Gentle Hikes for Gentle Folk
Whether officially ADA accessible, or just easy, we are looking for hikes (beyond city parks) that create a hiking experience for non-hikers. In our quest through the Central Sierra Nevada mountains, we are on a search for gentle hikes that help people start their hiking journeys. We also want to learn what makes a hike gentle. We are adding to this blog as we find more trails.
Hikers with disabilities, difficulty walking far, in need of wheelchair-friendly, or simply looking to start small, all can benefit from hikes that are gentle on the knees. Starting with:
1. Rock Creek Nature Trail Loop
We created this trail listing in the AllTrails directory.
Dense old-growth forest in a moist, cool, and mystical canyon near Highway 20 near Nevada City and Grass Valley California. Most of the trail is wheelchair accessible except certain spots. It has a picnic area, bathroom, creek, and nature trail map with fun spots to explore. Safe, yet exciting, for children.
Find on: https://www.alltrails.com
2. Madora Lake
Plumas-Eureka State Park
Recently rebuilt for the disabled, this enhanced 1-2 mile trail takes walkers around a shallow pond, filled with wetland features.
Starting off with a slight grade in an sunny and open, yet tall forest, the trail turns into a loop around the wetlands. You may hear bullfrogs, and see interesting waterfowl. Towering Fir and Ponderosas, along with a trailside creek add to the interest.
A boardwalk, flat gravel, easy grade, and benches throughout, make this hike a doable trek for wheelchairs, crutches, and simply fragile walkers.
If you consider yourself fit and able-bodied, this trail is still a fun excursion if you have an hour.
A nice part-day activity for people visiting the northern Sierras and Portola/Plumas county region.
3. El Dorado Trail
This county-maintained walking path is most notable for being long . . . so long that you can walk from Apple hill down to the foothills near the edge of the county, all while being on a clean, fairly level and paced walking path while great for joggers and families, what is most interesting is the ease of access for ADA needs the workout stations have wheelchair accessible paths and ramps.
This path meanders through foothill digger digger pines and oak country along with meadows and rolling hills.
Exploring even a part part of this trail could take up much of a day.
4. Rainbow Trail at Taylor Creek Visitor's Area
While this trail is most known for the October Salmon runs, where you can see thousands of Kokanee salmon fish spawning (and perhaps bears too!), it also makes a great ADA accessible trail for the South Lake Tahoe region. The trail accommodates wheelechairs, while having resting benches, and is level enough for other dissabled walkers. Yet, it feels like a real wilderness hike, away from crowded paved trails. Nordic walking poles may be helpful in some spots.
Enjoy the aspen groves, a river view glass wall, and grassy meadows, all along and educational nature loop with peeks and views of Mt. Tallac and Lake Tahoe. Parking is free and easy, and there is a visitor's center with bathrooms. Any other time in the summer and fall will be less crowded than their traditional salmon festival time in October.