Accessibility in the Outdoors

Adventuring with Mobility Challenges

Local Wheelchair Accessible Trails

  • Bangor City Forest
  • Acadia National Park
    • Jesup Path and Hemlock Path
    • Jordan Pond also has a variety of small accessible trails. Although not quite a trail, the intertidal zone has parts between Bar Island and Bar Harbor that are wheelchair accessible
      • 60 miles from campus
      • See the full accessibility guide for the park here
      • Resources for visual and hearing impairments are also available on request
  • Maine Coastal Island National Wildlife Refuge
Are you curious about whether a trail is accessible or not? Here’s some things that make a trail wheelchair accessible: Trails should be a minimum of 3 ft wide, 5ft if a 180 degree turn is necessary. Tread obstacles should generally not be over 2 inches tall. The ground should be firm and/or packed. Maximum slope (at any point) should be no more than a 12% grade. A small wheelchair is shown at the bottom of this graphic.
How can you help improve trail accessibility? Take pictures of barriers, parking lots and other facilities, trail surfaces and conditions, etc. and post them to a site like Maine trail finder of all trails. If you see a blockage on the trail, tell someone!

Additional Resources for Finding Accessible Trails

Accessible Nature

  • This site lists a wide range of accessible trails across the state of Maine with a ranking system to show if a trail is suitable for wheelchairs, or if it is suitable for limited mobility users that do not require a wheelchair. Information is available for other states.

Trail Access Project
Disabled Hikers

Visual Impairments

What is a Braille Trail?

These are nature trails with aides to help visually impaired visitors independently experience the trail. These usually have braille informational signs, giving them their name. They also can have guide ropes, audio components, and other aspects such as tactile walkways


We have one here in Maine, the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses. This is in Boothbay, in the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. It features braille informational signs and a sensory garden. 

What is a sensory garden? Sensory gardens are outdoor garden spaces designed to stimulate the senses. Some, such as the Lerner Garden in Boothbay Maine double as braille trails. They can be great resources for a wide range of disabilities, as well as for non-disabled users. In two corners of the graphic are flowers, and in one is the rainbow infinity symbol.