field of poppies and cumulus clouds in a blue sky

Communing with Nature

Sometimes all you want to do is get out in the country, somewhere pretty, so don't forget the simple things in life—beaches, park trails and wilderness. Access your state's Web sites for accessible trails at state parks, forest preserves and beaches.

If you need help getting started, read Easy Access to National Parks: The Sierra Club Guide for People With Disabilities, by Wendy Roth and contributor Michael Tompane. No one should miss out on seeing at least some of America's 350 national parks. See our section on National Park Guides on the left for more information.

A unique organization offering outdoor adventures to all people of varying abilities is Wilderness Inquiry, located in Minneapolis. They offer U.S. or international destinations for canoeing, horsepacking, hiking, whitewater rafting, dogsledding, skiing, kayaking, or going on a safari.  

If you're interested in visiting Yosemite National Park, download their Accessibility Guide or pick it up at entrance stations, or visitor centers at the park. 

US Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Fish and Wildlife Service sites charging entrance fees accept the Interagency Access Pass. This pass is valid for the pass holder's lifetime and admits pass holder and up to 3 persons free of charge at per-person fee areas. The pass holder must be blind or permanently disabled.  See other requirements by clicking Interagency Access Pass above.  Passes are issued in person. To find the office near you, click here.

For your information, the U.S. Access Board has issued requirements that are now part of the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards.  They apply to national parks and other federal outdoor areas such as trails, picnic and camping areas, viewing areas, and beach access routes.