleBird Creek to Indian Bike Trail  c 3 miles paved along Turnagain Arm to Bird Creek Campground
    Wheelchair AccessibleBird Point to Girdwood Bike Path 6 miles paved

    Wheelchair AccessibleBird Ridge Trailhead. 0.3 mile with viewing areas at either end. paved

    Eagle River Nature Center  Trail System  There are 3 easy trails and one rated easy to moderate.  The trails are hard-pack gravel, so some wheelchair users may find them accessible.
    Wheelchair AccessiblePotter Creek Interpretive Trail 0.46 miles, 220 feet paved.

    Trail Descriptions    Phone 907-345-5014

  • Denali State Park
    This 325,240 acre park provides a great variety of recreational opportunities, ranging from roadside camping to wilderness exploration.  Lying between the Talkeetna Mountains to the east and the Alaska Range to the west, the landscape varies from meandering lowland streams to alpine tundra. 
    Wheelchair Accessible
    Denali View North has about 1200′ of paved trail with interpretive signs.

    Brochure & Map   Phone 907-745-3975

  • Lake Louise State Recreation Area
    This 500 acre” area provides opportunities for “camping, fishing, boating, bird watching, hiking, biking, berry picking, snow machining, skiing, skating, hunting, and Northern Lights viewing. Lake Louise offers great year round fishing and sports four species of fish…”  There is a great variety of wildlife including moose, bear, wolves, fox, sheep, lynx and caribou.  You may see loons and trumpeter swans.
    Wheelchair AccessibleThere is a “hard-pack gravel” interpretive trail.  Length not given.

    Map   Campground phone 907-441-7575

  • Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area
     This park includes several lakes stocked with trout and grayling.   The lakes are  in glacial depressions between moraine ridges.  The park is enjoyed for fishing, hiking, camping, and biking.
    Wheelchair AccessibleTrails around Matanuska Lake are hard-pack gravel  Map

    Phone DPOR  907-269-8700

  • Mendenhall Wetlands – State Game Refuge
    Wheelchair Accessible
    Airport Dike Trail   1.2 miles paved.  Elevation gain 3′.   “It has many opportunities for waterfowl and bird watching.”

  • Old Sitka State Historical Park
    A settlement here was built by Russians in the early 1800s.  This site has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.
    Wheelchair AccessibleForest and Muskegs Trail 1.25 self-guided mile “…hard-pack gravel, with sections of boardwalk. Approximately 100 feet of trail has a 14% gradient. The rest of the trail has a gradient of 12% or less.”

    Interpretive Panels   Map  Phone 907-269-8400

  • Point Bridget State Park
    The 2,850 acre park is forty miles north of Juneau and has muskeg, meadows, cliffs,  salmon spawning streams, and rocky beaches on the sea. 
    Point Bridget Trail   from  The trail “meanders through muskeg, mature forest, and grassland until it reaches a beaver dam and views of the Lynn Canal. Bears often visit the meadow, but leave it to fish the stream. In spring, thousands of white-winged and surf scooters swim wing to wing in one giant raft. It is quite a sight to behold. Sea lions and harbor seals are often seen near shore and every once-in-awhile a humpback whale is offshore.”
    At 7 miles round trip with an elevation gain of over 400′ this trail is likely to be too long and have too much elevation gain for you to do the entire trail, although it is described as suitable for all skill levels and “kid friendly”.   The wildflowers and scenery may make it worthwhile walking part way.
    Phone 907-465-4563 Trails in Point Bridget State Park     Park Map  Park Guide

  • Settlers Cove State Recreation Site
    Settlers Cove is a quiet spot on the Clover Passage.  Red Cedar, Western Hemlock and Sitka Spruce grow here in the temperate rainforest.  There is a sandy beach and a series of trails.
    Wheelchair AccessibleHollow Cedar Beach Access Trail  200 yds to Lunch Creek Bridge

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  • City of Juneau    Trail Mix, Inc.
    Wheelchair AccessibleMendenhall River Trail  2 miles, paved.  The trail follows the Mendenhall River greenbelt area, starting at Brotherhood Bridge.  “In mid-summer, over a flat field of iris and fireweed, the Mendenhall rises between McGinnis Mountain and the Sawtooth Peaks.”
    Juneau area hiking trails   Parks and Recreation phone 907-459-1070

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  • Accessible Alaska Cruises organize wheelchair accessible cruises to most tourist ports in Alaska.

  •   Alaska Small Boat Tours
    If your only disability is stamina and you are still capable of climbing ladders and in and out of bunks,  I strongly recommend a trip on one of the small cruising boats in Alaskan waters.   I spent a week on the M/V Catalyst and had a fabulous time.

    Sea lions
    Sea Lions on Brothers Islands, Southeast Alaska

    Spouting whales
    Spouting whales, Southeast Alaska

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