Planning a trip to the Poconos and looking for handicap accessible vacation ideas? This blog post is for you! From accommodations to attractions, from waterfalls to panoramic views, we've compiled a wheelchair friendly list of places to go and things to see and do in the Pocono Mountains.
As you're outlining your itinerary, be sure to reach out to local properties directly for more information. Keep reading to start planning your getaway!
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
The stunning natural beauty of the Pocono Mountains has brought tourists to our region for centuries, and it's for everyone to enjoy. There are a variety of beautiful locations which can be reached by wheelchair:
- Drive up to the top of Big Pocono State Park to take in panoramic, pastoral views of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. The paved, 1.4-mile Rim Road circles the summit. Head to Parking Lot #2 to find parking, a restroom and some picnic tables which are ADA accessible.
- Dingmans Falls, the second tallest waterfall in Pennsylvania featuring a 130-foot drop, features a .4-mile, handicap-accessible boardwalk trail leading right to the foot of the falls. You'll also get a view of 80-foot Silverthread Falls along the way. Please note that access roads to the Dingmans Falls Trail are open Monday afternoon to Friday evening and closed on weekends.
- Running alongside the Delaware River in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DWGNRA), the McDade Recreational Trail is a mostly flat, crushed-stone trail popular with hikers and bikers. The stretch of the trail from Smithfield Beach to Riverview can be navigated by wheelchair.
- Accessible parking, restrooms and picnic sites within DWGNRA may be found at Milford Beach, Toms Creek, Smithfield Beach, Hialeah Picnic Area (weekdays only) and Kittatinny Point. Milford and Smithfield Beaches also feature accessible bathhouses; assistance is needed to reach the swimming area or launch areas at these sites. Several of the DWGNRA wayside exhibits have been audio described, and guests can download the files online. Be sure to download them before you arrive, as cell service and internet access can be limited in some areas.
- Located within DWGNRA, the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) has a .3-mile, purple-blazed "Trail for Everyone" which winds through scenic field, forest and pond ecosystems. PEEC also offers the quarter-mile, rope-lined Sensory Trail which can be used by anyone and is intended to increase sensory awareness.
- The paved Black Bear Trail at Kettle Creek Environmental Education Center outside of Stroudsburg is less than a quarter of a mile and wheelchair accessible. The trail starts from the parking lot and passes the remains of an old farmhouse before reaching Swink Pond. A new ramp to the main building provides smooth and easy access for visitors: explore the nature discover area, pavilion and find ADA restrooms up the hill (with drivable access) off of Running Valley Road.
- The D&L Trail in Lehigh Gorge State Park follows an abandoned railroad grade, and the slope and surfacing of some portions of the gravel trail can be traversed by wheelchair. The Rockport parking area is close to a flat part of the trail leading to two waterfalls, Buttermilk Falls which is .3 miles upstream and Luke's Falls which is .3 miles downstream. Both Rockport and Glen Onoko access areas have ADA accessible restroom facilities, with a third ADA accessible restroom currently under construction (estimated completion: late spring 2022).
- Hickory Run State Park Visitors Center is handicap accessible and features beautiful, immersive exhibits about the park's history and striking natural wonders. While nearby Boulder Field does not have an extensive, wheelchair-friendly trail, it can be reached by car via a 5-mile, one-way dirt loop, with an overlook of the landscape adjacent to the parking lot and an accessible restroom facility. You'll find accessible shower facilities at Sand Spring Day-use and Beach area as well as campsites, camping cottages and some nearby showerhouses which are accessible in the family campground.
Cast a Line or Float Your Boat
- At Hickory Run State Park, the CCC Pond near the campground features an ADA accessible fishing pier.
- Loch Lomond Picnic Area in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area has a fishing pier accessible to mobility-impaired visitors.
- You'll find an ADA accessible fishing pier in Tobyhanna State Park's day use area near the boat launch and boat rental.
- Mauch Chunk Lake Park has a fully accessible fishing pier for guests to use at Boat Launch A.
- When visiting Lake Wallenpaupack, you'll find handicap accessible piers at Mangan Cove and Ironwood Point Boat Launch areas.
- If you're hoping to spend some time on the water, the Pine Run East Launch at Beltzville State Park has an ADA accessible courtesy dock.
Ride the Rails
Experience the Poconos as vacationers from bygone eras would have known it! The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway departs from Jim Thorpe on the western side of the Poconos. The Jim Thorpe station is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it also has an ADA certified lift. Most wheelchairs will fit inside the standard coaches, and the lift can be used to place wheelchairs on the open air cars. Note that other locations on the railroad do not have ADA lifts.
On the northeastern end of our region, the Stourbridge Line connects the charming towns of Hawley and Honesdale. Neither of those stations require steps to board the train, but steps are required to board and detrain at Lackawaxen and White Mills. The Stourbridge Line is limited handicap accessible, so be sure to reach out in advance to confirm the details of your trip.
Stay in Style
Whether you’ve booked a private cabin retreat with Pocono Mountain Rentals or an elegant and accessible guestroom at the magnificent Skytop Lodge, handicap accessible hotels and places to stay in the Poconos offer wheelchair friendly spaces and amenities, from parking to lodging. Mount Airy Casino Resort provides easy access for guests in wheelchairs to get from the parking areas to the hotel and casino entrance, as well as accessible guest rooms and electronic scooters available for rent (subject to availability). Be sure to contact properties directly for more information as you book your stay, so that they can tailor your visit to your needs.
Hoping to get some pool time in your vacation? Our region's impressive waterpark resorts feature lifts and zero-depth entries to create splash spaces for everyone.
Family Fun for Everyone
Rain or shine, attractions the whole family will love and can take part in can be found in the Poconos. Home to "The Tricky Triangle" and NASCAR action every summer, Pocono Raceway is fully accessible, with handicap parking, wheelchair and companion seating on all ticketed levels and more. Visitors will find calming sensory rooms available as a quiet retreat, added through a partnership with Kulture City. The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau has also partnered with Pocono Raceway on the #PoconoMtns Playground. Open to the public throughout the spring, summer and fall, it was designed with all children and abilities in mind and is recognized as a National Demonstration Site, making it one of the most inclusive playgrounds in the country.
Did you know? PoconoMountains.com is digitally accessible, with assistive tools to provide easy navigation for all website visitors.
Don't hesitate to reach out directly by phone or email to local businesses, attractions and accommodations as you plan your trip for the most up-to-date accessibility information. Take the time to explore delicious restaurants and fantastic shopping during your visit, and keep an eye out for events happening during your stay. See you in the Poconos!