At AllTrails, we firmly believe that people of all ages and all ability levels should have access to the beauty of the great outdoors.
Our definition of a wheelchair-friendly trail is a route that can be partially or fully navigated by those with limited mobility or using wheelchairs independently based on the criteria below. The “wheelchair-friendly” tag is added based on if a trail meets as many of the following criteria as possible (parameters compiled from a variety of accessibility standards guides*):
- A firm and smooth surface (paved, boardwalk, or packed dirt/gravel without tread obstacles)
- A maximum height of 2 inches (5 cm) for tread obstacles
- A minimum trail width of 3 feet (1 m) with turnouts for passing every 1000 feet (300 m) or minimum 5 feet (1.5 m) wide without turnouts
- Up to a 12% max running grade/slope and no more than 30% of the trail exceeding an 8.3% grade (5% is considered the equivalent of a standard ramp)
- A max cross (side-to-side) grade of 2%
- A maximum gap between bridge slats of ½ inch (1.25 cm)
- At least a 5-foot (1.5 m) trail width whenever a 180-degree turn is necessary (unless the trail is at least 3.5 feet (1 m) wide – then it can be 4 feet (1.2 m))
- A minimum height of 3 inches on trail edge protection barriers (7.5 cm)
- Handrails with gripping surfaces between 34 and 38 inches (86 - 96.5 cm)
- At least one viewing area for points of interest with a viewing height between 32 and 51 inches (81 -129.5 cm) and maneuverable space for wheelchairs to turn around
- Only mapping route sections that are shared with motor vehicles when there is no safe and accessible sidewalk or pedestrian trail available, with designated and marked bike lanes for protection preferably
Trails are described as “level/flat” if the estimated grade is up to 1%, “gentle” up to 3%, “mostly gentle” up to 5%, “moderately steep” if there are sections between 5% and 8%, “steep” if there are sections where the grade is up to 12%, and “very steep” if there are sections above 12%. Generally speaking, trails with grades over 8% may only be traversable with motorized or all-terrain mobility equipment and manual wheelchair or stroller users may need assistance on those trails. Please note that our grade information is an estimation and may change as the trail maps are updated over time.
We recognize there will be variation in how difficult the trails seem to different users based on the activity (biking, hiking, horseback riding, etc), type of equipment used, and ability level of each individual. You will need to use discretion in choosing which trail is right for you and we encourage users to check photos, comments, and accessibility information with local parks and recreation staff whenever possible before visiting. We will include all of the information we are currently aware of on the trail pages (or park page when there is park-wide accessibility information).
We will mark accessible facilities and known hazards (including but not limited to: staircases, bridges with access lips greater than 2 inches (5 cm) or steps, rotted or warped boards on bridges and boardwalks, steep drop offs without railings or edge barriers, large cracks or potholes in paved surfaces, street crossings, railway crossings, freeway under-crossings, lack of curb cuts, and narrow, overgrown, uneven, rocky, or blow down sections) along the trails with waypoints when possible.
You can help us and the AllTrails community by leaving trail reviews with detailed information and photos about which parts of your trip were or were not accessible! You can also suggest an edit to one of our trail pages. More info on that can be found here.
In order to support accessible recreation experiences for the greatest variety of user experiences we are also adding additional accessibility information to our park pages when available including:
- Protruding objects on a trail or areas of the trail with less than a minimum height of 80 inches (203 cm) of clearance for those with visual disabilities
- Trails or experiences not recommended for those with respiratory or cardiac disabilities due to low oxygen or being graded by park staff as highly strenuous
- Parking lots with designated handicapped-accessible parking spaces and striped access aisles, firm surfaces, a slope no greater than 2%, nighttime lighting, and directions on how to get to the trailhead from the parking area
- Shuttles and shuttle stops that can accommodate manual and/or motorized wheelchairs and the max dimensions of equipment they have room for
- Cross walks that are painted with striping, have curb cuts at least 36 inches (1 m) wide or median refuge islands, and have tactile warning domes/visual warning signs with contrast and/or auditory signals on when to cross at any street crossings
- Bathrooms with firm paths of travel, 32 inch (81 cm) clearance for entries and doorways, a 5 by 5 foot (1.5 by 1.5 m) turnaround space, grab bars on the back wall and at least one side, toilet height between 17 and 19 inches (43 - 48 cm), toilet paper dispensers within arms reach, roll-under sinks with a knee clearance of at least 27 inches but not over 34 inches (68.5 - 86 cm), and hand towel dispensers and mirrors not greater than 36 inches (91.5 cm) high
- Dressing rooms and showers in campsites either roll-in or transfer stalls (seat 17 - 19 inches or 43 - 48 cm) with grab bars and shower controls or hand-held shower sprayer within arms length from the seat
- Buildings (visitor centers, restaurants, lodges, cabins, gift shops, etc) or amphitheaters with ramps leading from the parking areas, doorways at least 32 inches wide (81 cm) without turn knob hardware, hallways at least 60 inches (1.5 m) wide, automatic door openers between 34 and 48 inches (86 - 122 cm) or outside door pressure less than 10 pounds (4.5 kg) and inside door pressure no greater than 5 pounds (2.25 kg) to open and a swing closing rate of 5 seconds or less, and non-slip floor surfaces
- Assistive devices available for rent or loan (special road access or parking permits, manual or beach wheelchairs, canes, walkers, assisted listening devices, etc.)
- Trail maps or presentations available in braille, large print, or audio formats
- Video presentations with closed-captioning
- Historical landmarks and tours with auditory and tactile experiences
- Guided opportunities such as accessible rafting trips or accessible Ranger-led programs (including ASL interpretation)
- Locations for where medical offices, staff, and equipment are available in a park, including where supplementary oxygen is available
- Picnic areas and camp sites with firm and stable paths of entry and table surfaces, and table space of at least 27 inches (68.5 cm) height, 19 inches (48 cm) deep, and 30 inches (76 cm) wide for knee clearance
- Beaches with paths providing wheelchair-accessible access
- Fishing piers with level access, at least a 32-inch (81 cm) width, and a 3.5-foot railing (1 m)
- Sensory-friendly playground, eating, or exhibit areas for those with sensory sensitivities
We deeply appreciate your patience and assistance as we work to improve our trails database! We have also answered some of the most common questions around accessibility below. If you have any additional feedback or questions, please reach out to our support team at email@example.com and we'll be happy to assist.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How can I find the wheelchair or stroller friendly trails or experiences on your site?
To find wheelchair-friendly trails on AllTrails website, type in the name of the city or park you would like to visit on our main page. Below the pictures, description, and map of your selected park or city there is a list with drop down menus to select a trail based on ‘Difficulty’, ‘Length’, ‘Elevation Gain’, ‘Route Type’, ‘Rating’ and ‘More Filters’. Clicking on ‘More Filters’ will bring up a list trail tags where there will be a Suitability section. Click on ‘Wheelchair Friendly’, ‘Stroller Friendly, ‘‘Paved’, or all of these to find trails that match the trail you want!
For mobile devices, there is a filter option in the top right of the screen. There you can follow the same steps by navigating to the ‘Suitability’ section and selecting ‘Wheelchair Friendly’, ‘Stroller Friendly’, or ‘Paved’ trails.
Accessible facilities and experiences available in parks will be listed on the park’s page in the description.
If the Wheelchair-Friendly tag is on a trail, does that mean that route will be fully accessible and meet all ADA standards?
No, it is important to note that the wheelchair-friendly tag only means that part of the trail meets the above ADA/ABA criteria and also that the accessibility level of a trail will vary widely depending on the equipment used and the ability level of the user. Notes in the description will provide additional information about where the most accessible portion likely ends, such as where the grade is estimated to be over 12% or where there are trail obstacles.
If a trail has the ‘Wheelchair-Friendly’ tag but no “Accessibility” section in the description, it likely has not yet been evaluated by our Accessibility team yet to see if it meets our accessibility standards or not, so proceed with caution.
How do I figure out which sections of the trail are in which grade category?
After clicking on the map, you can scroll left and right along the grade and elevation chart along the bottom and see what the grade percentage estimation is for approximately every 300 feet (100 meters) along the route. Positive numbers indicate uphill sections and negative numbers indicate downhill sections. As our grade calculations change frequently as routes are updated and redrawn, it is recommended to cross-check grade information with local sources before proceeding.
Why do some trails have only short accessibility information while others have paragraphs of information?
While our ultimate goal is to have all of the information listed above about trails, hazards, and facilities information on every trail page and for every park, most of our research is done by a small team and we may not be aware of the status of many of the criteria listed above for a trail from what is publicly available online. We will make sure to list everything related to accessibility that we have found through our research as we find it, but local feedback and trail reviews from users are invaluable to us because we recognize that there is important information that we will not be able to find from a distance, especially when it comes to trails that are not in state or national parks or when there is no accessibility website or park staff that we can contact to ask questions. Leaving reviews on trails you visit is a great way to give back to the AllTrails community and help others find their perfect trail.
*The following references were used in the creation of these guidelines:
a. US Federal ABAAS Accessibility Standards for Federally Developed Outdoor Areas: https://www.access-board.gov/aba/guides/chapter-10-outdoor/
b. Canadian Standards Association Built Environment Accessible Design: https://www.csagroup.org/wp-content/uploads/B651-12EN_ACC.pdf