Pennsylvania has a lot 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 in the sidebar.
Allegheny National Forest phone 814-728-6100 Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau phone 800-473-9370 Regional Map Maps and Brochures. List of trails with links to descriptions. There are several trails described as “easy”, but you will need to call ahead to learn more. Try the Bradford Ranger District 814-363-6000 or the Marienville Ranger District 814-927-5700
Shawmut Trail is 2 miles that “partially follows Marvin Creek and traverses wooded settings, open meadows and farm land.”
Timberdoodle Flats Interpretive Trail is “Two trail loops totaling 1.4 miles. The Woodcock Loop is marked with a yellow woodcock insignia and features 12 interpretive stops. The shorter Bluebird trail is suitable for wheelchairs or walking assistance equipment and features six interpretive stops.” Description from Forest Service
Dingmans Creek Trail A lovely 0.4 mile one way boardwalk trail takes you past the 80′ Silverthread Falls to Dingmans Falls which drop 130′. The trail is stroller and wheelchair accessible.
McDade Recreational Trail Parts of this trail may be accessible, such as Smithfield Beach to Riverview and Bushkill Village to Jerry Lees. However, you should call the park, 570-426-2452 to be sure these sections are appropriate for you.
John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum 215-365-3118 Brochure and Map
Darby Creek. Thank you to Park Ranger Suzanne Kelley who writes that “We have a .6 mile accessible loop – the asphalt path, about 8′ wide, goes between Darby Creek and the impoundment (big man-made pond), crosses the impoundment on a boardwalk and comes back to the visitor center or parking lot through the woods on an asphalt path about 6′ wide. Just past the boardwalk is our accessible fishing deck – the asphalt goes up to it. The visitor center is also accessible…The rest of the service roads and paths are hard packed dirt, gravel. and wood chip. The terrain in general is flat with minor hills towards the center of the refuge.”
Links to each of the 119 state Parks in Pennsylvania. Note that many trails are described as “Easiest”. This means “elevation gain or loss is minimal, less than 5% slope, maximum 20% up to 100 feet.” It does not guarantee the absence of roots or rocks to trip you up. Call ahead.
Pennsylvania State Parks with Accessible Trails Thank you Jody Russell of PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Bureau of State Parks for this list “of state parks that have accessible trails and sightseeing areas that are actually marked as accessible or I believe would be suitable for disabled individuals that would like to enjoy Pennsylvania’s state parks.” She has added contact information for each park listed.
Black Moshannon State Park Contact 814-342-5960
Bog Trail is “0.3 mile, 0.5 mile full loop, …….Take the boardwalk to explore a wetland dominated by sphagnum moss and leatherleaf, and accented by sedges, rushes, carnivorous plants and lilies. Observe waterfowl and other wildlife along the trail. Wayside panels tell the surprising story of bogs and other park wetlands. Access for people with disabilities is at Boating Area #3.”
Cook Forest State Park Trails Contact 814-744-8407
Paved Trail: 0.17-mile, “This paved, ADA accessible loop trail is at the end of the water tower access road at the entrance of the Sawmill Center for the Arts. This trail winds through a mature hardwood forest which teams with wildlife like white-tailed deer, squirrel and chipmunk.”
Erie National Wildlife Refuge 814-789-3585 Brochure There are five nature trails here. Some of them sound pretty easy. Call to see if they would be easy for you.
Muddy Creek Holly Trail Map “This out-and-back trail stretches a mile over the glacial and riverine sediments of Muddy Creek’s valley. The terrain is flat to gently rolling with an environment of meadows, marshes, oxbow sloughs, and intermediate and mature forests….A four foot wide boardwalk provides excellent access for the handicapped and others in this seasonally wet area.”
Gifford Pinchot State Park 717-432-5011 Contact
Alpine Trail 0.5 mile, “This wide, flat trail has a gravel surface. Alpine Trail has an outstanding crop of wildflowers in April and May, with bluebells and marsh marigolds. The trail begins on the east side of Conewago Day Use Area.”
Oak Trail 0.4 mile, “This short trail connects the campground to the interpretive center at the western end of the Conewago Day Use Area. The trail is gently rolling and wide with a gravel surface. The trail passes through a maturing oak and hickory forest and past a large diabase rock outcropping near the interpretive center. This trail connects with Gravel and Lakeside trails.
Jennings Environmental Education Center 724-794-6011 Contact
This park’s website describes several “easiest hiking” trails which might suit you. Call ahead to be sure.
Woodwhisper Trail: 0.16 mile, “Popular with people with strollers, this paved, flat loop travels through an upland, mixed hardwood forest.” Not listed as ADA, but call to find out if it will accommodate a wheelchair.
Kings Gap Environmental Education Center 717-486-5031 Contact
Whispering Pines Trail: 0.3 mile, paved, “This ADA accessible trail loops through the interior of the pine plantation.”
White Oaks Trail: 0.3 mile, paved,”This ADA accessible loop trail has exhibits to interpret the ecology of a deciduous white oak forest.”
Swimming pool (south ridge) loops: Paved loops on shoulder of road. Very wide shoulder. As little as .5 miles to about 1.5 miles. Figure eight loops.
Swimming pool (south ridge) loops: Map Blazed trails leaving from Pie Traynor Field. Gravel or wide natural surface, low elevation change. Suggested Route: Head south from Pie Traynor parking lot onto trail with white with red dot blaze. Follow to intersection with South ridge road. Make right turn onto white blaze trail. Follow to Pie Traynor parking lot.
Hartwood Acres Park Map Basic Trail Map Detailed Trail Map 412-767-9200
Mansion parking lot: Wide, mostly flat, natural surface. Cross street from parking lot. Follow trail #10 until it meets an unmarked intersection, bear in the sidebar. Trail intersects with purple trail (trail 12), go right. Stay straight through intersections until back at trail beginning.
Environmental Learning Center Loop: Mostly flat, wide, natural surface trail, approximately 1 mile. Park at ELC. Walk north on gravel service road. Turn right onto purple trail through meadow. At intersection with green trail, turn right and follow back to service road. Turn left back to ELC parking lot.
South Park north half of Map south half of Map Trails 412-835-4809 or 412-835-4810, or 412-835-5710
Corrigan Drive: flat, paved. Couple different parking locations, not a loop; out and back. 2 Miles.
Maple Springs Road Exercise Loop: flat, rock/gravel, some paved spots. 1.75 Miles.
Round Hill Park Map Trails- Not Blazed 412-384-4701
The Farm: Everything around the farm is paved and loops all around to the different animals ( .5 miles).
The trails here are not blazed, would be difficult to explain. Some trails, however, are flat around the farm , as they are also accessed by tractors/other farm equipment.
White Oak Park Map 412-678-3774 or 412-350-2455
Sylvan Drive: It is a paved road that comes to a dead end, main park road, which most of the shelters are on. There is rarely heavy traffic and safe for most park visitors. Very popular for walking.
Settlers Cabin Park Map
Panhandle Connector Trail: Leaves from the old park office on Greer Rd. Trail is completely paved and is 0.67 mile long – eventually it will connect to the Panhandle Trail once property is acquired.
Panhandle rail trail is nearby: http://www.railstotrails.us/pa_panhandle_trail.htm
Wide paved berm with light traffic. Trail from Silver Beaver: Old road, paved but is not a loop. Out and back
Bucks County Parks and Recreation 215-348-6114 or 215-757-0571
Churchville Nature Center Trail Map 215-357-4005
Thank you to Kirsten Becker, who supplied the map and this trail information: “We have one small section of trail, our yellow trail, that is paved that loops around our meadow and over to our pond, as well as a small section that has a board walk near that. The remainder of the trails (2 miles total) are hard packed dirt. One of our trails, the orange trail does have a great deal of exposed roots through one section. Our building is accessible. ”
Silver Lake Park 215-757-0571 Nature Center
“A half mile double loop is handicapped accessible and can be reached from the Visitor Center or from the parking lot by the lake.”
Lancaster County Parks, Trails, & Map 717-299-8215
Central Park Trails and facilities brochure and map
Conestoga Greenway Trail 1.3 miles paved pathway “that runs along the outer bank of the Conestoga River as it encircles the Sunnyside peninsula.” It “provides educational opportunities to study the riverway itself, as well as the wildlife and flora and fauna that call it home. ”
Conewago Recreation Trail 5.5 miles which “follows the Conewago Creek through scenic farmland and woodlands, and links to the Lebanon Valley RailTrail. ” Note, when I posted this in March 2016, there was a warning on the website that some sections of this trail are washed out.
Lancaster Junction Recreation Trail “runs for 2.3 miles between the hamlet of Lancaster Junction and Route 283. Like the Conewago Trail, Lancaster Junction Trail travels through some of Lancaster County’s most scenic farmland, and borders Chiques Creek in its northern half.”
Both Conewago and Lancaster Junction trails have “well-graded, level surfaces.”
? The Northwest Lancaster County River Trail Parts of this “fourteen-mile, multi-use, public recreation trail adjacent to the Susquehanna River” are accessible for wheelchairs, but not all. Call the county, the borough, or township numbers given in the website for information.
Bucks County Audubon Society at Honey Hollow 215-297-5880 Trail Map
Diane Smith, Educational Director, writes, “We have one trail that I consider accessible (although maybe not fully ADA compliant), our Visitor Center is accessible and some trails are very easy.” “On the …. map, trail L, Bird Blind or Lavender trail is accessible. ”
“All of the trails in the bluebird meadow (M, pink) are easy, as are some of the approaches to the pond (G, green). None of the trails are paved but the easy/accessible ones are smooth, grassy and not steep.”
Conemaugh River Lake 724-639-9013 option: 7 Maintained by the Conemaugh Valley Conservancy
West Penn Rail Trail “Interpretive signs along the trail point out interesting parts of the historical legacy. Over three miles of the [17 mile] trail is level and accessible by wheelchair at the Livermore and Westinghouse trail heads.” Call before you go. There is a note on the Map that the access at Westinghouse is closed.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary (610) 756-6961 Accessibility Trail Map slide show of Lookout Trail
Thanks to Annie Trexler who writes that “the native plant garden, bird blind and south lookout are all now wheelchair accessible.”
The Lookout Trail to South Lookout is 900 feet long with a grade of less than 8.3 percent, ….. Most areas are even less steep and overall, the trail averages an 8 percent grade. …Bench seating with pull bars are located every 100 feet….Trail connects to the Laurelwood Niche, a secluded area for education programs and designed to provide space for a wheelchair or stroller. The South Lookout includes a smooth, flat, and natural viewing area with one bench with pull bar. Nearby are two additional benches that offer a place to rest. Binoculars are recommended at all Lookouts.
The Native Plant Garden features a brick walkway that is accessible by wheelchair. The pathway makes a short loop and includes a viewing deck over a small pond. Gates are opened during the daytime hours.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Trails Map Accessibility
Trail to South Lookout is 900′ long and connects to the Laurelwood Niche, “a secluded area for education programs and designed to provide space for a wheelchair or stroller.”
The Native Plant Garden has a n accessible brick walkway. There are more than 250 species of native plants, a pond, viewing deck and bird blind.
Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust 215-657-0830 Trails
Thank you to David Robertson for the following information:
“The Pennypack Parkway (between Mason’s Mill Road and Pennypack Road) is very accessible for disabled visitors. It was an old, flat, level road that is now abandoned and surfaced with crushed stone grit. It may have a few minor erosion rills in places, but I recommend it to people in wheelchairs and families with children in strollers.”
“Montgomery County’s new Pennypack Trail, a rails-to-trails project created on the bed of the old Fox Chase-Newtown regional rail line, parallels the Creek Road Trail on the east side of the creek. That trail is flat, even, and level–perfect for disabled users. It is heavily used. The Pennypack Trust does not maintain that trail; it is the responsibility of Montgomery County, and it extends southward to the county’s Lorimer Park for a total length of just over 5 miles.”
?? “The Creek Road Trail, also an old abandoned road, is subject to flooding because it is located so close to the creek. While the trail is mostly flat and level, the surface is very, very uneven. In places, it is gravel, in other places it is paved, and in still other places it has washed out down to the ballast under the asphalt. I wouldn’t recommend it for a disabled person.
The Schuylkill Center 215-482-7300 Trails Trail Map
Widener Trail 0.25 miles, paved. The trail “leads through fields and forest to the Widener Bird Blind. Feeders are filled year-round so you can observe local and migrating birds. Midway along the trail is Shadow Bog with a wooden deck and seating area.”
American Trails has links to information about many trails in Pennsylvania.
Delaware & LeHigh National Heritage Corridor Map
From Wikipedia: “The D&L Trail is a 165-mile (266 km) multi-use trail. The trail incorporates rail trails, rails with trails, share-the-road sections, and canal towpaths…The trail follows the route that anthracite coal took from mine to market. It winds through northern mountains and along the banks of the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers through northeast Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley, and Bucks County. The D&L Trail passes through towns, industrial powerhouses, and along remnants of the Lehigh and Delaware canals. This earthen path exposes walkers, hikers, bicyclists, and others to Pennsylvania wildflowers, waterfalls, and wildlife.” The corridor crosses may state, county and local parks.
Lehigh Canal North from TrailLinks
Lehigh Canal South from TrailLinks
Walnutport to Weissport from TrailLinks
ExplorePAtrails.com is a searchable site where you can put in your parameters such as hiking, length and distance from a city or zip code and it will come up with a list with links to information about trails. For example, I chose within 100 miles of Allenstown, any length, hiking, and wheelchair and it turned up 72 ADA trails!
Great Allegheny Passage as in TrailLink
“Now the longest rail-trail east of the Mississippi River, the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) spans two states in its course along great rivers and across mountain passes. Running from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Cumberland, Maryland, the trail traces the paths of railroads that helped build America.” Trail Grade and Surface
believe@Magee from the Magee Rehabilitation Hospital has this great page with information on wheelchair accessible trails..
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 Pennsylvania.