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 to the right.
- Golden Gate National Recreation Area
The photo above is courtesy of Mark Hehir, who writes that San Francisco’s Crissy Field has “several handicap parking spots, and you have a wonderful view of the Golden Gate Bridge, and of Alcatraz Island.”
Mendocino National Forest – GORP’s guide to accessibility
Plumas National Forest – GORP’s guide to accessibility
San Bernadino National Forest – GORP ‘s guide to accessibility
Yosemite National Park – GORP’s guide to accessibility
There is a half mile paved interpretive trail in the Devastated Area at Lassen Volcanic National Park. The “easy, flat nature trail loops around a small section of the Devastated Area. Displays placed along the way explain various features of this area, flattened by the eruptions of Mount Lassen between 1914 and 1917. Excellent views of Lassen itself can be seen all along the trail as well.” Here is the accessibility page for Lassen Volcanic NP and here a PDF of their Accessibility Guide.
Thousands of elephant seals come to the beaches near the Piedras Blancas lighthouse north of San Simeon. There are accessible boardwalks from which you can see and photograph the seals. The site is governed by the Bureau of Land Management. There is no fee for parking and viewing the seals. Here are reviews from Yelp and Trip Advisor. Thank you Cathy and Gordon Illg for the photograph!
Redwood Grove Trail in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park – A great horned owl’s hooting added to the pleasure of this .8 mile loop. Thank you Mark, for the suggestion. The visitors center has a loaner wheelchair, but you had better call in advance (831-335-4598) as they are short staffed and sometimes the center is unpredictably closed.
Patrick’s Point State Park This site mentions two short trails, including an interpretive trail. We just walked along the road.
Trinidad State Beach Not a lot of information here, but it sure was lovely when we visited.
Oak Canyon Nature Center 6700 E. Walnut Canyon Road, Anaheim Trail guide
“58-acre natural park nestled in the Anaheim Hills. A year-round stream meanders through the park. Consisting of three adjoining canyons, four miles of hiking trails traverse one of the few remaining areas of oak woodland and coastal sage scrub in our region.”
Main Road ” bisects the center of the canyon, offering hikers an open view. The road is level and accessible to both strollers and wheelchairs. Distance: 0.7 mi.”
Call (714) 998-8380 for information.
Bear Yuba Land Trust Nevada County Trails Portal Trails Location Map
According to helpful people with the land trust, these trails are “… ADA friendly but may not meet all ADA standards”.
Litton Trail “A well-established trail through an informal urban greenbelt in the vicinity of the Sierra College campus in Grass Valley.” 2 miles one way.
Independence Trail West Independence Trail East “Independence Trail transformed an historic gold mining ditch into the nation’s first identified handicapped-accessible wilderness trail. It is now one of the most popular trails in the area, contouring along wooded hillsides, passing live streams, and crossing deep gorges on restored wooden flumes that once transported water for hydraulic mining. The trail has two separate sections — West and East — that extend from one main trailhead on Highway 49.” “West trail is wheelchair accessible in dry months from the trailhead to a short way beyond Flume 28 (about 1.1 miles one way).”
“Like the Independence Trail West, the East trail follows the gentle gradient of an old mining ditch and is wheelchair accessible. It offers occasional views of the South Yuba River canyon and passes seasonal side streams and bogs. Tree cover and a generally northerly orientation keep the trail relatively cool and green for its 1400-1500 foot elevation.”
Penn Valley Bike Trail Not really a natural trail, the description of its environment is “commercial and residential areas with some areas of oak woodland and pines.” 1.7 miles one way.
Western Gateway Park Trail A small town park with lots of grassy fields and a creek running though it. The fitness trail of about a mile round trip goes through “Mixed oak woodland and pines, riparian forest, and landscaped areas.”
Hirschman Trail “The eastern 0.4 mile of trail is constructed to ADA standards, providing barrier-free access to Hirschman’s Pond.” Map
Cascade Canal Trail 4.5 miles one way. “…an almost level walk along a peaceful canal through a forest with many Douglas firs and dogwoods. At 3200′ elevation, it is a bit higher and cooler than many local trails.” Map
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy – lists wheelchair accessible trails in California.
We happened on the Bizz Johnson rail trail near Susanville. What a treat! There is parking at either end of the seven mile accessible trail or you can take a wheelchair -accommodating shuttle bus from Susanville and then enjoy a 3% downhill ride along the Susan River. The bus operates from June – October on the first and third Saturdays. Call 530-252-7433 to learn more.
Santa Clara County Parks sent this helpful reply to my inquiry:
“We do make every effort to design and build trails that meet grade and width requirements. The following is a short list of recently constructed trails and paved pathways that offer opportunities for those with disabilities requiring the use of mobility devices.
Paved; Los Gatos Creek trail, Coyote Creek, Penitencia Creek, Martin Murphy at Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch.
Natural surface trails; Coyote Lake Harvey Bear-Campground trail, Valley Oak, Calaveras, Rancho La Polka trail via the southern segment of the Mendoza trail. Sanborn County Park-John Nicholas trail and the Indian Rock trail.”
The River Center in Alturas offers a wealth of programs and information about the surrounding area, including the Pit River Watershed, Modoc County and Siskiyou County in California, Lake County and Klamath County in Oregon. The center is now housed in the Modoc Historical Museum, 600 S Main St, which is wheelchair accessible. Call 530-233-4314 ext. 115 for hours and other information.
There is an easy walking path along the Pitt River, but is very soft sand and probably would be difficult for a wheelchair.
Erick and Elisa Mikiten’s downloadable PDF of A Wheelchair Rider’s Guide to Los Angeles and Orange County Coast
Bonnie Lewkowicz’s downloadable PDF of A Wheelchair Rider’s Guide to San Francisco Bay and the Nearby Coast
Access Northern California – This site has lots of information and they have a newsletter.
Accessible Hikes Around the Bay Area – an article by Ann Sieck
Adventures in a Wheelchair is a marvelous site with video shot by Mark, the author/photographer, from his wheelchair. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
The Falcon Guide “Best Easy Day Hikes Lake Tahoe” by Tracy Salcedo-Chourré is very helpful for pointing you to easy hikes.
Article by San Francisco Bay area Bonnie Lewkowicz : Opening the Door to Nature for People with Disabilities
Wheelchairtraveling.com is an outstanding resource, especially for California.