Editor's Note: This is the fourth post in our ABCs of Accessible Trails series, which details the best accessible trails in State and National Parks across the country. Check our list for Alabama, Alaska, and Arizona here, Arkansas, Colorado, and California here and Connecticut, Delaware, and Florida here.
The America the Beautiful Pass, otherwise known as the The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, is a free lifetime pass available to US citizens or permanent residents of the United States that have been medically determined to have a permanent disability. Passes can be obtained via phone, online, or in person at any of these recreation sites.
Amicalola Falls State Park - West Ridge Falls Access Trail
Visitors of the West Ridge Falls Access Trails at Amicalola Falls State Park can enjoy one of the best views of the falls along this gently sloping trail. With a flat surface made of recycled-tires, this is a great trail for riders of all ability levels.
Skidaway Island State Park - Big Ferry Trail
Big Ferry Trail at Skidaway Island State Park offers slightly varying - but mostly level - terrain, so it's a good option for riders who are looking for a moderate challenge, which makes it an especially well suited trail for GRIT Freedom Chair riders! This nearly-level trail clocks in at 3 miles through the park's Northern expanse and offers some of the park's most picturesque views of both marsh and forest. Pro Tip: If you're looking for a trail with a paved surface, try the 1 mile Sandpiper Trail loop instead!
Tallulah Gorge State Park - Shortline Trail
The Shortline Trail, otherwise known as the Tallulah Falls Rail-Trail is a 1.7 mile paved pathway that rounds through the beautiful southern Appalachian Forest. Travelers will have the opportunity to cross the Tallulah River over a small suspension bridge and take in gorgeous views of the gorge and its spectacular waterfalls.
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park - Earthquake Trail
The Earthquake Trail at Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park got its name when a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in 1983 caused enough damage to require a paved road to be closed to vehicles. The one mile trail begins across the street from the Kilauea Visitor Center and leads to the Waldron Ledge Overlook, which gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy a panoramic view of the Kilauea Caldera and Halema`uma`u Crater.
Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge - Kealia Coastal Boardwalk
This 2,200-foot elevated wooden boardwalk by Maʻalaea Bay offers visitors access of 2000+ feet of wetlands, with self-guided interpretive exhibits along the way featuring information about the native and visiting birds that can be found there. Pro tip: in winter visitors have the opportunity to spot humpback whales along the way.
Lydgate State Park - Ke Ala Hele Makalae
Ke Ala Hele Makalae is Hawaiian for "The Path that Goes by the Coast," and perfectly describes this beautiful multi-use path. Currently clocking in at 7 paved miles, this path follows the coast from Nawiliwili to Anahola on the island of Kauai (also known as the "Garden Isle"). This gorgeous trail also offers visitors access to recreation areas and beautiful beaches along the island's eastern shoreline.
Idaho Panhandle National Forest - Mineral Point Trail
The Mineral Point Trail at Idaho Panhandle National Forest is another great option for riders seeking varied terrain, in other words, great for Freedom Chair riders! Widely acknowledged as one of the most beautiful trails on the Sandpoint River District, this trail offers visitors gentle slopes, abundant wildflowers, and excellent views. Pro Tip: scope out the terrain ahead of time by taking a virtual tour of the trail.
Harriman State Park - John Muir Trail
The John Muir Trail, whose namesake documented his ten day stay in the area 102 years ago, is a paved trail that was completed in 2013 and extends three quarters of a mile. Fishing enthusiasts rejoice: the trail includes a fully accessible fishing point - one of two within the park, while eco-friendly visitors can appreciate the park's use of Road Oyl - a pine resin that binds packed gravel together.
Heyburn State Park - Trail of the Coeur d' Alenes
The Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes is a spectacular tour that was named one of the 25 top trails in the nation in 2012 by the Rails to Trails Conservancy. The 72 mile paved trail crosses 19 trailheads and skirts the beautiful Lake Coeur d'Alenes. Pro tip: Scope out the scene ahead of time with another virtual tour, and be sure to bring a water bottle, as there is not much potable water available along the trail.