ABCs of Accessible Trails: Missouri, Montana, Nebraska

Editor's Note: This is the ninth post in our ABCs of Accessible Trails series, which details the best accessible trails in State and National Parks across the country. Take a look at our previous posts for more: Alabama, Alaska, ArizonaArkansas, Colorado, CaliforniaConnecticut, Delaware, FloridaGeorgia, Hawaii, IdahoIllinois, Indiana, Iowa Kansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississipi

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.


Missouri

Mark Twain National Forest

Encompassing 1.5 million acres of beautiful public land in 29 counties in Missouri, Mark Twain National Forest maintains a healthy, working forest and restores Missouri’s natural communities.
— https://www.fs.usda.gov/mtnf

Check out the Pine Lake Trail which loops around the Pinewoods Lake. The trail is relatively flat and offers an opportunity for great views and bird sightings. 

 

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area

There are several trails to explore here that are paved and fairly flat. The site provides the public with unique wildlife viewing and provides an escape from its urban surroundings. Start with the Missouri Tree Trail where many trees native to Missouri are labeled along the route.

 

Katy Trail State Park

This park is the nation's longest rails-to-trails project! Designed for hikers and bikers, the park has lots of accessible trail options. There is also enough variety to keep you busy, with impressive Missouri River bluffs and frequent trailheads. 


 

Montana

Glacier National Park

Known as the "Crown of the Continent", Glacier National Park is the headwaters for streams that flow to the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and to Hudson's Bay. While remote, the views are absolutely spectacular. 

https://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm

https://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm

Check out the Running Eagle Falls Nature Trail or the Swiftcurrent Nature Trail. Both are about 0.25 mile long and feature a stabilized soil that is packed down for smooth rolling. A portion of the Trail of the Cedars is accessible to those with all-terrain chairs. 

 

Lolo National Forest

The Lolo National Forest is located in west central Montana and encompasses two million acres. We have lots of recreation opportunities such as camping, water sports, and hiking.
— http://www.fs.usda.gov/lolo/

 

There are many trails to explore at Lolo! The Maclay Flat Nature trail has an accessible loop of 1-2 miles which is mostly gravelled. There are interpretive signs and a chance of spotting wildelife. For a shorter option, check out the Blue Mountain Trail. This 0.25 mile interpretive loop has great views of the distant mountains and Missoula Valley. 

 

Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest

Welcome to the Helena National Forest and the “million acre backyard” of our local communities. The accessible forest landscape here provides abundant opportunities for local residents and visitors to enjoy our wildlife, history and scenery. Helena Forest roads and trails support a balance of motorized and non-motorized recreation including: hiking. biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, OHV riding, snowmobiling and driving for pleasure.
— http://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/helena/recreation

There are 1,000 miles of designated trails here with a variety of challenges and opportunities. The first mile of the the three-mile Trout Creek Canyon Trail is wheelchair accessible and offers spectacular viewing opportunities of magnificent limestone formations. You can pick up an interpretive brochure at the trailhead and refer to it as you reach each of the ten numbered benchmarks along this first mile. 

http://www.fs.usda.gov/helena/

http://www.fs.usda.gov/helena/


Nebraska

Oglala National Grasslands

Located in the most northwestern corner of Nebraska, north of Crawford, you’ll find the unique landscape of the Oglala National Grasslands. Find your way to the Hudson-Meng Bone Bed site where you can take a tour and learn about the history of this area, walk through the unique features of the Toadstool Geologic Park, or just spend some quiet time in the wide open spaces of the 94,000 acres of mixed grass prairies.
— https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nebraska/recarea/?recid=30328

Fort Kearney State Recreation Area

Fort Kearny State Recreation Area offers 186 acres dotted with sandpit lakes. In the spring, the world’s largest concentration of sandhill cranes and waterfowl gathers in the central Platte River valley. Facilities include electrical and primitive camp pads, showers, dump station, modern restrooms, water, picnic tables, grills, shelters, wheelchair-accessible fishing pier, nature trail, non-power boating and hike-bike trail.
— http://outdoornebraska.gov/fortkearnysra/

This is an awesome spot to see the sandhill crane migration in the spring! Parts of the Hike-Bike trail are accessible. 

 

Pioneers Park Nature Center

Since 1963 the Nature Center has served the Lincoln area as an environmental education center and wildlife sanctuary. Eight miles of hiking trails wind through various habitats and take visitors past non-releasable raptor exhibits, as well as bison, elk, and white-tailed deer.
— http://lincoln.ne.gov/city/parks/naturecenter/

The Nature Center is a great place to visit in all seasons. You can start by checking out the animal exhibits and listening to the birds in the bird garden!  Then hit the trails for wildlife viewings.