Illinois 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.
Beall Woods State Park – Tulip Tree Trail’s “…chipped surface … can accommodate wheelchairs, and a cassette tape noting 10 points of interest along the way is available for visually impaired hikers.
Chain O’Lakes State Park – Pike Marsh North has a 1/2 mile accessible loop with a viewing platform.
“Disabled Outdoor Opportunities” as described in the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources. This mostly concerns and fishing.
Fox Ridge State Park – There are two accessible trails in the east central area: …”one wandering along the edge of a ravine and the other circling a small fishing pond with an accessible fishing pier.”
Franklin Creek State Natural Area – The accessible Mill Springs Trail is 0.3 miles.
Giant City State Park – The Post Oak Trail is 1/3 mile and asphalt-paved.
Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area – The “Tall Grass Self-Guided Nature Trail can be an easy 1 mile or 3.5 miles, depending on the route you take, with one loop of the trail offering a hard-packed, wheelchair-accessible surface.”
Here is the Department of Natural Resources map dividing the state into five geographic areas. Click on any one of these and you will find a list of state parks, recreation areas etc. with descriptions of many of the trails. Better yet, there are links to website for each place where you can find phone numbers to call for information. Many trails are described as “easy”, but you would be wise to call first.
1/3 mile of the 3/4 mile Woodland Trail in the Iroquois County State Wildlife Area is handicapped accessible.
Kankakee River State Park – On the north side of the river is a “… 7-mile handicap accessible asphalt trail which runs along the Kankakee River and over a 50-foot suspension bridge over Rock Creek Canyon.”
Mermet Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area has two short interpretive trails described as “…easy enough for family hikers to tackle.”
Shabbona Lake State Park – According to this site “Shabbona Lake is a pilot site for disabled visitor accessibility and the facilities–parking, picnic shelters, water fountains, restrooms, and even a specially designed fishing pier–are totally accessible.”
Touch the Earth is a 1/8 interpretive nature mile trail for blind and visually impaired visitors. There is a cassette tape guide. The tapes and players are available at the park office. The trail is wheelchair accessible.
Page 15 of the PDF version of The Visitors Guide of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has a chart listing accessible trails. They suggest calling the District’s ADA coordinator at 630-933-7683 for information.
Here is a link to an advertisement for the book “A Guide to Illinois Nature Centers & Interpretive Trails: 132 Family-Friendly and Accessible Nature Sites in Illinois” I don’t know how they define “accessible”.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy lists wheelchair accessible trails in Illinois.