Hamilton County is famous and deeply loved for its small towns and big, big outdoors. Here, we’re all about celebrating the woods and waters and it wouldn’t be right if not everyone could share in it. Whether you or a loved one are looking for a wheelchair accessible trail or accessibility for hearing impairment, our Adirondacks are for you, too. Fortunately, there are a number of attractions and activities in Hamilton County (and beyond!) that are accessible for people with disabilities and offer an amazing Adirondack experience.
With so many acres of forest, lakes, and rivers, you might not think there's any room for attractions. Fortunately, we're good at living in harmony with the amazing landscape. In other words, one minute you're driving past forest, the next you're at a museum! Just don't be surprised if the museum is in the forest. That's part of the charm here.
Known by many as the "Smithsonian of the Adirondacks," the Adirondack Experience: The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake is a must-see destination. Nowhere else will you find the collection of buildings and artifacts that the ADKX has on display. From the history of rustic luxury of Great Camps to the rugged, tough lives of miners and lumberjacks, railroad barons and the indigenous people who first lived and traveled through these mountains, the ADKX's exhibits are interactive, engaging, and full of fun. The newest exhibit, Life in the Adirondacks, is fully accessible and highlights the best of the museum's collections.
In Speculator, get your kicks on Route 66; a mini version, anyway! This fun attraction features small-sized retro buildings, perfect for a bit of nostalgia and for kids to let their imaginations run wild at the fanciful buildings. Close by is the Sacandaga Pathway, a wheelchair accessible nature trail that takes visitors through different types of habitat along the scenic Sacandaga River. There's plenty of time to do both!
Love to fish, paddle, and get out on the water? Hamilton County has numerous destinations that offer accessible access to the great outdoors.
In the expansive, gorgeous Moose River Plains Complex, overseen by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, numerous opportunities for adventure are available. The Icehouse Pond Trail is an accessible trail that extends 0.4 miles from Otter Brook Road to the southeastern shore of Icehouse Pond where an accessible campsite and accessible hand launch are located. The Helldiver Pond Accessible Trail extends 0.2 miles from the trailhead at the end of Helldiver Pond Road to an accessible hand launch for paddling on the pond. In addition, an accessible campsite is located near the trailhead. Cedar River Flow offers an accessible fishing pier and shoreline fishing area at a dam, with an accessible campsite nearby. There are a total of eight accessible campsites in the Moose River Plains Complex, so be sure to check out the DEC website for more info!
Just want to hit the beach and enjoy some time in the sunshine? The public beach in Speculator has a ramp to get you access to the sandy beach, while the nearby pavilion is a great spot for a shady picnic. In Inlet, on the shore of Fourth Lake, Arrowhead Park has great views, nicely paved paths close to the water, and a covered pavilion for picnics. Don't miss the ice cream at nearby Northern Lights Creamery!
While you're in Inlet, get closer to Fourth Lake by renting a pontoon boat at Clark's Marina! The staff at Clark's are great to work with and a wheelchair can roll on to the boat from the dock. From the boat, cruise the waters of the lake while birding, or try the fishing: Fourth Lake is home to a variety of species, including lake trout, Atlantic salmon, bass, and northern pike.
Inlet is close to the Fulton Chain of Lakes, which includes Fourth Lake. This area has accessible outdoor activities, including two accessible primitive camping sites at picturesque Moss Lake. It's a sweet spot, but still close to the amenities of Inlet and nearby Eagle Bay (go to Eagle Bay for great donuts!). Moss Lake is home to some fascinating habitats and is known for excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing. Be sure to check out the wheelchair-friendly viewing platform for a chance to look — and listen — for moose, bald eagles, Eastern coyote, bluebirds, and more!
One of the most unique and completely awesome camping areas in the whole state is right here in Hamilton County. John Dillon Park, located between Tupper Lake and Long Lake, was created especially for people with disabilities. Everything here was designed to be accessible: lean-tos for sleeping (with accessible fold-down bed), fire rings and grills, gently sloped and graded pathways, restrooms, and fishing access. There are even pontoon boat rides for a fun jaunt on the water!
For an overnight that doesn't involve cooking over an open flame, try The Hedges in Blue Mountain Lake, a classic Adirondack lodge that has been welcoming visitors for generations. The accommodations are comfortable, the scenery gorgeous, and the food totally scrumptious. The Hedges offers rooms with wheelchair accessibility, including in the bathrooms, while many of the public spaces, including the dining room, provide plenty of space for maneuverability.
There are accessible spaces throughout the Adirondacks that offer Adirondack beauty to all travelers. Adirondack Wayfinder offers a specially designed road trip trail highlighting accessible camping, historic sites, attractions, and more!
Additional travel tips
- Questions? Please feel free to call ahead to chat directly with a hotel, restaurant, or attraction.
- If you have special needs, please mention them at the time of reservation, and call the provider 24 to 48 hours before your arrival to confirm that proper accommodations have been made. Don't hesitate to ask for specifics such as door and bathroom measurements if you question whether or not your wheelchair will fit.
- Please be specific and clear when describing a disability. Not all service providers know the "lingo" of accessible travel but they do want to help make sure you have a wonderful experience when you visit. Give as many details as you can about your needs. The more information a service provider has, the better they will be able to accommodate you and make your visit as easy and comfortable as possible.