Summer is the perfect opportunity to get outside with your wheels. Husband and I recently spent a long weekend exploring from our wheelchairs right in our home state of Minnesota. While visiting one of the great lakes, we discovered the joys of wheelchair hiking!
Our first day we visited a boardwalk that wrapped around the entire perimeter of the lake, providing the perfect opportunity to take a leisurely roll and enjoy the sunshine. The lake walk provided the same access to the lakefront, biking paths, shops and restaurants to wheelchair users as to able-bodied patrons.
The next day we visited a state park with paved hiking paths for both hikers and wheelchair hikers alike. Despite the frequent hills, the paved paths not only provided a smooth stroll but provided us access to go from the tops of the waterfalls to the bottom of hills that we may not have been able to access otherwise.
We climbed almost all the paths that were available, even getting creative by pushing ourselves uphill backwards to take some of the pressure off of our arms after a long stretch upwards. Downhill was a much needed relief as we coasted along the woods, taking in the sights of the trees and flowers around us and snapping some awesome pictures.
After almost two full days of wheelchair hiking, our arms were definitely letting us know! Exploring nature with your wheelchair can not only provide a great workout, it's also an activity that allows you to go at your own pace, relax and spend time outdoors with other wheelers and able-bodied friends and family alike.
A state park is a great place to start your wheelchair hiking adventure. Many state parks are generally very accessible, providing a place for people traveling on wheels of all kinds to take in the sights and sounds of nature often with paved pathways and accessible bathrooms in the visitor's centers.
Traillink.com is a great resource for finding wheelchair accessible trails in your area. Their website is easy to use, providing pictures of the trails, how long the trails are and what the surface area of each trail is made from so you can find one that will work best for your mobility equipment.