Before kids, I worked in Early Intervention. I helped provide developmental services to young children ages 0-3 with delays and disabilities. Some kids needed less support than others; some kids have lifelong needs. Several kids I worked with are in wheelchairs and always will be. When I’m in the mountains, those kids are often on my mind. Finding ways to share love of outdoors is important to me, and I wish the outdoors were less discriminatory. Being aware of wheelchair accessible hikes is important to me-please reach out to me if you know of some!
There are options, though. Paved trails are open to wheelchairs and bikes, and both Utah and Salt Lake Counties have some great ones. One is Silver Lake Loop, up at Brighton. This location is the trailhead for at least a few hikes, but the beginning is a loop around a lake that is open to all abilities. It is definitely wheelchair accessible.
Where: Big Cottonwood Canyon, near the Nordic Center
Grown up difficulty: easy
Five year old difficulty: easy
Length and elevation: around 1 mile with a 50 foot elevation change
To see: wildflowers in the spring and early summer, lake, fish, aspens, moose sometimes
Busyness: busy on weekends
This hike is a hit for my kids. It’s wheelchair accessible, has a couple places to fish, and we’ve seen a moose here too! The wildflowers here in the summer are unbelievable-we got to see lots of elephants’ head and mountain bluebells in the spring. We got a lot of use again out of our Pocket Naturalist Guidebook here as well. Oh also, Pokemon Go works here.
A lot of the hike is exposed, but there is a portion through the woods. We love watching the aspens change over the seasons, and there are some great climbing rocks around too. The mountainside of this trail branches off for hikes for Lake Solitude and Twin Lakes Reservoir. These are great hikes as well, but not wheelchair accessible.
This is such a good hike for beginners, for differently abled people, and for a quick trip up the mountains. Check out this blog post, where a family with a daughter in a wheelchair went to this trail.
Faves: aspens and water, short, little elevation gain
Gear: little to none! You can take a lot if you want, and none if you want. Strollers and wheelchairs can use this trail.