Planning a Parkway Trip for Disabled and Differently-Abled Visitors
While the Parkway offers no shortage of challenging hikes and rocky outcroppings to explore, it also has something for all ages, developmental ranges, and mobility levels.
The uninterrupted natural setting and tranquility of a drive on the Parkway is a popular pastime for many. Scenic Overlooks along the Parkway roadway are paved, with beautiful views easily accessible to all visitors. For easy reference, we provide here some ADA Accessible Trails & Attractions.
Caution is recommended near the sidewalks and short walls along overlooks for the elderly and children, as these often create a boundary for very steep drops beyond. If balance is unstable for anyone in your party, it is better to stand back and enjoy the view, hold the hand of your young or elderly companions – or even remain in your vehicle to comfortably look out into the peaks and valleys below.
Extreme caution is always in order for all visitors near waterfalls and streams, where rocks are slippery and waters fast moving.
All Accessible Sites on the Parkway
Full list of NPS facilities, picnic areas, and camp sites along the Parkway
Most Parkway facilities such as Visitor Centers and Picnic Areas are Wheelchair Accessible. You will also find most regional visitor centers in the communities surrounding the Parkway are ADA-accessible.
The first 0.07 mile of the trail at Price Lake (pictured at top) is wheelchair accessible. Access the trailhead at The Boone Fork Overlook via a spur road at Milepost 297.2 on the Parkway. At the southern end of the Boone Fork Overlook, follow the trail map behind the boat rentals building to proceed down a wheelchair-accessible ramp to a level trail. Here you’ll find accessible fishing on Price Lake and Boone Fork Creek.
New trails at Peaks of Otter are also wheelchair accessible.
The Cradle of Forestry Interpretive Association, USDA Forest Service, and The Autism Society of North Carolina partnered to offer The Adventure Zone at the Cradle of Forestry Historic Site, located in Pisgah Forest not far from the Parkway .
The Adventure Zone was designed to help children and adults with autism become active in the outdoors and gain a better understanding about the natural world – though the hands-on activities are of interest to kids (and kids at heart) of all ages.