There are an endless number of blogs and guidebooks out there about the outdoors, giving hikers access to information about trail conditions, difficulty, and directions, but there is one problem: the majority of the information out there assumes that the person reading it is able-bodied. How many times have you found a trail description that listed the trail as “easy,” only to start the hike and realize it is not easy for you?
This website is different. Written by disabled hikers for disabled hikers, we give you information that other guides overlook. Our descriptions will include:
- Getting there: Road conditions, type of roadway, how curvy or narrow. Information on available amenities (accessible restrooms, potable water, picnic areas) and number of accessible parking spots at the trailhead. This information is often overlooked, but for people driving accessible vans or who have difficulty navigating roadways it is essential. Directions will include possible public transportation options. We also note if cell phone service is available.
- Trail conditions: Slope, width, and surface (“tread”) of the trail to include rocky/muddy/slippery places. Obstacles and barriers such as rocks or downed trees, details on boardwalks, bridges, or stairs. What type of mobility aid or adaptive equipment may be needed. We also make note of places to rest (benches, tables, a particularly nice log).
- Elevation: We’ll include detailed elevation information along the entire trail as well as total elevation change, to include length and grade of each elevation change. An elevation profile will be posted whenever possible. If it is a loop trail, we’ll list the direction of the elevation change. Slope or incline will be noted, along with information on any particularly troublesome areas.
- Segments and trailheads: If there are multiple trailheads, we’ll give detailed information for each segment with the access point clearly defined.
- Difficulty: We can’t qualify how difficult a trail will be for you because ability ranges greatly between people, and can vary from day to day. But we will give a Spoon Rating – the number of spoons we think the trail might require on a 1-5 scale. The rating is a general guide to help you find and decide upon a trail.
Every guide on this website has been written after personally visiting the trail at least once; unlike other accessibility websites, this site does not post trail information collected from the internet. Our goal is to provide you with as much detailed information as we can so that you can make an informed decision.
We will try to avoid descriptive but unhelpful phrases like “a short elevation gain” or “this trail winds through…” without giving you details on what it means. We’ll provide as many photos as we can. We are mindful that trail and roadway conditions change rapidly, so all of our posts will note the date, and we will update them as frequently as we can.
This website and our social media are a hub for a community of disabled hikers. We accept trail reports from anywhere in the country, host events, offer helpful information about hiking while disabled, suggest tools and resources, and will eventually include a forum and multimedia offerings. Join our Instagram and Facebook communities. Check out other media and articles about Disabled Hikers.
About the Founder
Hi! I’m Syren Nagakyrie, (they/them) and I am a writer, community organizer, and lover of the outdoors. I have hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, and chronic pain and fatigue, among other conditions. I also have C-PTSD and depression. I was/am so tired of scouring hiking guides for information and feeling excluded from the outdoor community. I was inspired to start Disabled Hikers in March 2018 while hiking a trail that was listed as easy but presented numerous obstacles and accessibility issues.
I think it is important for the people who write guides to give context on their ability, as our ability influences the way we share information. It is important for you to know that: I am able to walk without a mobility aid about half of the time, (depending upon injuries and fatigue), I can generally see, hear, and speak clearly, I am able to drive. On a really good day I am able to hike 4-6 miles, but it results in severe exhaustion (I need to rest for a number of days following). Identities I inhabit include white, queer, sick and disabled, from a poor/working class background. I am also a domestic violence survivor and have experienced an out-of-order death in my immediate family.
I am based in the Pacific Northwest of the United States; the majority of the hikes I publish will be in western Washington and western Oregon. If you are a disabled hiker in another area and would like to publish a guide or trail report, send it in here.
Disclosure: Trail and road conditions change rapidly. The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. You are responsible for your decision to attempt a trail. This website, it’s founder or writers do not accept any liability. The information on this website is not guaranteed to be accurate.