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Visitors Experiencing Disabilities

Visitors Experiencing Disabilities

The City of Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) department recognizes the importance of providing a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities for people of all abilities. Many trails, parking areas, shelters and facilities on OSMP already meet accessibility guidelines established by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Others are being retrofitted every year as staff and budget constraints allow. ADA guidelines figure heavily in the design of new structures, trails and facilities. 

Accessible Trails Guide Booklet

In 2015, OSMP published a guide booklet for people with disabilities, Boulder OSMP Accessible Trails and Sites, 30.4 Mb pdf. The trails and natural sites in this guide book should be accessible to the average wheelchair, walker or scooter user. Thirty sites and trails are covered in detail in the guide book. We describe each location in terms of its natural and cultural history attractions, available facilities like bathrooms and accessible picnic areas, and analyze its difficulty of access. We hope you find the guide useful, and welcome your comments for upcoming editions. Also, check out the Accessibility Trail Rankings pdf document which shows accessibility ratings for OSMP and Boulder County Parks & Open Space trails and includes ease of use, scenery, shade access, mileage and more. And don't miss the Accessible Trails Videos (see below) that show you what it's like to wheelchair-hike these trails.

Follow this link to visit Boulder County Parks and Open Space's accessibility webpage.

Other Power/Driven Mobility Devices - Ebikes, Handcycles

If you have a mobility impairment and want to try your hand at all-terrain  handcycling  before you invest in your own handcycle, come out for a ride with us. They do have power assist*, so even people without strong upper bodies can have an opportunity to explore nature. If interested, please send an email to Topher Downham at [email protected]. We can work out a date and time for you to try one out.

*OSMP allows people experiencing disabilities to use Other Power/Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMDs), including electric-assisted cycles and handcycles. E-bikes for any other purpose are not allowed on OSMP trails. Please contact Topher Downham at [email protected] for more details. 

Memory Loss Sensory Nature Programs

OSMP has partnered with the Denver Alzheimer’s Association SPARK program to provide free public nature programs for individuals with dementia. SPARK was originally started to provide opportunities for those with dementia as well as their caregivers, to enjoy art, museums, and cultural events in a comfortable setting. OSMP is now offering sensory programs on a variety of trails, giving people with memory loss and their caregivers the opportunity to be outside together, enjoying the land and all it has to offer. If you have a loved one who has memory loss and you would like more information about these programs, please contact OSMP Education and Outreach Coordinator Juanita Echeverri at 720-398-7324.

To find out more information about the Alzheimer’s Association SPARK program, please contact Ralph Patrick [email protected] in Boulder, or Kera Magarill [email protected]  in Denver. 

Accessible Trails - Videos

It can be stressful to many people with disabilities to go somewhere and not know what kind of obstacles they are going to encounter. These 5 to 6-minute fast motion videos show the entire accessible trail hiked by wheelchair user Topher Downham. Along the way he shows us in a light-hearted manner obstacles encountered, local flora and fauna, and activities available at each location. Hopefully this will make hiking easier, more available, and more enjoyable for people with disabilities.

4th of July Trailhead Accessible Trails and Campsite

Topher Downham shows the wheelchair accessibility of two trails and a campsite at 4th of July Trailhead near Nederland.

Cottonwood Trail via Wheelchair

Topher Downham shows the Cottonwood Trail using a wheelchair from start to end.

S Boulder Creek Trail - Marshall Rd via Wheelchair

Topher Downham shows the S Boulder Creek Trail from Marshall Road to S Boulder Road using a wheelchair.

Accessible Trail Videos Introduction with Spanish Text

Accessible Trails Intro with Spanish Text