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The Most Wheelchair-friendly Nat. Parks   General Travel Discussion

Started Sep-18 by Shrinking Shorty (TOILETHEA1); 106 views.

The Most Wheelchair-friendly National Parks in the U.S.

South Dakota's Badlands National Park was ranked as the most accessible in the country, according to a new survey — 17% of its trails accommodate wheelchairs.

Badlands National Park in South Dakota is the most wheelchair-friendly national park in the United States.


The park, known for its geologic deposits and mixed-grass prairie lands, has three wheelchair-friendly trails, which account for more than 17% of all its trails, according to a new study by Aging in Place. The park also accommodates wheelchairs in 92.3% of its restaurants, giving it a total accessibility score of 9.31, per the study.


Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park came in at No. 2 with two dozen wheelchair-friendly trails — a 10.5% share of its total trails — and 95.7% of restaurants accommodating wheelchairs, according to the study. The park scored a total of 8.80 in accessibility.

Ayla Girouard, a licensed practical nurse, focused on geriatrics and long-term rehabilitation, with Aging in Place, told Travel + Leisure that being outdoors can have "measurable physical and psychological benefits," including lowering stress, lowering blood pressure, boosting immunity, and even helping manage chronic pain.


"People of all ages who get moving outside generally feel happier and healthier, but for many people with mobility issues, these benefits are difficult to access," Girouard said. "National Parks are some of our greatest resources for enjoying the outdoors, so as experts in medical alert systems who promote independence and accessibility for overall health, we wanted to find out which parks offer the most amenities to people with mobility impairments."

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