Iowa has some trails with minimal obstacles. Some are very easy and others are wheelchair accessible. Here are a few of them.
I am sure there must be many places to go in Iowa, but wheelchair accessibility does not seem to be on Iowa’s official radar. 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 in the sidebar.
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
The refuge was “established as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. A diversity of habitat types provide excellent feeding, resting, and roosting sites for wintering waterfowl and Sandhill Cranes , as well as nesting sites for neotropical migrant birds and many species of resident wildlife. ”
Descriptions of the Nature Trails Map and Brochure Phone 256-353-7243
Atkinson Trail length? There is a “boardwalk crossing over a cypress swamp, then continuing through a wooded area.”
Wildlife Observation Trail 200 yards This trail has been designed for observing butterflies and birds.
This downloadable brochure about Iowa State Parks has a somewhat limited chart of amenities
Big Creek State Park – The website says a “26-mile paved multi-use trail allows bicyclists and pedestrians to travel from the beach south through the Saylorville Lake area all the way to Des Moines.” This sounds likely for accessibility, but you had better call to be sure. 515-984-6473.
Elinor Bedell State Park – The Brochure shows a paved trail for this park, but the website just says “Several miles of trail will take you through wetlands, woodlands, and along the lakeshore. Again, call in advance, 712-337-3211.
George Wyth State Park – This park has “5.5 miles of paved multi-purpose trails, which are great for biking, in-line skating and walking.” They don’t mention wheelchairs, but I should think a paved trail good enough for in-line skating would qualify.
Lake Anita State Park – This park has paved trails, which may include the 1/3 mile self-guiding nature trail. Call 712/762-3564.
Lake Macbride State Park – This State Park Brochure shows paved trails in this park, but the park map gives no indication. The site states, “Multi-use trails wind for miles around the lake. All park trails offer opportunities for the sights and sounds of Iowa at its best. Bird watchers will thrill to the sight of nearly every songbird native to the region. During the spring and fall, shorebirds, waterfowl and ospreys are frequent visitors.” Sounds nice, but you’d better call, 319-624-2200.
Lake Manawa State Park – There is a “nature trail with a paved surface offers opportunity to walkers and for the mobility-impaired.”
Here is a list, with links to Iowa’s eighty-five State Parks, six State Forests, twenty-four State Wildlife Areas, State Wildlife Management Areas, two State Wildlife Refuges, and three National Wildlife Refuges.
Pine Lake State Park is another park with a paved trail, but no indication on their website if accessible. There is a self-guided nature trail which may or may not be accessible. Call 641-858-5832.
Woodbury County To learn more about the two areas below, call 701-258-0838
Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center at Sioux City has a wheelchair accessible trail. Length not given. Trail Map
Fowler Forest has a wooded loop trail which may be easy. Map
Little Sioux Park (phone 712-372-4984) has a 1 3/4 mile concrete trail. Map “The Union Bridge Trail connects the park to the town of Correctionville with a ten foot wide concrete path that winds through scenic areas and crossing the Little Sioux River with a spectacular bridge.”
Snyder Bend (phone 712-946-5622) has an “accessible limestone and concrete trail.” Map There is also an accessible fishing dock.
Nature For The Blind has a directory of Braille trails for almost every state in the US and for many other countries.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy lists wheelchair accessible trails in Iowa.