Accessible Outdoors - Student Life
Established in 1982, Eagle Mount provides opportunities and support to people with disabilities, veterans, and cancer patients with skiing, horseback riding, swimming, camping, rock climbing, kayaking, cycling, fishing, and other outdoor activities.
Ski for Light Montana
Part of the Ski for Light, Inc. national network, Ski for Light Montana is a nonprofit organization that coordinates cross-country skiing and trail hiking events for blind or visually impaired adults.
Several trails, campgrounds, and scenic spots right here in Southwest Montana are either partially or fully accessible to visitors with disabilities!
- Eight Mile Ford - Ennis, MT
- Causeway - Helena, MT
- Trout Creek Canyon Trail - Helena, MT
- Bear Trap Canyon Trail - Norris, MT
- Craig Fishing Access Site - Craig, MT
- Little Joe Campground - Wise River, MT
- Skidway Campground - Townsend, MT
- Lost Creek Falls - Anaconda, MT
- Lewis and Clark Caverns - Whitehall, MT
- 7R Guest Ranch - Wolf Creek, MT
- Crystal Park - Dillon, MT
- Our Lady of the Rockies - Butte, MT (wheelchair accessible shuttle)
Visit the official Southwest Montana website for more information on trails, campgrounds, activities, and other things to do.
America’s public lands are for everyone, even those with disabilities. Despite this, not every space is accessible. According to Mathew McCollough, Director of the Washington, D.C. branch of the Office of Disability Rights, the outdoors are “the last frontier when it comes to the ADA. Progress has been made at our national parks, but we still have a long way to go.”
However, the National Park Service’s Accessibility Task Force continually works to increase the accessibility of its parks and programs. We have two mesmerizing National Parks right here in Montana - Glacier to the North, and Yellowstone to the South - and both have amenities, lodging, programs, and sites that are accessible to visitors with disabilities.
Note that if you have a permanent disability, you are eligible for a free lifetime access pass (with proof of disability and residency) to all U.S. National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands. Please visit the national parks official website for more information on how to acquire a lifetime access pass.
Service and Assistance Animals at National Parks
- Unlike at Montana Tech, service animals-in-training do not fall under the category of “service animal” in the U.S. National Parks. Only fully trained service animals are permitted, and they must be clearly marked, leashed, and cleaned up after. For their own safety, service animals are not permitted on closed trails or trails with heavy animal activity.
- Service animals-in-training and assistance animals are considered pets and are only allowed in certain areas.
American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters
- The National Park Service can provide American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, but requires three weeks advanced notice.
- Call 307-344-2251 for interpreters at Yellowstone or 406-888-7800 for interpreters at Glacier.
Things to Know
- The NPS Yellowstone National Park app provides up-to-date accessibility information, and allows you to download maps to your device to use offline. Cell phone service is unreliable in most national parks.
- Audio, text, and braille maps and brochures can be downloaded from the official Yellowstone National Park website.
- The best times to go to avoid the crowds are early in the morning before 8am and after 5pm. Note that, if you go before 8am and/or after 5pm, many of the amenities and visitors centers may be closed.
Glacier National Park
- Upon request, Visitor Center videos can be provided captioned with an assistive listening device.
- The Glacier National Park official website has a small library of captioned videos that highlight everything from basic safety information to scenic highlights of the park.
- There are several accessible bus shuttles that will carry passengers to and from park lodgings and visitor centers.
- Many of the campgrounds are accessible, including, but not limited to, Apgar, Avalanche, Bowman, Kintla Lake, Rising Sun, St. Mary, and Two Medicine.
- Many of the trails and walks are also accessible. They include: Lake MacDonald Trail, Trail of the Cedar Nature Trail, Goat Lick Overlook, Oberlin Bend Trail, and Running Eagle Falls Nature Trail.
Visit the official Glacier National Park website for more information on accessibility.
Yellowstone National Park
- The Yellowstone National Park official website has a small library of captioned videos that highlight everything from basic safety information to scenic highlights of the park.
- Information is available through a public Text Telephone (TTY) Service regarding accessibility for audio and visual aids, wheelchairs, and other mobility needs.
- All films shown at Canyon, Old Faithful, and Grant Visitor Centers are captioned and include assistive listening devices, while the Albright Visitor Center at Mammoth Hot Springs has open captioning on silent videos at displays and exhibits, and induction loop technology at the information desk.
- Large print and braille materials can be acquired at the visitors centers or on the official Yellowstone National Park website.
Visit the official Yellowstone National Park website for more information on accessibility and plan your trip to America’s first National Park today!