Earlier this month my fiancé and I enjoyed a weekend away in the Adirondacks camping at John Dillon Park. While the park is technically closed for the season, we were invited by the park to give an accessibility review and help them identify areas for improvement. This meant that we were able to stay at the park and camp there for the weekend while also providing the access review!
We stayed at John Dillon Park once before two summers ago and we absolutely loved it! As wheelchair users, it is sometimes difficult for us to find places to camp that work for us, but John Dillon Park is a dream for us! The park is completely off the grid but still accessible for campers with disabilities. The hiking trails throughout the park are all fully wheelchair accessible – from the slopes to the terrain, it’s accessible to manual and power wheelchair users, as well as people with walking disabilities.
There are nine wheelchair accessible lean-tos throughout the campsite which are all beautiful and have options for raised beds for wheelchair users who cannot transfer to the ground for sleeping. If you really prefer sleeping in a tent, there is also a tent site on the campgrounds! There are extra wide, wheelchair accessible outhouses by every lean-to which is awesome, especially for people like me who have small bladders! They have a wheelchair accessible pontoon boat on a beautiful lake. The best part is that the camp has portable solar batteries so that power wheelchair users can charge their wheelchairs at their campsites!
While we were there, we spent the days reviewing the accessibility of the parking lot and the trails and provided recommendations for improvements to make the park even more accessible to visitors with disabilities. Even though the park is already incredibly accessible, I love that they are always looking for ways to improve and be even more welcoming to people with disabilities.
In the evenings we enjoyed rolling on the hiking trails, watching the sunset at the overlook area, and then going back to our lean-to to have a campfire dinner and smores with our dog, Rocky. At night we could hear loons on the water which was incredibly different from the traffic sounds that we usually hear outside our house. It was so calming.
It was really wonderful to get away for the weekend and we loved being able to be in a peaceful, accessible nature setting for a while. We really can’t wait to be able to go back for some more accessible camping next year!
About Stephanie Woodward: Stephanie is a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab® and works as a disability rights activist. She has received many awards for helping communities become more accessible, as well as for her actions in fighting for the rights of disabled individuals as it relates to Medicaid and other support services. Click here to learn more about Stephanie.