Redwood Grove Trail
© Mark Hehir, Redwood Grove trail
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

California 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.



  • Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field
    Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field. ©Mark Hehir 2014

    Golden Gate National Recreation Area

    “This national park area has some world renowned destinations —  Alcatraz and Muir woods, for example — as well as some places where you might not encounter another human being.”

    Wheelchair AccessibleThe photo 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.”  Map and Brochure Phone 415-561-4700

  • Inyo National Forest
    Inyo National Forest in the Eastern Sierra of California has some easy and some accessible trails and boardwalks such as the Nunatak Tioga Tarns Trail and the Convict Lake Loop Trail.  Thanks to Debra Schweizer for letting me know about them.  The 1,903,381 acre Inyo National Forest includes many of California’s iconic locations such as Mt. Whitney, Mono Lake, Mammoth Lakes, the John Muir Wilderness, and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.
    Phone 760-873-2400  Here is their website.    Visitor Guide

    Mono Lake Ranger District
    Wheelchair Accessible?  Nunatak Tioga Tarns Trail  0.5 mile  There are interpretive signs along this trail.  Ms Schweizer writes that it may have been ADA compliant when it was originally built but has not been maintained.  She has seen wheelchair users on it, but they had assistance.
    Mono Lake Boardwalk, South Tufa  0.7 mile easy boardwalk through the tufas.  From the photos it looks narrow for wheelchairs, but call the Visitor Center for information  760-647-3044   See also Mono Lake State Natural Reserve under the State listings on this page.

    Mammoth Ranger District
    Wheelchair AccessibleConvict Lake East Shore Trail   a short paved nature trail from the outflow of Convict Lake  to the picnic area at the base of Mt. Morrison.
    Wheelchair AccessibleMs Schweizer mentions the bike trails at Mammoth Lakes area. Here is a link to descriptions of these paved, “family friendly” biking trails.

    White Mountain Ranger District.
    Wheelchair AccessibleSchulman Grove Visitor Center in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest.  Ms Schweizer writes that there is a short boardwalk that gives access to the visitor center and has displays about the ancient trees.

    Know more about Inyo National Forest?
    Have you visited this location and know of more accessible or easy trails?  Is any of the information given here incorrect?  If so, please contact me using the form to the left and let me know what should be changed or added so I can update this post.

  • Lassen Volcanic National Park
    Lassen Volcanic National Park has a paved accessible interpretive trail.  The  hydrothermal features in Lassen Volcanic National Park include “roaring fumaroles (steam and volcanic-gas vents), thumping mud pots, boiling pools, and steaming ground.”  There are jagged peaks, mountain lakes, and meadows of wildflowers.
    Here is the accessibility page for Lassen Volcanic NP and here a PDF of their Accessibility Guide.   Map    Phone 530-595-4480   Here is the park website.

    Wheelchair AccessibleThere is a half mile paved interpretive trail in the Devastated Area.  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.”

    Know more about Lassen Volcanic National Park?
    Have you visited this location and know of more accessible or easy trails?  Is any of the information given here incorrect?  If so, please contact me using the form to the left and let me know what should be changed or added so I can update this post.

  • Mendocino National Forest
    The Mendocino National Forest has a couple of accessible trails at Chico Seed Orchard. The Orchard produces plants for a wide variety of projects ranging from reforestation and mine reclamation to biological, chemical, and clinical research on anti-cancer drugs derived from plants.  The Mendocino is uncrossed by paved roads.  Its elevation goes from 750 feet in the Grindstone Creek Canyon in the Sacramento Valley foothills on the Forest’s eastern edge to the 8092 feet of South Yolla Bolly Mountain in the northern part of the Forest.
    Accessible Recreation Possibilities    Phone 530-934-3316   Here is their website.

    Chico Seed Orchard  
    Wheelchair Accessible
    Comanche Trail  1 mile loop  in “The 3/4 mile hard surface trail winds through mixed stands of mature trees with walk bridges crossing small stream beds.”
    Wheelchair AccessibleSelf-guiding nature trail: 1 mile loop “meanders through a unique botanical area in Edgar Slough which has remnants of exotic species that were planted when this was a Plant Introduction Center.

    Know more about Mendocino National Forest?
    Have you visited this location and know of more accessible or easy trails?  Is any of the information given here incorrect?  If so, please contact me using the form to the left and let me know what should be changed or added so I can update this post.


  • Piedras Blancas Light Station
    The beaches near the Piedras Blancas lighthouse, north of San Simeon, California attract thousands of elephant seals.
    Wheelchair AccessibleThere 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.   Phone for Friends of the Elephant Seal 805-924-1628      Website

    Thank you Cathy and Gordon Illg for the photograph!

    Elephant Seals near Piedras Blancas Point © Cathy & Gordon Illg
    Elephant Seals near Piedras Blancas Point
    © Cathy & Gordon Illg
  • Plumas National Forest
    The Plumas National Forest northeast of Chico, California has many easy trails and a couple of accessible ones.  However, remember that a trail designated as “easy” may not be easy enough for you.  Visitors to the Plumas National Forest enjoy its “many streams and lakes, beautiful deep canyons, rich mountain valleys, meadows, and lofty peaks.”   The Forest is divided into three Ranger Districts.  Call before heading out to determine trail conditions.
    Phone 530-283-2050  Here is the Forest website.

    Beckwourth Ranger District  phone 530-836-2575  Trail Descriptions.
    Fern Falls Overlook  0.1mile On the Gold Lake Hwy. The trail crosses Gray Eagle Creek and leads to a scenic overlook near Fern Falls.
    Grassy Lake Trail 0.8 mile  leads past Grassy Lake and crosses Gray Eagle Creek.
    Wheelchair AccessibleFrazier Falls 0.5 mile on the old Gold Lake road.  A paved trail leads to a fenced scenic overlook of the 176 foot tall Frazier Falls. ” Individuals in wheelchairs may need assistance. Wheelchair rating difficult”
    Red Fir Nature Trail 0.5 mile on the Mills Peak Lookout road.  Signed trail interpreting the ecosystem within a red fir stand.
    Wheelchair Accessible Big Cove Enabler 0.2 miles  Leads from Big Cove Campground to the lake.

    Feather River Ranger District  Phone (530) 534-6500  Trail Descriptions
    Big Bald Rock – 0.5 mile one way.  Near the town of Berry Creek.

    Little North Fork 2 miles one way.  After the first 2 miles the trail becomes steep.  15 miles northeast of Brush Creek Work Center. The trail follows the Little North Fork River north towards the historic Robinson Mine but the trail no longer actually reaches Robinson Mine.

    Mt. Hough Ranger District   Trail Descriptions

     Yellow Creek Trail 1.4 miles  Near the Ely Stamp Mill rest area, across from Belden, “…an enjoyable day hike that ends in a box canyon.”

    Know more about Plumas National Forest?
    Have you visited this location and know of more accessible or easy trails?  Is any of the information given here incorrect?  If so, please contact me using the form to the left and let me know what should be changed or added so I can update this post.

  • San Bernardino National Forest
    The San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California has many easy and a few accessible trails.  The  823,816 acre Forest includes five wilderness areas. There are district Ranger Offices at Fawnskin, Idyllwild, and Lytle Creek.   Baron Flats and Mill Creek have Visitor Centers.  Elevation ranges from 2,000′ to 11,499′.
    Here is the Forest website.    Headquarters are in San Bernardino, phone  909-382-2600   Visitors Guide   Accessibility

    San Jacinto Ranger District, Idyllwild   phone 909-382-2921
    Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail – 2.6 mile trail leaves from Humber Park. The trail starts at 6100 ft. elevation and crosses streams as it descends 600 ft.  It is rated easy, but may not be easy for you.  Call ahead to learn more.
    Chaparral Neighborhood Trail 0.5 mile self guided nature trail.  Said to be easy, but check with the Ranger Station first.

    Front Country Ranger District, Lytle Creek  phone 909-382-2851
    Wheelchair AccessibleNative Plant Garden  paved walkways through different local plant communities.  No ADA rating, but this garden right behind the ranger station sounds likely.
    Rio Monte Trail  2.5  miles “easy walk”  Starts at Barton Flats Visitor Center.  Check ahead 909-794-4861 to determine if this is easy enough for you.
    Big Falls Trail  0.3 miles “easy walk”  The trail goes to the highest waterfall in Southern California.

    Mountain Top Ranger District, Fawnskin  phone 909-382-2790
    Lake Arrowhead area
    Seeley Creek Trail  1 mile described as “gentle”.  Trail crossed the creek and ends at a waterfall.
    Heaps Peak Arboretum Trail  0.7  mile loop  a self guided nature tour that is “easy for all ages”.
    Wheelchair AccessibleTrail of the Phoenix  0.5 mile loop “designed and maintained to accommodate the needs of the visually and physically disabled.”
    Big Bear Valley
    Wheelchair AccessibleAlpine Pedal Path  2.5 miles one way asphalt path  “connects the Big Bear Discovery Center with the Cougar Crest Trailhead and a pathway along the North shore of Big Bear Lake”    “…this gentle trail has some magnificent views of the lake.”
    Nature Discovery Trail 0.5 mile loop through the forest behind the Big Bear Discovery Center.
    Woodland Trail  1.5 mile loop self guided interpretive trail

    Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail 0.3 mile one way along a small stream, ending at one of the largest known Lodgepole pines in California.  You can continue another 0.4 mile on the Bluff Mesa Trail which is a “leisurely walk” through stands of Jeffrey Pine.

    Know more about San Bernardino National Forest?
    Have you visited this location and know of more accessible or easy trails?  Is any of the information given here incorrect?  If so, please contact me using the form to the left and let me know what should be changed or added so I can update this post.

  • Yosemite National Park
    Yosemite Valley     video of easy trails
    Wheelchair AccessibleLower Yosemite Falls Trail 1 mile paved  “Consider walking the loop in a clockwise direction for best views of Yosemite Falls. This eastern portion of this loop trail is wheelchair accessible (when not covered in ice or snow).”
    Bridalveil Fall Trail 0.5 mile paved  The trail is considered too steep for wheelchairs.
    Mirror Lake Trail 1 mile paved.  Be sure to go in the spring when there is a lake and not just a meadow.
    Cook’s Meadow Loop  1 mile  “…short, easy walk offers stunning views of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Glacier Point, and Sentinel Rock.”
    Wawona Meadow Loop  3.5 miles

    White Wolf
    ?  Lukens Lake from Tioga Road  1.6 miles round trip.  “The trail winds through a mixed conifer forest, then over a saddle and down to a small mountain lake surrounded by a meadow.”    Although this trail is rated “easy” you had better call first to learn about possible obstacles.
    Tuolumne Meadows
    Soda Springs and Parsons Lodge 1.5 miles   Described in  as “a great choice for hikers traveling with small children. ”
    Accessibility Guide  Phone  Park Headquarters  209-372-0200
    Accessibility Coordinator 209‐379‐1035

    Yosemite National Park

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  • Accessibility within California’s State Parks  Here is a list of accessible trails in California’s State Parks.  You can arrange the list by region or alphabetically.

  • Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
    Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California has a lovely wheelchair accessible trail and an easy loop walking trail.   The park is most famous for the 40-acre grove of towering old-growth redwood trees and lies on 4,650 acres of forested and open land.
    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.   Here is their websiteTrail descriptions
    Wheelchair AccessibleRedwood Grove Trail 0.8 mile loop –  A great horned owl’s hooting added to the pleasure of this lovely trail among giant redwood trees.  Thank you Mark Hehir, for the suggestion.

    Bench on Redwood Grove Trail, Henry Cowell State Park, CA
    Bench on Redwood Grove Trail, Henry Cowell State Park, CA
    Redwood Grove Trail, Henry Cowell State Park, CA
    Redwood Grove Trail, Henry Cowell State Park, CA
     Meadow-River Loop  1 mile loop, described as “gentle”.   Take the Meadow Trail just off Highway 9 to the Nature Store and return on the River Trail.
  • Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
    Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve has accessible trails and boardwalks  The Reserve is 13 miles east of Yosemite National Park and is near the town of Lee Vining.  65 square mile Mono Lake is over 1 million years old, making it one of the oldest lakes in North America.  It is famous for its tufa towers, calcium-carbonate spires and knobs formed by interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water.  The reserve protects the lake and the wetlands and other sensitive habitat for the 1 – 2 million birds that feed and rest at Mono Lake each year.
    Here is their website.   Information on Accessibility.  Phone  760-647-6331

    Wheelchair AccessibleSouth Tufa Interpretive Trail  0.25 mile self-guided trail to the shore and through the tufa towers.  The first 0.25 mile is wheelchair accessible and the hard-packed soil beyond is easy walking.
    Wheelchair AccessibleBoardwalk Interpretive Trail 0.5 mile gives access to the north shore tufa areas and marsh.
    Wheelchair AccessibleLake Trail  0.35 mile through the wetland to the shore.

  • Patrick’s Point State Park
    Patrick’s Point State Park has three short accessible trails.  The 640 acre park is 30 miles north of Eureka, California and lies on a forested promontory overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  There are accessible campsites.  Patrick’s Point SP is in redwood country and you will find “Forests of spruce, hemlock, pine, fir and red alder stretch over an ocean headland with wildflower-filled meadows.”   On our very short visit we just walked along the road and enjoyed the marvelous scenery.   Accessibility   Phone 707-677-3570  Here is the park’s website.   

    Wheelchair AccessibleCeremonial Rock/Sumeg Village Trail  0.73  goes through a spruce forest, passing near to the Native Plant Garden,Sumeg Village, and Ceremonial Rock.
    Wheelchair AccessibleRim/Campfire Center Trail  0.87 mile is a hike along the coastal bluff with multiple views of the ocean.
    Wheelchair AccessiblePatrick’s Point Overlook Trail 0.07 a spur trail on top of coastal bluff with 180° view of the ocean.

    Patrick's Point State Park
    Patrick’s Point State Park
    Patrick's Point State Park
    Patrick’s Point State Park


  • Point Lobos State Nature Reserve
    Point Lobos State Nature Reserve has five accessible trails ranging in length from 0.25 to 0.5 miles.  The Reserve is remarkable for the “…rare plant communities, endangered archeological sites, unique geological formations, and incredibly rich flora and fauna of both land and sea….This area contains headlands, coves and rolling meadows.” Wildlife includes  thousands of seabirds, seals, sea lions, sea otters and migrating gray whales (from December to May).  Thank you to Lane Davis for letting me know about Point Lobos and for the photograph.
    Phone 831-624-4909   Here is their website.   Here is lots of helpful information from the Point Lobos Foundation.      Accessible Features
    Wheelchair AccessibleCypress Grove Trail  0.25 mile with views of the cove.

    Wheelchair AccessibleSand Hill Trail,  0.4 mile paved loop  leading to views of the cove.

    Wheelchair AccessibleCarmelo Meadow Trail 0.3 mile compacted soil “…winds through native Monterey Pine forest and terminates at Whalers Cove.”
    Wheelchair AccessibleGranite Point Trail 0.36 mile compacted soil “…hugs the Whalers Cove bluff offering spectacular views of the coastline and its abundant wildlife.”
    Wheelchair AccessibleBird Island Trail 0.5 mile “…provides views of Bird Island and China Cove where visitors can watch harbor seals nursing new born pups.”

    Point Lobos
    Point Lobos, California     © Lane Davis
  • Trinidad State Beach
    Trinidad State Beach has a short trail through forest which is rated “generally accessible”.  What we liked was that you can get to the water from the parking lot without having to go down steep stairs.  The beach is 19 miles north of Eureka, CA, just off Highway 101.  Park hours are from sunrise to sunset.  Phone 707-677-3570.  Here is their website.    Accessibility
    Wheelchair AccessibleThe Horse Trail, or Access Trail  0.23 mile.  The trailhead is at Stagecoach Road.

    Trinidad Beach
    Sunset at Trinidad Beach
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  • Bear Yuba Land Trust
    The Bear Yuba Land Trust in Nevada County, California includes at least four accessible trails in the areas where the non-profit, membership-supported organization has acquired land to conserve “the region’s natural, historical and agricultural legacy.”  According to helpful people with the land trust, the trails listed below are “… ADA friendly but may not meet all ADA standards”.
    Phone 520-272-5994   Here is the Trust’s Facebook page and their website   Trails Portal  Trails Location Map
    Wheelchair AccessibleLitton Trail  2 miles one-way.  “A well-established trail through an informal urban greenbelt in the vicinity of the Sierra College campus in Grass Valley.”
    Wheelchair AccessibleIndependence 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.”
    Wheelchair AccessiblePenn Valley Bike Trail  1.7 miles one way  Not really a natural trail, the description of its environment is “commercial and residential areas with some areas of oak woodland and pines.”
    Wheelchair AccessibleWestern 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.”

  • City of Anaheim
    Oak Canyon Nature Center
    Oak Canyon Nature Center’s Main Road is accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.  The 58-acre natural park is in the Anaheim Hills.  The park consists of three adjoining canyons and there is a year-round stream.  There are four miles of hiking trails which traverse one of the few remaining areas of oak woodland and coastal sage scrub in this region. There is an interpretive center, a small museum with live animals and regional natural history exhibits.
    Here is Anaheim’s website and here is the website for Oak Canyon Nature Center.  Phone  714-998-8380  Trail guide
    Wheelchair AccessibleMain Road 0.7 mile  ” bisects the center of the canyon, offering hikers an open view. The road is level and accessible to both strollers and wheelchairs.”

  • City of Palo Alto
      “Palo Alto’s open space preserves offer a chance to hike from the marshes of the bay to the redwoods of the upper Santa Cruz mountains.”
    Wheelchair AccessibleBaylands Nature Preserve  near Palo Alto – According to Wikipedia, this preserve is the “largest tract of undisturbed marshland remaining in the San Francisco Bay.”   Here is Mark Hehir’s video of the paths and many of the birds to be found there.  Phone 650-329-2506
    Palo Alto Open Space and Parks

  • City of San Jose
    The city of San Jose, California has a trail system of over 57 miles of recreation and active transportation opportunities.  Here is the city’s Website and their Trail Network .

    Wheelchair AccessibleAlum Rock Park is about five miles from downtown San Jose. The lower trails alongside the Penitencia Creek are paved and shady.  Where the pavement leaves off, there is still lovely and easy hiking as well as challenging, steep trails.  The park is in a canyon in the foothills of the Diablo Mountain Range.  There are many wild animals including mountain lions, bobcats, and deer.  Pets are not allowed. Ranger office phone 408-259-5477.
    Here is the Park’s website.    Trail Map   

    Alum Rock Park, San Jose, California
    Alum Rock Park, San Jose, California
    Alum Rock Park, San Jose, California
    Alum Rock Park, San Jose, California
    Alum Rock Park, San Jose, California
    Alum Rock Park, San Jose, California
  • Modoc County
    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.
    HikerwithcaneThere is an easy walking path along the Pitt River, but  is very soft sand and probably would be difficult for a wheelchair.

    Pitt River, Alturas
    Pitt River, Alturas

    Snake and quail trails in soft sand
    Snake and quail trails in soft sand by Pitt River

  • Nevada City
    Nevada City, California backs onto the Tahoe National Forest and has many accessible trails within or near the town.  The city website lists a number of trails you can access walking from downtown or via a short drive.  “The good news with all of these outings is the accessibility to the outdoors and proximity to in-town coffee shops, restaurants, wineries, pubs, art galleries and theaters.”  Here is the city website’s listing of area trails.   By clicking on the hiking boot by this map of Nevada County you can see all the trails in the county.  Here is another map showing the location of trails in the Nevada City and Grass Valley area.

    Wheelchair AccessibleHirschman Trail  “The eastern 0.4 mile of trail is constructed to ADA standards, providing barrier-free access to Hirschman’s Pond.”  Map
    HikerwithcaneCascade 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
    Wheelchair AccessibleIndependence Trail – East and West.  See Bear Yuba Trust  Map


  • Santa Clara County Parks
    The regional parks system includes 28 regional parks encompassing over 52,000 acres. ” Regional parks are larger in size, usually more than 200 acres, than local neighborhood or community parks. Many of the County’s regional parks also feature points of local historic interest.” Here is their Park Finder tool for finding a park that fits your activity preference.  Here is the County parks website.

    In response to my inquiry, they sent this helpful reply:
    “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.
    Wheelchair AccessiblePaved; Los Gatos Creek trail, Coyote Creek, Penitencia Creek, Martin Murphy at Coyote Lake, Harvey Bear Ranch.
    Wheelchair AccessibleNatural 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.”
    Wheelchair AccessibleThe Joseph D. Grant County Park, also known as Grant Ranch Park is in the Diablo Range foothills of the eastern Santa Clara Valley.   Thank you to Mark Heir for the lovely photos.  Here is a video he shot as he explored this park .

    Joseph Grant County Park
    Joseph D. Grant County Park  © Mark Hehir
    Joseph Grant County Park
    Joseph D. Grant County Park © Mark Hehir
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