Virginia 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 in the sidebar.
Blue Ridge Parkway Phone 828-348-3400 Recorded Park Information line 828-298-0398 Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville, North Carolina 828-298-5330 Map Real time open/close road status map – Accessibility
The Blue Ridge Parkway is in both Virginia and North Carolina.
The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia
Peaks of Otter
Abbot Lake Trail One mile loop around the lake “…through a woodland forest and open field.”
Trails in North Carolina This site gives mileage and a rating of easy, moderate or strenuous and links to trail maps. I can not tell just how easy is “easy” and there is no indication whether there might be obstacles such as stairs.
? Rocky Knob Picnic area trail “… is an easy 1-mile loop and offers a pleasant walk through a mature forest of large oaks, ashes, hickories, Fraser magnolias, hemlocks, and other native trees and shrubs.”
George Washington and Jefferson National Forests Supervisor’s Office Phone 540-265-5100
Phone numbers for the eight Ranger Districts Links to Maps Day Hikes National Forests Foundation: “The Jefferson National Forest is comprised of lands located in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. The George Washington National Forest is comprised of lands located in Virginia and West Virginia.” Both of these Forests are primarily in Virginia. I am putting this one post in the pages for all three states. There are a ton of trails, many of them described as easy. You might pick an area you want to visit and call the appropriate Ranger District for advice.
Massanutten Storybook Trail in Lee Ranger District 0.5 miles described in Virginia Trail Guide. “…leads to a spectacular view overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. Learn from the interpretive signs of how the Massanutten Mountains were formed.”
Lions Tale Accessible Trail for the Visually Impaired in Lee Ranger District 0.5 mile interpretive loop. Waymarking.com Backpacker.com “Listen to the gentle ripples of Passage Creek, feel the refreshing water running from the flume, and smell the sweet aromas of sassafras and birch.”
Pandapas Pond Loop Trail Eastern Divide Ranger District 0.9 mile “The pond is situated in a hardwood forest. Rhododendron and flame azalea are abundant. … The trail encircles both the pond and the adjacent wetland.”
Fenwick Nature Walk Trail Eastern Divide Ranger District. 1.0 mile. “…hikers can walk through an Appalachian forest, cross Mill Creek, pass through swampy wetlands, and get a nice view of a scenic waterfall. Wildflowers are abundant during the spring.”
Virginias Walk Trail Eastern Divide Ranger District 1.30 miles. “This 1.3 mile nature trail meanders around White Rocks Campground.”
Rhododendron Trail James River Ranger District. 0.12 miles There is a “…wonderful view of the Rich Hole Wilderness at the end.”
Beartree Lake Trail Mount Rogers National Recreation Area 0.8 miles paved and gravel-surfaced trail which encircles Beartree Lake.
Jackson River Fishing Trail Warm Springs Ranger District 0.85 miles. Primarily used for fishing access to the Jackson River, the trail follows an old roadbed and has scenic views of the river.
Hidden Valley West Trail in Warm Springs Ranger District 1.08 miles. Follows the Jackson River downstream.
Shenandoah National Park Phone 540-999-3500 Accessibility Park Map Maps
Limberlost Trail 1.3 miles loop. Map AllTrails Kids in Parks There are benches and over 20 resting areas on this trail which passes through forest and mountain laurels.
? Story of the Forest Trail 1.9 mile loop Self-guided nature tour. alltrails.com hikingproject.com
Virginia State Parks Accessibility statement. The website states that there are 16 accessible trails amounting to 12 miles. For information, contact the State Parks Customer Service Center at 800-933-7275 or the individual parks.
The Trail Guides for the parks list many trails listed as “easy”. Their definition of easy is : “From .5 to 1 mile; grades are short, typically fewer than 100 feet and less than 10 percent of the trail length; easily accomplished by all users, including the elderly and those with physical or mental disabilities, with little risk of injury or fatigue”. There are too many of these trails for me to list here, but if you have some favorites, please let me know and I will add them.
Search by Amenities This webpage lets you search through the state parks using the features that you want.
High Bridge Trail State Park Phone 434-315-0457 Trail Guide
All the trail sections are described in the guide as easy. This 31 mile long rail/trail is “…..wide, level and generally flat. Its finely crushed limestone surface and dimensions make it easy to enjoy.” This park came up in my search for universally accessible trails in Virginia State Parks, but there is no mention of such use on this website.
Arlington County Parks and Recreation phone 703-228-7529
Map of Parks and Off Street Trails Trail Descriptions
Find a Park This page lets you filter parks by Amenities such as paved trails or accessible restrooms.
Lubber Run Park Map from Live and Let Hike
Lubber Run Trail 1.2 miles round trip. Paved, but with a few somewhat steep places.
Dawson Terrace Park Phone 703-228-1803 Trail Map
?Palisades trail 0.43 miles is rated “Easy to moderate”. “…a relaxing walk in the forest featuring ancient tulip poplar trees and views of the Potomac.”
Fort C. F. Smith Park Map
? The trail is 0.46 miles and rated easy. The surface is “….variable and is asphalt, concrete & gravel.” It is not listed as wheelchair accessible, but you might want to give the county parks a call.
Glencarlyn Park?? Map There is no specific information about the trails at this park other than they range from difficulty from “easy to difficult” and include nature trails.
Lacey Woods Park Map
0.34 mile “Trails through Lacey Woods offer a small escape from an urban environment. You will find mature trees, an azalea garden, and an active group controlling invasive plant species. You may even come across red salamanders who make their home among the logs here.”
Rock Spring Park Map
0.29 mile of a paved, easy trail. “Bridges cross the wooded stream at several locations and bring you closer to nature. Local gardeners have made enhancements here, and several volunteers including students from Nottingham School help to preserve the natural beauty.”
Thrifton Hill Park Map
? 0.39 mile Rated “easy to moderate” “…a pleasant walk through woods and open spaces perfect for taking a break. This passive park features a paved path and natural trail.”
Tuckahoe Park Map
0.47 mile easy. “…a refreshing and informative walk as you read the interpretive panels about nature. You will enjoy the wetland garden, forest, playground, and picnic area.”
Zachary Taylor Park Map
? One mile “easy to moderate” stone dust rail. “…a beautiful place to enjoy being outside with nature trails, paths and a stream.”
City of Virginia Beach Phone 757-385-0400 Trails Map
West Creek Natural Area “This natural area has been kept in its natural state with the exception of a series of shared use trails that total approximately 2.5 miles of soft path and .3 miles of paved ADA compliant trails. The trail system borders West Neck Road to the west and Princess Anne Road to the north.”
Fairfax County Trails Information and links to maps Major Parks Fairfax County Park Authority phone 703-324-8702
The county’s “Trail Buddy” is an interactive map which allows you to click on a trail to see its name, surface, and width. You can access this map with a smartphone: http://bit.ly/fairfaxtrailbuddy Difficulty is not mentioned, but many of these trails are paved.
Lake Accotink Park 703-569-3464 has a 3.9 mile rail trail which TrailLink.com describes as wheelchair accessible.
Lake Fairfax Park 703-471-5415 Map of trail system Most of the trails shown on the map are labeled “easiest”. Better call first to be sure.
Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Phone 703-631-0013 Map
? “There are approximately four miles of trails …. located in upland and bottomland forest and along the meadows. The trails are used for hiking, bird watching, jogging and walking. ” Difficulty is not given for these trails.
Huntley Meadows Park Phone 703-768-2525 “…a 1500-acre nature preserve that includes forests and regionally-rare marsh wetlands. It provides some of the best wildlife watching in Fairfax County.”
? The park has a 1/2 mile wetland boardwalk trail and a two mile “interpretive trail system.” The website gives no difficulty ratings for these trails, but StrollerFriendly Trails in Northern Virginia describes them as, “ADA-compliant, stroller friendly trails pass through the woods to a long boardwalk over the beautiful marsh.”
Sandy Bottom Nature Park Phone 757-825-4657 Park Map Brochure There are numerous trails in this park which are easy and probably more than these three are accessible. AllTrails describes them as wheelchair friendly.
Trillium Loop Trail 4.5 miles
Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center phone 434-361-0217 RVF Office phone 434-226-0446 See also Rockfish River Loop Trail
Rockfish Valley Track Trail From Kidsinparks.com “…. a flat, 1 mile loop that follows the South Fork of the Rockfish River and Reids Creek. The trail features riparian, field, and bog habitats and offers excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife.”
Ni River Trail
The Ni River Trail is an easy and partially wheelchair accessible trail near Fredericksburg, Virginia. It is maintained by the Spotslyvania Greenways Initiative. Location as described on Fredericksburg.com is “behind River Run Business Park off U.S. 1, across from Massaponax High School. It’s on land owned by Luck Development Partners and has a half-mile handicapped-accessible path covered with stone dust. ”
? The Salamander Loop of the Ni River Trail is about 2 miles long and loops past a wetland area and an old farm pond and includes an overlook of the Ni River basin. Local fauna include deer, beavers, foxes, birds and salamanders. Thank you to Bill Blevins for this description, “…Open to public. Fairly well groomed and wide trail through the woods. Many labeled trees along the path. There is a short loop and a longer loop with a spur trail along the river when it is not hunting season. I would say not accessible to wheelchairs but it is easily walked. There are 6 designated parking spots at the trailhead.” Here is a description by Plants Map. Video
Accessible Trails from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s website
Accessible Virginia is a private Website maintained by the Duke Family. It collects information for a variety of accessible locales, including National and State parks, private parks, and other places of interest to the outdoor enthusiast.
AllTrails Best Wheelchair Friendly Trails in Virginia A list of 83 trails deemed wheelchair friendly by AllTrails.com
AllTrails Map of Trails in DC area Difficulty and rating given for 137 trails in Virginia and Maryland surrounding the District of Columbia.
Nature For The Blind has a directory of Braille trails for almost every state in the US and for many other countries.
Northern Virginia Nature Centers Article from Northern Virginia Magazine, 9/4/2015
There are many nature centers in northern Virginia and many of these have nature trails. The websites to these centers rarely give any indication of the trails’ difficulty or accessibility. This article not only gives links to the centers, it provides phone numbers so you can call to inquire about a trail’s suitability for you.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy lists wheelchair accessible trails in Virginia.
Stroller Friendly Trails of Northern Virginia “…round-up of stroller friendly trails in Northern Virginia highlights paths that are easy to navigate and provide interesting diversions whether you’re inside or behind the stroller. Most of the paths are paved but we’ve also included dirt trails that are navigable with a sturdy stroller.”
Wheelchairtraveling.com is an outstanding resource.