Wisconsin 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.
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Phone 715-362-1300 Links to Maps
Franklin Nature Trail 1 mile, easy, mostly flat dirt path with “occasional” rocks and roots.
Trail Guide Trail Map “…northern hardwood, pine, and hemlock forests where some trees are over 400 years old. You can stop off to wade in Butternut Lake or contemplate a beautiful lake vista from a bench under huge hemlock trees. The boardwalk across the bog offers a chance to see many varieties of bog plants up close.”
Morgan Falls Trail 1.2 miles round trip This trail was reconstructed in 2002 to make it accessible, but it is currently closed due to storm damage.
? Drummond Woods Trail 0.75 mile. “The trail is relatively flat and easy to hike. The trail traverses through a northern hardwood forest and is a wonderful short hike for those who wish to see fall colors but don’t want to go a long distance.”
? Luna-White Deer Trail To go around both lakes is a 4 mile loop. “Hike along the shorelines of both Luna and White Deer Lakes on this tranquil trail adjacent to Luna-White Deer Campground. …. you’ll likely catch sight of loons on one of these lakes.” The trail is rated “easy”, but I don’t know what you might meet in the way of rocks and roots. Try calling the Eagle River-Florence Ranger District at 715-479-2827 for more information,.
Horicon National Wildlife Refuge Phone 920-387-2658 Hiking Trails Map & Brochure
Horicon Habitat Hike “This trail is … marked with interpretive signs to introduce visitors to a variety of habitats and common wildlife of the area. A total of 26 signs introduce visitors to woodland, wetland and grassland habitats and their management. This trail offers easy walking and is surfaced with wood chips, mowed grass and gravel.”
Boardwalk is 0.25 miles and accessible.
There are several other short loop hikes which appear to be easy. Call to find out.
Amnicon Falls State Park Map Phone 715-398-3000 Trail Descriptions Facebook Page
Thimbleberry Nature Trail 0.8 mile “…the place to observe a variety of trees, flowers, non-flowering plants, birds and animals. A side spur leads to a pond, which once was a brownstone quarry. A booklet keyed to numbered signposts tells more about the things you’ll see.”
Bearskin State Trail Phone 715-539-2035 715-536-8773 Map
18.4 mile rail-trail “…a wonderful, shaded ride through a beautiful northwoods forest of pine, spruce, oak, maple, elm, and birch. This scenic trail features: lakes, creeks, natural springs, several spruce/tamarack bogs, and plenty of wildlife. Development along the trail is limited. The grade is mostly flat with one small hill climb. This is a fun, scenic ride suitable for families and folks of all ages.” Wisconsin Trail Guide
Big Bay State Park Phone 715-747-6425 Map Trail Descriptions
Travel Wisconsin.com says the park has “adaptive equipment available for people with mobility impairment including beach wheelchair.”
Boardwalk 0.5 mile “….flat, well-marked, accessible boardwalk with wooden benches at several points, interpretive signs and views of Lake Superior. The trail goes through a northern forest of red and white pines on the Big Bay Sand Spit.”
Bay View trail 1.3 mile, Lagoon Ridges trail 2.6 mile and Point trail, a 1.7 mile loop all sound as if they are pretty easy walking. Call ahead to be sure.
Big Foot Beach State Park Phone 262-248-2528 Map Trail Descriptions
Yellow Trail 1.2 mile through “…the park’s mixed hardwood landscape and the woodland birds and animals who call it home.” Four of the seven trails at this park are described as “easy walking for most visitors.” Most of the trail surfaces are mowed grass or natural soil.
Crex Meadows Wildlife Area Phone 715-463-2896 Brochure and Map
“Crex Meadows Wildlife Area is a 30,000-acre property of wetlands, brush prairies, and forests scattered across a gently rolling landscape.” Some trail descriptions by Rob Bignell
“Handicapped accessible hiking trails include a 540 foot circular trail through Abel Prairie and a 780 foot paved trail from the Education and Visitors Center to a bridge over Dragonfly Pond. Crex also features two handicapped accessible hunting trails.” This is quoted from Wilderness Inquiry’s Accessible Places page.
Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit Map Phones: Mauthe Lake Recreation Area 262-626-4305, Long Lake Recreation Area 920-533-8612 Trail Descriptions
Moraine Nature Trail 0.75 Best to check at the Ice Age Visitor Center 920-533-8322 to be sure this self-guided trail is easy enough for you. Brochure
Spruce lake Bog Trail 0.25 mile “easy boardwalk trail … through a unique open-lake bog community to Spruce Lake. … one can expect to see sundews, pitcher plants and other rare plant species.”
Rice Lake Nature Trail 0.5 mile. Trail Guide “Walk along the edge of a small pond, hear frogs in the spring, visit the wildlife blind.” This one sounds easy, but better call ahead to be sure.
Lake Kegonsa State Park Phone 608-873-9695 Map Trail Descriptions
Prairie Trail 1.3 miles “The prairie plants are spectacular in the summer. This trail is wonderful for prairie enthusiasts and birders.”
White Oak Nature Trail 1.2 miles “….with it’s stately oaks and diverse habitats, gently winds through the 80-acre white oak woods. … It features 14 stops, each containing interesting information about the woods and the surrounding areas.”
Northern Highland American Legion State Forest Phone 715-356-3668 or 715-542-3923 Map Trail Descriptions
Tom Roberts Nature Trail 0.55 mile This paved “….loop ambles through a mixed coniferous-deciduous forest of balsam, red pine, white pine, sugar maple, white birch and large-toothed and trembling aspen. The overlooks offer beautiful views of Muskellunge Lake. It’s an ideal spot to look for spring flowers and birds. Also keep an eye out for deer, ruffed grouse, coyote tracks and fisher tracks.”
? North Trout Nature Trail 1 mile. “…one of our easiest nature trails to hike. This trail is a 1-mile loop trail that meanders around a mature black spruce-tamarack bog. The trail also winds its way along the Trout Lake shoreline, offering a beautiful view of the lake. This is a wonderful trail to hike in spring because of the abundance of wildflowers. Watch for the moccasin flower, trailing arbutus, Canadian mayflower, start flower, blueberry and barren strawberry.” Call ahead to be sure it is easy enough for you.
Peninsula State Park Phone 920-868-3258 Map Trail Descriptions
Sunset Bike Route 9.6 miles. “The trail traverses Weborg Marsh, cedar and maple trees and cliff communities.”
Sentinel Trail 2.0 miles loop “Trail signs interpret forest ecology. A .6-mile portion of the trail is graveled to facilitate mobility.”
Red Cedar State Trail Phone 715-232-1242 Map
14.5 miles “shadows the steep walls of the Red Cedar Valley from Menomonie to its connection with the Chippewa River State Trail. ….. The trail passes by prairies, marshland bottoms, forests and farmlands, including sandstone bluffs and other unique rock formations.” Calvin Kunkle writes that “The Red Cedar Trail is wheelchair accessible and there are ramps or on grade approaches from all the trail parking areas. There may be times when the trail is soft and wet that would make it difficult to use a wheelchair though. Many of our state trails are paved or covered in limestone screenings that make a hardened surface for wheel chair use.”
Roche-A-Cri State Park Phone 608-339-6881 (summer) 608-565-2789 (off-season) Map Trail Descriptions
Chickadee Rock trail 0.3 mile “…follows a game path through oaks and jack pines. There are six interpretive signs along the trail. Blueberry and huckleberry bushes and various ferns grow along the trail.”
Schmeeckle Reserve Phone 715-346-4992 Trail Map Trail Descriptions
“Nearly 5 miles of trails meander through Schmeeckle Reserve. Most trails are surfaced with soft woodchips, creating a quiet and peaceful walk. Extensive boardwalks have been constructed over wetland areas. Rustic benches are scattered throughout the trail system.” Some of these trails sound like easy walking, but check with the Visitor Center first.
Trail of Reflections 0.5 mile loop starts and ends at the Visitor Center
Wisconsin State Trails There are 41 state trails, most of which are rail/trails. See the post below under Miscellaneous for the link to descriptions of these trails.
Calumet County Disability Guide
Outagamie County Parks Phone 920-832-4791
Mosquito Hill Nature Center Phone 920-779-6433 Brochure Trail System
All People’s Trail 0.6 mile one-way “…winds along forest edge, past Frog Pond, through a 12-acre prairie planting and ends at Oxbow Pond. ”
Landscaping for Wildlife Trail 0.14 mile “…leads around the main parking lot through the nature center’s Landscaping for Wildlife Demonstration Area.”
Stone Bridge Trail Map from AllTrails.com a 3.9 mile loop. “…paved trail winds through a wooded area and connects to a network of trails in the Town of Grand Chute.” I am finding contradictory information about this trail. Better call Outagamie Parks for help: 920-832-4791.
Retzer Nature Center Phone 262-896-8700 Trails Map
800 feet “The award winning Adventure Trail provides the opportunity to use one’s sense of sight, sound, smell, and touch in discovering the wonders of nature. Native Wisconsin plants, birds, and animals are highlighted …… Raised bumps on the handrail encircling the trail mark the location of 30 interpreting Braille and raised letter signs. Printed guides and audio cassettes available at the nature center desk also explain the 30 special features.”
Brillion Nature Center Phone 920-756-3591 Trail Map
“An electric golf cart is available to transport participants with low mobility when using the trails(please call ahead to reserve the cart). The facility is popular with group home residents with a variety of cognitive impairments. The facility also caters to the elderly and has programming specific to senior citizens from an assisted living environment.”
Cottonwood Trail 0.6 miles
Marsh Platform Trail Length not given, but it looks on map as if a little over 1/2 mile.
“There is a trail that meanders through a wooded area and field (for those with visual impairments, it is recommended they be assisted to avoid potential tripping).”
North Lakeland Discovery Center Phone 877-543-2085 Trail Map
The Center has a number of short trails, including the 0.5+ Interpretive trail and the 0.4 Bog Boardwalk. Emily Anna, Naturalist/Program Volunteer Coordinator, writes that, “Our trails are relatively flat, however I would not say that they are totally wheelchair accessible. They are hard-packed dirt. The Interpretive trail is the most flat, but it is quite narrow in some spaces, so it would be challenging for a wheelchair to make it through. For someone walking, the Interpretive Trail is gentle and flat with very minimal tree roots and rocks. I don’t think there would be any issues for an elderly person without a wheelchair.”
Woodland Dunes Nature Center & Preserve Trail Descriptions Phone 920-793-4007
Yellow Birch Trail 0.3 mile “…boardwalk takes visitors through woods and wetland where many unusual birds, amphibians and plants can be seen.”
Cattail Trail 0.3 mile “…The whole family will enjoy this boardwalk that meanders through a shrub swamp, a sedge meadow and a cattail marsh where birds and wetland animals live or visit.” You might want to call ahead to be sure this is easy enough for your abilities.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy lists over 75 wheelchair accessible trails in Wisconsin.