4 Must-Experience Wheelchair Accessible Outdoor Activities in CapNY

There are countless outdoor activities to partake in during CapNY’s spring and summer months. 10 state parks. Countless trails & opportunity. It’s important for us that CapNY has outdoor experiences that are accessible to EVERYONE across our community.

In this article, we’ll cover FOUR must-experience wheelchair outdoor activities that you should add to your to-do list on an upcoming weekend. Check it out!

1. Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, Albany County

Located at 56 Game Farm Road, Delmar

Five Rivers is a natural wonder of CapNY, with over 450 acres of fields, forests, and wetlands. It offers accessible programming for children, adults, and groups. Here you’ll find their upcoming programs and events. Whether you’re looking for guided or solo exploration, with over ten miles of trails for exploration, Five Rivers “fosters discovery, spiritual refreshment and physical fitness through wholesome outdoor recreation.”

Accessible Features:

All amenities of the Visitor Center, Comfort Station, picnic area, Woodlot Trail and Nature’s Backyard Trail are wheelchair accessible, as are several hard-surfaced interior routes. Sign interpreters are available upon request for education programs. Braille, large print and audio format interpretive guides are available upon request, as well as wheelchairs, walkers and a scooter.

2. Hand Hollow Conservation Area, Columbia County

Here’s the map with the different loops and trailheads!
-To enter at the Beaver Byway: 4079 County Rd 9, East Chatham, NY
-To enter at the Lake Loop: 451 Gale Hill Road, East Chatham, NY (use this entrance for kayaking access)
-If you are planning to use the Gale Hill Road entrance please use 398 Gale Hill Road when entering in GPS. The 451 is the official 911 road number, but some GPS systems lead elsewhere. 

Hand Hollow includes about 3 miles of trails, most of it being pure forest. Explorers can admire an open meadow and kayak or fish in Meizinger Lake, which includes an accessible kayak launch. You have a great chance of catching a peek at a beaver and/or great blue heron if you observe closely. Sprinkled with spring wildflowers, it makes for a beautiful spot for meditating, gazing, and photos.

Accessible Features:

The parking area and fishing pier on Spiegelberg Lake are both accessible. Click here for more.

Kaaterskill Wild Forest

3. Kaaterskill Wild Forest, Greene County

Location: 70 Catskill View Cir, Saugerties, NY 12477

Kaaterskill Falls

This forest, of almost 8,000 acres, is a popular destination due to the iconic Kaaterskill Falls, which can be enjoyed by all…from Laurel-House Road parking area, it’s 0.3 miles to the observation platform overlooking the falls.

Despite misconception, there’s more than hiking trails to be explored here. There’s accessible camping, horseback riding, and more.

Accessible Features:

General information on accessible recreation includes links to other locations with accessible recreation opportunities and information on permits for motorized access. Kaaterskill Wild Forest features several horse trails with accessible horse-mounting platforms at various trailheads. Additionally, the Escarpment Trail leads to an accessible trailside campsite.

4. Carters Pond Wildlife Management Area, Washington County

Carters Pond Wildlife Management Area, Washington County

Location: Ferguson Road & Calhoun Lane Washington County Rte. 49, Ferguson Road, East Greenwich, NY, 12834

Wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation all encompass the purpose of Carters Pond area. Hiking, hunting, fishing, birding, and animal viewing are all popular activities there.

If hiking is calling your name, check out the mile long Interpretive Nature trail. In 2012, staff and volunteers made half of the loop into a fully accessible trail. “The trail offers an opportunity to learn more about nature and examine the relationship between wildlife, habitat, soils, and climate. There are many species of trees, plants, fungi, and ferns to identify along the path in both upland and wetland habitat communities.”

Accessible Features:

A wheelchair accessible half-mile loop trail and path to an elevated viewing platform exists within the nature trail described above. The accessible loop trail goes through several habitat areas, providing views of wooded wetlands, upland forest, and the large marshy pond. The trail has a hardened stone dust surface and includes a boardwalk, several foot bridges, and ample passing spaces. It is connected to a designated accessible parking area. There is no privy at this location.

A shorter trail leads from the accessible parking area up a very slight grade to a point where it meets a wooden boardwalk with railings. The level board walk extends out toward the pond as the surrounding ground slopes fairly steeply down to the water’s edge. The short board walk ends at a small deck with railings that allows room for a wheelchair to turn around. The viewing platform at the end of the boardwalk provides a pleasant bird’s eye view of the pond.

Now get outside & explore! Tag us in your pics @gocapny on all platforms!

Carters Pond

Written by: Gabby Fisher

Gabby is a brand strategist, entrepreneur, real estate investor, matchmaker, & hypewoman. She is also the Lead Consultant on the CapNY Brand Initiative. She lives in Schenectady with her poodle Mochi and 60+ houseplants. Connect with her on LinkedIn!