Wisconsin Camping: Wheelchair Access Overview

Wisconsin is a great place to live and an even better place to camp. There are numerous private campgrounds around the state along with nearly 50 state-run campgrounds affiliated with State Parks and natural areas. WI State Park Camping Website.

The majority of those state-run campgrounds are handicap accessible as far as having disabled sites available. There are even a few that offer accessible cabins or rustic cabins (which are accessible). The accessible cabins offer a lot of amenities such as a kitchen with lower counters, bedroom with a hospital beds, and wheel-in showers, bench and shower commode chair nearby. They also have electricity and a screened in front porch for enjoying the outdoors without having to having the additional outdoor challenges.

Cabins
A couple of campgrounds (Copper Falls and Blue Mound) also offer rustic cabins that are accessible. They also offer electricity but other than that, they are very basic with just a double bed or bunk bed with thin mattress in the 8’x8’ structure. There isn’t much to room to move around in them but it’s dry and solid to keep you safe from weather. If all you need is a bed and don’t want to set up tent, these are perfect.

The trick with these accessible cabins and rustic cabins is that it can be a bit of a challenge to reserve one. You have to submit a request at the beginning of the year for a specific date and won’t find out if you have gotten it for 3 months. Individuals/families with highest level of disability get first priority. That’s why it takes so long to find out if you get to use the cabin. There is the option of checking the availability of the cabins after the initial reservation time. Here is a link to see that, but it’s also best to call the specific campground to make sure it is up to date.

They have a tendency to have openings during the week more than weekends. If a cabin isn’t reserved, you are able to call a week ahead or possibly even just show up to see if one is available. Depending on the distance you drive to get to the park, may decide if you are willing to take the risk. One of the tenants MUST have a disability to be able to use a cabin so the application for the cabin asks for your level of disability.

Campsites
When going to these state parks, all of them also offer handicap accessible sites which have a paved drive-in and are close to the park handicap restrooms. In my opinion, the actual site isn’t really much different from other sites other than the paved drive-in which if someone could only stay on the paved areas, they won’t have too much fun camping. The fire pit is a distance from the paved area making it more difficult to enjoy that, but that’s also for safety.

Restrooms
I mentioned the handicap restrooms. Most parks offer a separate rest room area that includes a shower to be only used by the disabled. You need a key from the park office to be able to access it. There may be other disabled individuals in the park that will use it and share with, but it is much more convenient than the regular restrooms for the general campers. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a picture of that at this time due to the campgrounds being closed right now. These handicap restrooms are typically about 8’x8’ and have a roll in shower with a sprayer that can be moved around. They also have support bars for the shower and toilet facilities. The regular restrooms also usually have a separate handicap accessible toilet stall with plenty of room to move around.

Hiking and Biking Trails
As far as trails go for hiking or biking, each state park and campground can be different. Some trails are paved, others have sandstone gravel and some have a mulch path or just plain grass or dirt trail. Wisconsin can have completely different terrain depending on the park/campground you may visit. We don’t have mountains here but some parts of the state are very hilly while others have swampy or prairie land areas. The state tries to make trails for everyone within reason to show you what our beautiful state has to offer. For the most part, the best areas for a wheelchair user who isn’t used to being off of paved paths, is to use the paved campground roads.

Scot Wiesner Scot Wiesner (4 Posts)

I have been physically challenged from the day I was born. I have an extremely rare disease(s) call lymphangiomatosis & Gorham’s disease(s), L/GD for short (www.lgdalliance.org). I was able to walk with crutches and sometimes without up until January 1st, 1991 despite doctors telling me that I would never walk from 1 year on. These challenges, along with my family and friends, always pushed me to not just accept my situation. Now I get around using an electric scooter. I enjoy being outdoors on trails, hunting, fishing and biking with my 3 wheel hand bike. My eventual goal in adventure is to get to every state. I want to help anyone I can to experience the adventures I’ve been able to. I hope these reviews are able to help you.


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