Access Upgrades in California Redwoods

All Access Trail at Hendy Woods State Park

All Access Trail at Hendy Woods State Park

Sometimes I just happen to stumble across cool accessible travel finds. Such was the case yesterday when Charles and I were checking out Hendy Woods. We’ve passed by this California state park many times — located off Highway 128 near Philo — but somehow we never managed to stop.

In anticipation of our visit, I did a little advance research and found that the park has a .3-mile All Access Trail, so we decided to give it a try. And I wasn’t disappointed. Although it might be a challenge after a rain, the wide hard-packed dirt trail is mostly covered in forest duff and provides ample opportunities to get up-close-and-personal with the redwoods.

But, as usual, I decided to explore further, as sometimes things that are not “100% ADA accessible” are quite doable for many of my readers. To that end, I decided to take the 1.6-mile Upper Loop hike that begins on the Discovery Trail, which is just off the All Access Trail.

The trail started out very promising — they all do — but after about a quarter-mile there were too many roots, holes and other obstructions for even my most rugged readers. But it was a nice day, so we decided to continue on with this non-accessible hike anyway.

Upper Loop Trail under construction

Upper Loop Trail under construction

And I have to say it was beautiful. And very quiet. That was until we got closer to the Upper Loop and we spotted four men in an ATV, parked next to an area cordoned off by that bright yellow crime scene tape. The men in the ATV were chatting about drainage, slope and other interesting topics when we approached them. I thought for sure they were going to tell us that the trail was closed.

Then one of them spoke up. “Excuse me,” he said. “Could you guys walk around the yellow tape, as we haven’t had a chance to compact that soil yet.” Oh good I thought, the trail is still open. Then I thought, “compact soil?” and asked, “Are you making trail repairs?” And he sheepishly replied, “Not exactly, we’re making the whole length of this trail ADA accessible”.

Hey, what are the odds?

As I said, the man was kind of guarded when he said “ADA accessible” and he quickly added, “It will all be really low impact though.” At which time I explained that this improvement was a great thing, as I cover accessible travel and I’m always happy to discover more things to share with my readers.

And then after a few chuckles we went our separate ways.

Upper Loop Trail post construction

Upper Loop Trail post construction

After that we walked around the construction, and continued on to the completed part of the trail. To be honest, I’m very impressed with their work. They turned a marginal trail into a truly accessible trail. In fact, before we ran into the work crew I was thinking that if it weren’t for the obstructions, it would be a good accessible trail, because for the most part it was fairly level and certainly wide enough for a wheelchair or a scooter.

Sometimes things just have a way of working out.

Of course they have a way to go on the project, but I do plan to check back next spring to see how far they’ve progressed. And did I mention that they also have an accessible cabin in the park?

Stay tuned. The world really is becoming more accessible — one trail at a time!