They say that getting outside and doing moderate exercise is good for chronic pain, endometriosis, Crohn’s Disease, and pretty much every other health problem on earth. What better place to go for a walk than a National Park?
But which NPs provide the best access and services to disabled folks? Here’s an overview of 5 National Parks in the state of California.
Yosemite National Park: One of the most accessible parks, national or otherwise, in California. Because it’s more a small town than a wilderness area, Yosemite Valley offers many recreation opportunities for folks with all sorts of disabilities. Various restaurants and shops make it easier for visitors with special diets to grab something to eat.
Death Valley National Park: Enough amazing scenery in Death Valley is accessible by car to make it a great sightseeing destination for those of us who can’t always take long jaggedy hikes. Just be aware that planning is key for alltravelers, disabled or otherwise. Outside of Furnace Creek, amenities and facilities (that is, food of any kind or bathrooms) are nearly nonexistant.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks: Plenty of visitor’s centers with sedate Nature Trails and clean restrooms make these two congenitally conjoined parks fairly attractive to disabled travelers. But BYO food to both fraternal twin parks, whether you’ve got severe allergies or you can eat anything–food service at SeKi makes MickeyD taste like El Bulli.
Redwood National and State Parks: The accessibility and comfort measures of the Redwood Parks varies almost as much as their locales. Visitors centers have restrooms but usually no food. A few restaurants perch along Highway 101, the main thoroughfare through the Parks region. Hikes run the gamut from a 50-foot stroll to the nearest giant Coast Redwood to multi-mile treks with steep crawls up and down cliffs.
Lassen National Volcanic Park: It pains me to say it (har har), but Lassen may be the least pain-and-disabilities friendly national park in California. Between its lofty height, lack of services, and many great sights that lie more than a mile’s hike off the main road, it’s just a tough one to take. Which isn’t to say you can’t or shouldn’t–I’ve been to Lassen and I fully intend to go back!
This is just the beginning of a series–got a favorite U.S. National Park? Comment and tell us about it!