Kentucky 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.
Daniel Boone National Forest – The forest has more than 600 miles of trail. Here is a long page with links to descriptions for each day use trail, but no way of telling which ones are accessible without visiting each link. Their phone number is 859-745-3100.
Barren Fork Accessible Heritage Trail is a paved, 0.75 mile trail to the overlook of the arch.
Thank you to Myra Williamson for this helpful reply to my query about accessibility: “Our other trails are highly variable, with both easy and difficult sections found along most routes. Therefore, we do not advertise other trails as accessible. Due to the rugged, hilly nature of the forests in Kentucky most will not be accessible. However, we encourage visitors to explore and try new trails to see if they are suitable for their needs.
There are a few other opportunities on the forest that may be of interest to your readers. The Alpine Picnic Area does not offer trails, but is a newly renovated picnic area with accessible picnic sites, group shelter, playground and vault toilets. It may be of interest to individuals looking for a place to host a reunion or take the family for a picnic.
Many of the boat ramps at Cave Run Lake and Laurel River Lake provide at least one accessible parking space and an accessible vault toilet.
On the north end of the forest in Red River Gorge Geological Area, Skybridge provides an accessible overlook of the arch. Nearby is Gladie Cultural Learning Center (visitor center) which is also accessible. This area includes a designated scenic byway which is great for individuals with limited mobility. It provides an opportunity to drive through a very scenic part of the forest, with the two stops mentioned where they can get out and experience the outdoors in a setting that is accessible.”
Thank you to Myra Williamson of the Forest Service for her helpful reply to my query regarding accessibility in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky.
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.
Mammoth Cave National Park
“Mammoth Cave National Park preserves the cave system and a part of the Green River valley and hilly country of south central Kentucky. This is the world’s longest known cave system, with more than 400 miles explored.”
Accessibility and descriptions of ranger-led tours Phone 270-758-2180 Map
Mammoth Cave National Park offers sign interpreter services for cave and surface activities to visitors free of charge. Arrangements can be made by contacting the park two weeks in advance. Call 270-758-2417.
Mammoth Cave Accessible Tour 0.5 mile. “mobility assistive devices such as wheelchairs, scooters, walkers or canes are permitted on this tour, but are not available. NPS employees will not transport or aid visitors in using assistive equipment. If visitors need assistance with the Park’s accessible features, they must bring a companion with them for aid. Assistive devices will need to be decontaminated upon exiting the cave to limit the spread of White Nose Syndrome.”
Frozen Niagara Tour 0.25 mile. Walkers allowed, but no wheelchairs
Heritage Trail is a 0.75 mile The trail begins at the end of the footbridge near the Mammoth Cave Hotel.
Sloan’s Crossing Pond Walk is a 0.4 mile boardwalk that goes “around the edge of a marshy pond. Wayside exhibits along the way help you understand the pond. The pond features an accessible picnic area.” Here is a video on YouTube, complete with bird and frog calls.
Sand Cave Trail is a 0.1 mile boardwalk to the site of a fatal entrapment that took place in 1925. The trailhead is at the park’s eastern entrance, on the Cave City Road.
Travel Tips for Persons in Wheelchairs by Kentucky Appalachian Rural Rehabilitation Network is a wonderful resource for parks in Kentucky – mostly state, but some county and a few federal.
Part 1 covers:
- Bad Branch Falls
- Barren River State Park
- Breaks Interstate Park
- Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park
- Carr Creek State Park
- Cumberland Gap National
- Historical Park
- Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
- Grove Marina at Laurel Lake
- Holly Bay Marina at Laurel Lake
- Levi Jackson State Park
- Mammoth Cave National Park
- Natural Bridge State Resort Park
- Old Mulkey Meeting House State Historical Site
- Pine Mountain State Resort Park
- Trace Branch Campground and Recreation Area.
Part 2 covers:
- Fishing Creek Recreational Area
- Fishtrap Lake State Park
- Fort Boonesborough State Park
- General Burnside Island State Park
- Jenny Wiley State Park
- Kingdome Come State Park
- Lee’s Ford Marina
- Old Fort Harrod State Park
- Paintsville Lake State Park
- Pennyrile Forest State Park
- Pulaski County Park
- Rough River Resort State Park
- Trail Water Recreational Area at Rough River.
Part 3 covers:
- Boone Station State Historic Site
- E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park
- John James Audubon State Park
- Kenlake State Resort Park
- Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park
- Land Between the Lakes National Park
- Mineral Mound State Park
- My Old Kentucky Home
- Taylorsville Lake State Park
- Waveland State Historic Site
- Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site
Part 4 covers:
- Big Bone Lick State Park
- Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park
- Carter Caves State Resort Park
- Constitution Square State Historic Site
- Dale Hollow State Resort Park
- Grayson Lake State Park
- Green River Lake State Park
- Kincaid Lake State Park
- Lincoln Homestead State Park
- Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site
- White Hall State Historic Site
Kentucky separates “Resort State Parks” which have lodging and restaurants from “Recreation State Parks”, which have camping and picnic areas. There are 49 state parks and a phone number given for each. There are a lot of trails, quite a few of them rated “Easy”, but how easy? Check out the Travel Tips above and/or call ahead to ask before visiting these parks. And please, let me know where you find truly easy trails I should include!
Lake Malone State Park – The 1.5-mile Laurel Trail or the .25-mile Wildflower Trail are rated “easy”.
City of Radcliff
Saunders Springs Nature Preserve is a heavily wooded natural area with historic features. A handicapped accessible trail winds through mature hardwood forest past cascading waterfall as it leads from a parking area at the old water plant to the lake. A handicapped accessible picnic area is located at the top of the hill. phone (270) 351-4470 or (270) 351-4079 email: email@example.com
Toyota Environmental Education Center Nature Trail, in Georgetown, has about 1/4 mile of this trail is wheelchair accessible.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy lists wheelchair accessible trails in Kentucky.
Wheelchairtraveling.com is an outstanding resource.