Disabled Hikers is a website that gives information about getting outdoors in Washington State. Each hike includes detailed information on trail conditions, elevation changes, parking, wheelchair access and other factors. They even supplement with a Spoon Rating, which gives a general guide as to the difficulty of the trail and effort required, with consideration for how restorative the experience may be. Spoons is a visual representation of amount of energy you have. You only have so many spoons in your drawer, so you have to plan so you have enough spoons to get through the day. Each activity will use spoons, which will only be replaced as a person “recharges” through rest.
1 Spoon = level, paved, 0-2 miles, very easy trailhead access, probably wheelchair accessible
2 Spoons = level, not paved, 1-3 miles, access takes a little planning, possibly wheelchair accessible.
3 Spoons = short and gentle elevations changes, mostly dry compact trail, 2-4 miles, not accessible to a wheelchair without adaptive equipment or assistance.
4 Spoons = elevations changes over 500 ft or longer than .5 mile, trail often muddy or has other obstacles, 3-5 miles, requires advance planning or basic trail map reading.
5 Spoons = elevation changes 1000 ft or longer than 1 mile, trail has many obstacles, 5+ miles, requires extensive planning and map reading.
The wheelchair overlook has been installed at Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park. The path is installed every summer. It is made of firm, rubbery composite mats with good traction. The mats are stabilized on wood boards with driftwood barriers. Extensive use during the summer plus the nature of the unstable ground means the surface can shift and buckle slightly.
If a person does not need to use the path to access the beach, please walk on the gravel. And leave the driftwood side rails in place.
The viewpoint provides a view of the ocean, sea stacks, and A’Ka’Lat Island but it may be partially obscured at times due to the massive drift logs that pile up on the beach.
There is one accessible parking spot, accessible flush toilets, and water at the trailhead. The parking area can get very full in the summer, and please follow all no parking signs. A big thank you to Olympic National Park Service for installing this every year! Check out the trails at disabled hikers.com