Missouri 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 have some first-hand recommendations. 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.
Mark Twain National Forest
Pine Lake Trail in the Poplar Bluff Ranger District. The trail “starts within the Pinewoods Lake Recreation Area, and circles Pinewoods Lake. Three-quarters of a mile of this easy 1.3-mile trail has a concrete surface and is barrier-free; the rest of the trail has native surfacing. The entire trail is relatively flat, with no difficult sections. Circling the lake, the trail provides views of the lake, songbirds, and wildlife, and an abundance of wildflowers….”
White Oak Trail is a 1 1/2 mile loop from the Float Camp picnic area’s parking lot. Very helpful staff member called me back and said that it is probably too steep for a wheelchair user alone, although someone could possibly push a chair around it. There are some water bars that might be difficult to negotiate.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways Trails
Lick Log Trail: “1 mile loop trail—easy with no steep grades. Trailhead is located off Fox Pen Road (County Road 205) about two miles north of Eminence on Route 19. …… This hike offers a wide range of Ozark habitats from an upland forest of oak-pine to dolomite glades, Rhyolite glades, fens (wetlands), and igneous “shut-ins”—each with unique flora and fauna.”
Welch Spring Trail: 0.8 miles round trip, off Hwy. K north of Akers. Described as an “easy walk from the trailhead parking area north along a rock/earth impoundment out to Welch Spring—which emits 78.2 million gallons of crystal clear water a day from a cave at the base of a limestone cliff.” Review by AllTrails
Slough Trail:1.2 miles round trip. “An easy stroll that begins just north of the ‘Big Spring”. The trail goes through a stand of cane and a riparian forest along the slough. Described by Waymarking.com
Fallen Oak Nature trail is 0.7 miles and said to be “partially accessible” Call 636/441-4554 for better information and to check their hours, which vary by season.
Wikipedia says, “There have been numerous improvements in the park to improve accessibility for wheelchair users. These include ramps, concrete fishing areas, and boardwalks around nature viewing areas.”
Reviews on Yelp
Wildlife Habitat Trail 1.5 miles “natural surface trail which highlights a hidden pond,
restored woodland and glades. Reviewed in AllTrails:
Burr Oak Woods Nature Center Brochure Map
Missouri Tree Trail is a paved 3/4 mile trail which passes by “a forest, prairie planting, woodland, and glade. There is a bridge near the pond, an overlook above the restored glade and several trees native to Missouri are labeled along the trail.”
? The 1/2 mile J. Ernest Dunn Jr. Discovery Trail “mile) is paved and winds through the woods behind the nature center. Interpretive signage enables the hiker to discover the forest natural community by learning cool forest facts and by brushing up on tree identification
Other trails in this Center sounds as if they might be easy. Call 816-228-3766 to learn more. Also check the brochure or call for their hours.
Disabled-Accessible Outdoors – a pdf document by the Missouri Dept. of Conservation
Elephant Rocks State Park Reviewed on Trip Advisor Accessibility
The one mile Interpretive Braille Trail is “asphalt and has varying slopes and conditions. The most excessive slopes are at 9.3 percent for 37 feet and 10.2 percent for 20 feet. At some points, the trail pinches down to 28 inches wide, due to the rock formations.
Along the trail are interpretive stations with Braille text.”
Ha Ha Tonka State Park from the Accessibility Information page:
Oak Woodland Interpretive Trail is a 430 foot self-guiding interpretive trail, paved “….. in an effort to allow more users the opportunity to experience a typical Missouri woodland landscape. …. Some users may need assistance as some slopes may be excessive.”
Katy Trail State Park
The Katy trail is a 237 mile rails-to-trails path more than half of which follows the Missouri River. It runs from Machens to Clinton. From visitmo.com: “The hard-packed, crushed limestone surface is fairly level and constant as it meanders through the countryside. With more than 30 trailheads along its length, the Katy is very easy to reach, offering trips of varying distance. The trail is handicap-accessible.” For details on the trail and trailheads see the pdf on Accessibility Information .
Prairie State Park from the Accessibility Information page:
“If you want to experience the solitude and vastness of the prairie, the trail head for Drover’s Trail is located just outside the visitor center. The accessible portion of the sunny trail is quarter mile long using the connector trail. This trail is relatively level or has minimal slopes with mown prairie sod as a base. During wet weather, the sod may be too soft. Some users may need assistance. “
Sam A. Baker State Park From the Accessibility Information page:
“The asphalt paved hiking/bicycling trail is a 1.5-mile scenic route that runs from the park store to Campground 1. The route has little slope except for a short length near the store that measures 7percent. If this is a problem, the trail can be accessed at the visitor center. “
Springfield Conservation Nature Center Information
Boardwalk trail is about 1/3 mile, paved and goes downhill to the creek. Like the Savannah Ridge trail, it does not strictly adhere to ADA guidelines, but is enjoyed by some local wheelchair users.
Savanna Ridge trail is about 0.1 mile and does have some gradient. See the note above for wheelchairs.
Taum Sauk Mountain State Park Accessibility information
Mina Sauk Falls Trail I am not sure, but I think this is the same as the “High Point Trail”. High Point is described as a “paved trail … approximately 1,030 feet long with resting places spaced along the way and no excessive slopes.” Description of the Mina Sauk Trail is that only the first part of the trail is accessible or even easy. “From the parking area, a short walk along a wheelchair-accessible trail leads to the top of Taum Sauk Mountain and the highest point in the state at 1,772 feet above sea level. Beyond this point, the trail becomes rocky and rugged and is not considered accessible to wheelchairs.”
Tiger Trail is “behind the Upper Elementary School on Doss Road. It has a nice surface, wide trails that meander through the brush, trees, and [have] a few steep inclines but generally mild rises and dips, nice chat/gravel for walking and wheelchairs that are sturdy. Lots of cut offs and loops and can be very short or up to nearly 2 miles if you take the long way.” Contributed by Libby of the Bonebrake Center of Nature and History.
George Owens Nature Park “provides 86 acres of beautiful forest, lakes, hiking trails and wildlife.” Park naturalist Melanie suggested the following:
The Butterfly Trail: This trail is asphalt, ¼ mile long and fairly level although there are some gentle inclines. The trail joins a paved road that leads to two fishing ponds.
Fishing Ponds: The road and most areas surrounding the ponds are flat and fairly accessible, depending on the degree of disability. There is also a wheelchair-accessible dock on one of the ponds. While we limit traffic in the park, we allow vehicles with handicap plates or mirror hangers to drive to the ponds and park nearby.
The Nature Center. The building is accessible along with restrooms and a water fountain; and there are dedicated parking spots in the lot.
Salem Frisco RR Trail “Starting at 3rd and Grand Avenue in Salem, the trail is an 8 foot wide asphalt path traveling north for 4,000 feet along the Old Burlington Northern Railroad bed. It ends at the old timber trestle over Spring Creek near the MFA Bulk Plant just off Hwy 19 on the north edge of Salem.” As described by Libby of the Bonebrake Conservation Nature Center: it is “a converted railroad bed about 3/4 mi. long. It starts at the edge of town and goes past some pasture and woods (and also the sewer treatment plant, but not stinky!). Very flat, essentially chip and seal finish. Very good for wheelchairs and walkers.”
Bonebrake Center of Nature and History
The Center provides “paths through natural settings of prairies and forest plantings, and beside ponds and a spring, to provide a place for people of all ages to stroll, learn and observe plants, animals, and birds.” The paths are mown grass paths, some a little bumpy. The executive director describes the gradient as mild, “but the surface is not conducive to wheelchairs or walkers.” She enjoys walking there with a cane, going slowly to enjoy the aesthetics. Call 573-729-3400 for more information.
Camp Brim Shire near St. James, MO – From their website “Camp Brim Shire features a fully ADA accessible campus located conveniently off Interstate I-44 seven miles north of St. James, Missouri. Surrounded by oak and maple trees, campers enjoy scenic woodlands, a stocked lake, ponds and a nature trail. In addition, there is a special 1/3 mile paved trail for the blind, individuals confined to a wheel chair or seniors, offering them a safe trail experience.”
Interactive map with links to nature and environmental education centers in Missouri
Here is Wikipedia’s list of Nature Centers in Missouri.
Here is a list of the Parks of Greater Kansas City with brief descriptions and phone numbers.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy lists wheelchair accessible trails in Missouri.