written by Anna Bird | photo by Peter Roome
Oregon has a lot to offer in terms of sightseeing and adventuring, but many places aren’t accessible to people with disabilities or limited mobility. It’s important for everyone to be able to get outside and enjoy natural splendors, so we culled a list of five accessible adventures around the state.
Diamond Lake is a popular summer locale for many people. Its popularity undoubtedly has something to do with the beautiful scenery but is cemented by the accessibility of the place for people of varying abilities. There are accessible fishing spots, campgrounds, lodging and water rentals, along with an eleven-mile paved trail circling the lake. Enjoy views of Mount Bailey and Mount Thielsen beyond the sparkling lake.
Darlingtonia State Natural Site
North of Florence, this eighteen-acre park is home to the rare Darlingtonia californica, a carnivorous plant that is also called a “cobra lilly.” An accessible boardwalk leads over a bog where the plants await their next meal—don’t worry, they only seek protein in insect form. It’s an interesting pit stop just off Highway 101 in the Siuslaw National Forest.
Lava Lands – Sunriver
The Lava Lands Interpretive Center is at the heart of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Central Oregon. The monument includes more than 54,000 acres of lakes, lava flows and angular geological features, and the interpretive center is where you can learn the cultural and scientific history of the area. Outside the center is the 5.5-mile, paved Sun-Lava path, where you can explore beneath towering pines and listen to ranger talks.
Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area
Oregon’s tallest lighthouse, Yaquina Head Lighthouse near Newport, stands at ninety-three feet on a basalt headland. You can explore the surrounding area and watch harbor seals or seasonally-migrating whales from wheelchair-accessible observation decks or learn about the history of the lighthouse at the ADA-accessible interpretive center. Better yet, there is a special clicker ADA-accessibility that opens a gate to the road that leads to tide pools.
Lost Lake is another popular summer destination, located in the Mt. Hood National Forest. The day-use area and campground is wheelchair accessible, and near Lost Lake Resort are two miles of accessible trails. You can also try your luck at snagging a rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout or Kokanee salmon from the accessible fishing docks.
For more trip ideas, group adventures, and lessons, check out Oregon Adaptive Sports, as well as the U.S. Forest Service “Accessible Adventures in the Pacific Northwest” video series on Youtube.
We would love to get your feedback, plus more suggestions of accessible places in Oregon, in the comments below.
Great article! thanks for doing this. We took my mom in a wheelchair around the paved paths at the top of South Falls at Silver Creek State Park. The hiking trails are not accessible, but there are a couple of miles around the picnic area that are.
I am wheelchair dependent and will be making a trip to Corvallis this summer to visit one of our sons. We will see if any of these are an option for us. Thank you.