Top 5 Accessible Trails in the San Francisco Bay

Besides being very diverse and multicultural, the San Francisco Bay Area is also very wheelchair accessible, including a number of wheelchair accessible hiking trails. Many of the parks, beaches, and hiking trails offer some kind of wheelchair access. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been exploring some of these places that have an accessible hiking trail and writing about them on my blog: Adventures from a Wheelchair. I not only wanted to enjoy cruising along the trail, but I also wanted to take pictures and videos to share with others in wheelchairs.

My 5 Favorite Accessible Hiking Trails in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Chickadee Nature Trail – Located in Huddart County Park, this 3/4-mile trail loops around through a variety of native plants and trees.  This accessible trail isn’t well-known, so the limited amount of handicap parking shouldn’t be a problem. I didn’t see any accessible bathrooms.
  • Vasona Park – Located in Los Gatos, this large park has miles of marked, two-way paved trails. There is a variety of scenery to enjoy as the trail lets you hike along a creek, around the contours of Vasona Lake, and under the canopy of trees. There are plenty of handicap parking spots and accessible bathrooms located throughout the park.
  • Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve is located in Santa Clara County and what makes this accessible trail enjoyable is that it leads to Deer Hollow Farm where you’ll see cows, pigs, goats, and other farm animals. The trail starts off as a wide dirt trail, which then links up to a paved service road. There is one accessible bathroom and five handicap parking spots but because this open preserve is very popular, parking can become an issue.
  • Sawyer Camp Trail – Located in San Mateo County, this paved trail is mostly flat and is marked for two-way traffic. It is one of the few trails I’ve seen that has an accessible bathroom situated along the trail. This 7-mile trail offers you panoramic views of Crystal Springs Reservoir while you manage your way through hairpin turns, straightaways, and more twists and turns. The only downside I found here was the limited parking. There are only two handicap parking spots and, because there isn’t a parking lot, all the other cars park on the side of the road.
  • Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park – Located just south of the Bay Area, in the town of Felton, is my most favorite hiking trail. The 0.8-mile Redwood Loop Trail lets you hike through groves of redwoods, and one can’t help but look up in awe at such majestic beauty. I’ve visited this park a few times now and parking has never been a problem, and there is an accessible bathroom. It can get chilly because of the limited sunlight filtering down through the trees so you might want to dress accordingly.
Mark Hehir Mark Hehir (13 Posts)

In 1996, my Muscular Dystrophy progressed to the point where I needed a ventilator to help me breathe. As in nature, one learns to adapt to their environment and, for me, that meant adapting to the world around me with physical limitations and from a wheelchair. Seeing that there was little information on accessible hiking trails, I began making videos of each trail I visited so I could share with others in wheelchairs. I'm a published writer, composer, videographer, and amateur nature photographer. Life is what you make it. Please visit my blog for more information on accessible trails in the SF Bay Area.


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