The Whiteface Region is for everyone!
We believe that any vacation to the Whiteface Region should be fun and filled to the brim with opportunities to explore. Now it's as easy as ever to experience the area’s wild lands and attractions, with a variety of experiences that are welcoming and designed with visitors with disabilities in mind. To ensure that your next vacation is as much fun as can be, and to help you plan, we've put together this guide to some of the region's best accessible experiences that no one should miss.
The Whiteface Region is home to many family-friendly attractions, and the best part is that they are accessible to all! It’s time to get out there and meet Santa, chase waterfalls, and ride to the top of a mountain.
Did you know that when you visit the Whiteface Region you can stop by the North Pole? That’s right, Santa’s workshop, reindeer, and busy elves set up shop near the base of Whiteface Mountain. The North Pole and Santa’s Workshop are wheelchair accessible. A trip here is truly the gift that keeps on giving and you’ll definitely make some Christmas-in-July memories that will last a lifetime!
It’s not all presents and reindeer here, though. At High Falls Gorge everyone can experience the raw power and beauty of the Ausable River. A series of waterfalls cascades down the gorge, ending with the amazing Rainbow Falls. While the entire trail and boardwalk system is not wheelchair accessible, portions of it are, affording all visitors amazing views and accessible lookouts.
From the gorge to the mountaintops, there is a lot to do here! Not everyone can hike to the summit of a High Peak, and that’s totally fine because, in the Whiteface Region, there is a road leading up the fifth highest peak in New York, Whiteface Mountain! Construction of the Whiteface Veterans’ Memorial Highway was completed in 1935 and since then all visitors have been able to take in the sights of the Adirondacks, New England, and Canada without spending all day hiking in the backcountry. At the top of the highway, there is an elevator to reach the summit, making it wheelchair accessible, but be sure to check operating schedules before arriving. Even if the elevator is not operational, there are incredible views from the highest parking lot and the many lookout points along the way. Visitors can also soak in the views from on high at Whiteface via the Cloudsplitter Gondola.
If wildlife is more your thing, stop over at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, where wide, accessible trails wind through a series of animal rehabilitation enclosures. This is a great opportunity to see, learn about, and ultimately support the wildlife that reside in the Adirondacks!
Connect with nature
Obviously you didn't decide to visit the Adirondacks to sit in a motel room all vacation. The Adirondacks and the Whiteface Region are an outdoor paradise just waiting to be explored. And you don't need to hike deep into the wilderness or canoe somewhere remote to visit these totally accessible, family-friendly, and beautifully scenic spots.
Check out these accessible trails and outdoor locations:
- Wilmington Beach - restrooms are handicap accessible and there is an accessible fishing deck and picnic tables
- The Flume Trails - a wide, gravel path leads to a scenic body of water great for birding
- Hardy Road - a multi-use trail system, part of which is accessible
- Lake Stevens - this is a designated fishing pond for children and those with disabilities
- Jay Covered Bridge - transport yourself back in time when you visit the last covered bridge of its kind remaining in the Adirondacks
Adaptive Sports and Events
The Adirondacks have long been home to winter sports. The Empire State Winter Games is an annual sporting event celebrating athletes, winter, and the Adirondacks. Each year athletes of all ages compete in 25 winter sports, including several adaptive sports. While sled hockey, adaptive biathlon, others are held at various venues across the Adirondacks, Whiteface Mountain hosts the adaptive alpine ski event. If you decide you want to try adaptive skiing yourself, Whiteface Mountain's adaptive ski program provides lessons to people of all ages and experience levels interested in experiencing snowsports, and best of all the lessons include the necessary equipment.
Beyond the Whiteface Region
There are accessible spaces throughout the Adirondacks that offer beauty to all travelers. Adirondack Wayfinder offers a specially designed road trip trail highlighting accessible camping, historic sites, attractions, and more!
The Tri-Lakes Center for Independent Living (TLCIL) is a fantastic regional organization that provides many services to individuals and their families with accessibility concerns. The TLCIL even has a "Loan Closet," consisting of items such as wheelchairs, walkers, temporary ramps, and more, which may be loaned out. If you find yourself trying to plan a trip to the area and want to borrow an item or simply ask for information, the TLCIL welcomes your call or email!
Additional travel tips
- Questions? Please feel free to call ahead to chat directly with a hotel, restaurant, or attraction. Downloading the Whiteface Region Visitor's Guide will help with navigating the area, and finding various activities.
- 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.
Most importantly, remember to have fun while you're discovering the Whiteface Region!