MICHIGAN

Michigan has a number of trails with minimal obstacles.  Some are very easy and others are wheelchair accessible.  Here are just a few of them.
These links were found through Internet search.  I would love to learn about more accessible natural areas from those of you 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.

Federal
State
Local
Private
Miscellaneous

Federal

  • Hiawatha National Forest
    Wheelchair Accessible
    Nahma Marsh Trail  is a 0.3 mile linear trail with broad vistas of the marsh. “This hard surfaced fully accessible trail ends at a two-tiered viewing platform where an assortment of wetland wildlife can be seen.”
    Wheelchair AccessibleColwell Lake Hiking Trail  “This 2 mile long loop trail meanders along the edge of Colwell Lake and is surfaced to be fully accessible to people with mobility impairments.”
    Wheelchair AccessibleMonocle Lake Interpretive Trail  The first 1000 feet of this 2 mile trail, including an elevated boardwalk with a wildlife viewing platform, is wheelchair accessible.
    Hikerwithcane?  There are a great many short day hiking trails in Hiawatha National Forest described as “easy”, but I can’t tell if they really qualify for this website.

  • Isle Royale National Park
    “Isle Royale National Park is a remote island wilderness in the middle of Lake Superior. It is only accessible by ferry, seaplane, or private watercraft.”
    Service dogs must have a permit.
    ? Windigo Nature Trail 1.2 mile  The Windigo Area Guide says the self-guided loop trail crosses  fern-filled cedar lowlands,  and hardwood forests of maple and birch.  AllTrails says it is good for “all skill levels.”  However, the Park site cautions that Isle Royale terrain is “rough and uneven.”

  • Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore 
    Pictured Rocks offers sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfall, lakes and forest.   Accessibility   As described in the Disabled Traveler’s Companion.
    A Braille introduction to the park can be downloaded from the Accessiblity page.
    There are trails described under  Day Hikes   which sound pretty easy.  Call first to be sure.  Phone 906-387-3700
    Wheelchair AccessibleSand Point Marsh Trail 0.5 mile loop along a boardwalk through a wetland.

    Wheelchair AccessibleMunising Falls  800′ one way paved  trail to view the 50′ waterfall

    Wheelchair AccessibleMiners Castle Overlook  200 to 1,300′ one way.  Views of Miners Castle, Lake Superior, and Grand Island.
    Wheelchair AccessibleLog Slide Overlook c200 yards of densely packed gravel

  • Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore
    Sleeping Bear has sandy beaches, high bluffs, forests, inland lakes, and unique flora and fauna.  High dunes afford spectacular views across Lake Michigan.
    As described in The Disabled Traveler’s Companion.   Map    Accessibility
    ?    There are several trails which might be easy for you.  Call to find out.  Phone 231-326-4700
    Wheelchair AccessibleDuneside  Trail is a 0.9 mile round trip interpretive trail to a deck and a small pond.  It begins at the north end of the picnic area and parking lot.  It “winds through an open field at the base of the dunes, then through the forest to a wetland.”  Trail map and guide.
    ? There are some hikes on South Manitou Island which sound easy, but call first to learn about them.
    Wheelchair AccessibleSleeping Bear Heritage Trail  “Currently the trail runs almost 22 miles between Empire and Bohemia Road, connecting to park attractions and the town of Glen Arbor along the way. Most of the trail is asphalt, but a 3-mile section which goes through the Port Oneida Rural Historic District north of Glen Arbor is crushed stone.”
    ?  Good Harbor Bay Trail 2.8 mile loop which might be too long for you, but maybe you could do part of it.  “Flat, wet in places”  There is a short boardwalk and a footbridge.

Back to top

State

  • Wheelchair AccessibleHartwick Pines State Park has the paved 1.25 mile loop Old Growth Trail  which takes you into the park’s “49-acre tract of virgin timber, the largest continuous stand of old growth white pines in the Lower Peninsula.”  I am pretty sure it is wheelchair accessible, but you should call 989-348-7068 to be sure.   If you discover it is not, please let me know.  Here is Grayings website describing the park.

  • Maybury State Park has five miles of paved trails and six miles of “unpaved hiking trails meander through wooded areas and around a large pond”.  I don’t see any claims that any of these are super easy or wheelchair accessible, but you could call 248-349-8390 to ask.

  • Wheelchair Accessibleeyelogo copyPort Crescent State Park  The Dunes Nature Trail  is a 3/4 mile interpretive trail with stops describing dune landscape, history and wildlife. “The trailhead also features an audio message repeater with messages, benefitting the visually impaired.”  Here is the park described and photographs of the trail in a nice blog, “The Midwest Guest” and reviewed in Trip Advisor.

  • Wheelchair AccessibleSterling State Park  has the Sterling Marsh trail, a 6 mile accessible interpretive trail which borders Lake Erie.

  • Waterloo Recreation Area describes a “network of seven different trails that traverse a total of 14 miles”  in the Waterloo-Discovery Center area.  “Of these trails, the “Rockway” loop is the only trail that meets ADAAG standards for universal accessibility.”   I can not find Rockway on their maps!   Try calling headquarters at 734-475-8307  to learn where it is.

  • Wheelchair AccessibleWilliam O’Brien State Park has the 1.5 mile self-guided interpretive Riverside Trail. Map

  • Wheelchair AccessibleYankee Springs Recreation Area   Yankee Springs – Gun Lake Trail. 0.50 mile long Map  Reviewed on TripAdvisor
    HikerwithcaneThere is also the one mile loop Sassafras Nature trail which is described as easy, flat and wooded.

Back to top

Local

  • Wheelchair AccessibleCity of Davison’s Black Creek Nature Trail is a 1.6 mile paved path.  As described in TrailLink

  • The City of Petoskey  Hikerwithcanemaintains the Bear River Valley Recreation area where there is a paved path and a dirt trail on either side of the river.  Trip Advisor reviews .  Thank you to Tim Knutsen for this information:  “The 10′ wide, paved non-motorized trail on the west side of the river was … designed and built to ADA standards, providing an accessible walking surface about 8/10ths of a mile long, that actually climbs 50′ in the first 1/2 mile. It’s a unique opportunity for people of all abilities to view a natural stream as it makes a dramatic descent to Lake Michigan.”

  • Grass River Natural Area Rail Trail  Phone 231-533-8314  or 231-533-8576   Trail Map
    Antrim County’s  Grass River Natural Area, south of Lake Bellaire, has a system of six short trails through wetlands and woodland.  From  Trails.com:  “Hundreds of species of plants, 65 species of birds, 35 species of fish, and 33 species of reptiles and amphibians make this area a naturalist’s dream.”
    Wheelchair AccessibleThe Sedge Meadow boardwalk trail 0.75 mile  is highly recommended by Trails.com

    Wheelchair Accessibleeyelogo copyThe 0.43 mile Fern Loop Trail is accessible and has a guide rope and braille interpretive signs for visually impaired hikers.
    HikerwithcaneMost of the trails are boardwalks or easy walking, but you might call  to be sure of conditions.

Back to top

Private

  • Audubon Wildlife Sanctuaries   Michigan Audubon’s phone number is 517-641-4277.  You might want to inquire first before going out to these trails as I am not sure just how easy they are.
    HikerwithcaneBernard W. Baker Wildlife Sanctuary
    has the Iva E. Doty Native Wildflower Trail, a one mile self-guided trail. The trail, “with an extensive boardwalk, winds through a wet meadow, past a quiet pond and woodland creek and along the edge of a flood plain forest.”  A self-guiding brochure is available at the Doty Shelter.
    HikerwithcanePhyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary has a loop nature trail and an observation site.  The observation site is wheelchair accessible and I think the trail would be easy.  This is a great place to see cranes in the fall. Map
    Hikerwithcane Otis Farm Bird Sanctuary  According to the book “Best Easy Day Hikes Grand Rapids, Michigan” by Kevin Revolinski,  there is an easy grass and packed dirt 1.9 lollypop trail here going through wetlands, hardwood forest and prairie.

  • Chippewa Nature Center  has 15+ miles of trails through 1200 acres of “diverse ecosystems”. The Chippewa Trail is a paved 4-mile route from Midland to the Nature Center.  Call their office at 989.631.0830 for information about trail difficulty.  Map

Back to top

Miscellaneous

  • MichiganTrailMaps.com is a great resource for finding trails.  You can filter for difficulty, length, paved and many other parameters.   Unfortunately, there is no filter for accessibility, and of course, “easy” doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone.  I came up with 11 trails which were described as easy, paved, and in parks.

  • The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy lists some 88 wheelchair accessible trails in Michigan.   Most of these are primarily bicycle trails and are through combinations of urban, suburban, and rural environments.  I would love some feedback on any of these or segments of them which provide an escape to nature for disabled walkers or riders.

Back to top