Get-Out-Guide: Wheelchair Hike

EmeraldGetOutGuideAs Intoxicating as Any Cocktail:  Wheelchair Hike – Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge

By Dana Murguia | Image by Meghan Quintanilla


We are constantly in pursuit of places to go in Humboldt with wheelchair access to the outdoors. This is the season of holiday walks with family or friends, and we have the perfect hike to follow a celebratory, calorie-laden meal.  The Wheelchair trail at the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Salmon Creek Unit, is a wonderful place for a hike.

The Richard J Guadagno Visitor Center has friendly interpreters (people whose sole purpose is to help you enjoy the refuge and learn more about it) and a great handicap restroom. There’s terrific disability parking, with easy access to the center and the trailhead. This interpretive sign is right at the beginning of the trail – notice the wooden access plank, which is very high-end handicap access.

We ran into birding enthusiasts who were taking advantage of an Audubon hike, and the Environmental Education and Field Trips offered by Friends of the Dunes can make your visit not only breathtakingly beautiful, but also educational. Learn more at the link below:

Because I was previously a park ranger for Redwood National Park, I gets to say things like “the level of biodiversity along the trailhead was amaze-balls” with some level of credibility. When walking this trail it’s easy to see why National Geographic Traveler calls Humboldt County one of the world’s top ten great places, while the USDA declares this area to be ‘America’s Most Scenic Rural County.’ There are the elements of several different environments within the space of a 100 yards: bogs, ponds, marshes, wet meadows, streams, and more. The cleverly placed overlooks allow a wheelchair user to get up close to the varied environs versus being a distant observer.

Lovers of nature, romantics, photographers, hunters and birders will feel their hearts soar while walking on this extremely wheelchair-accessible trail.  If you are none of the above, go anyway – we promise you will feel more alive after spending time there!   


– Dana is the co-owner of CareMatch, a professional caregiver recruitment and placement firm.  You can read the full length article at her blog

Emerald contributor since March 2012


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