As the U.S. National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary, there’s never been a better time for those who use mobility products to visit and enjoy our national parks.
Even more, now in the 26th year of the ADA, access to our national parks is more prevalent than ever. From the stunning granite-lined valley of Yosemite National Park to the poignant history of the Statue of Liberty, our national parks provide breathtaking access for all. And, importantly, don’t forget your Access Pass!
No matter if you choose one of these terrific national parks or any other of the 58 national parks, don’t forget to check in at the Visitors Center and fill out the simple form to receive a National Park Access Pass. The Access Pass allows anyone with a permanent disability to receive free admission to any of the national parks.
So, what are our top five picks? Well, that’s a tough one, as there’s so many stunning national parks from coast to coast. However, here are five that particularly rise above others when it comes to placing those with mobility needs in the middle of our nation’s best.
Yosemite National Park
Based in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, Yosemite was the inspiration of naturalist John Muir, a significant figure in the founding of our national parks. Among the absolute most stunning accessible nature paths and destinations in the country is Yosemite’s Mirror Lake. In the shadow of Half Dome, Mirror Lake is a seasonal lake on Tenaya Creek, A one‐mile road leads to the lake and is easy to access due to its paved surface. At its culmination is a breathtaking mountain lake scattered with granite boulders.
Mammoth Cave National Park
An extraordinary national treasure based in Kentucky, Mammoth Cave National Park is the world’s longest known cave system at over 400 miles. Although Mammoth Cave has been off limits to mobility users for over a decade, this summer (2016) has ushered in all new accessibility, allowing a mind-blowing view of the cave for all. What’s more, Mammoth Cave features a beautiful, accessible boardwalk to the Sand Cave opening, which offers a fantastic view of the surrounding nature.
Yellowstone National Park
Spanning 3,500 square miles between Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone is best known for its geysers. For those using mobility products, there’s an extraordinary ADA 1.5-mile path leading to the Morning Glory Hot Springs. The Hot Springs are named after the Morning Glory flower, both of which feature stunning colors. It’s among nature’s rarest sights.
Denali National Park
Encompassing 6 million acres of Alaska’s interior wilderness, Denali National Park and Preserve is untamed nature at its best. The best known feature is Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest peak. The park is known for its wildlife, including moose and caribou. Among the parks many ADA trails is the McKinley Station Trail. The McKinley Station Trail is a 1.5-mile adventure that leads you through a representative sample of the parks diversity, from the Alaska Range to the Taiga Forest.
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island National Park
A Ferry ride away from downtown New York to New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty sits on Liberty Island, an iconic symbol of the United States. Just as Liberty and Ellis Islands have welcomed so many over the decades, they’ve become remarkably mobility accessible in recent years. While the grounds of the Statue of Liberty offer spectacular views, the Ellis Island Museum of Immigration gives a tremendous insight into so much of our nation’s history and our diverse population.
Indeed, our national parks have been preserved for all to enjoy. And, fortunately, they are more accessible than ever – so enjoy!