Located in upstate New York, the Adirondack Mountain region offers a wide range of accessible trails, recreational activities and lodging options. Known collectively as the Adirondacks, this area includes a patchwork of public and private lands dotted with backcountry trails, state parks, forest service lands, private homes, lodges and quaint villages.

Although many area parks offer some accessible campsites and trails, the shining star for accessibility is John Dillion Park, where all the trails, campsites and recreational areas are accessible. Located just 15 miles from Tupper Lake, this 200-acre accessible camping and recreation development is the result of a unique partnership between Paul Smith’s College and International Paper. Named for the former International Paper CEO and Paul Smith’s College alumnus, the park features nine Adirondack lean-tos, over three miles of hiking trails, a fishing pier, kayak and canoe docks, picnic areas, and even a pontoon boat. And all of it is accessible.

Best of all, it’s located approximately 1.5 miles off the main road, so it gives campers a real chance to get away from the maddening crowds. Composting toilets and potable water are available at each lean-to, and the welcome center has a flush toilet and a refrigerator for medication storage. Additionally, solar-powered battery chargers can be wheeled to the lean-tos upon request.

All of the lean-tos are either ramped or built at the appropriate wheelchair-transfer height, and they come equipped with a fold-down bed, a fireplace, and a picnic table.

There is no charge to use John Dillon Park, but it’s open only to people with disabilities and their companions. Proof of disability, such as an America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass – Access Pass or a doctor’s note, is required at registration. The maximum stay is 10 days and reservations are recommended. The park is open daily in the summer and on weekends after Labor Day.

If you’d prefer a few more creature comforts while exploring the Adirondacks, then head on over to The Wawbeek, located on Upper Saranac Lake, approximately 20 miles from John Dillon Park. This turn-of-the-century Great Camp property has been lovingly restored by owners Nancy and Norman Howard and features all of the amenities of an upscale resort on 40 acres of prime Adirondack forest.

The resort features two accessible rooms: Room 2 in the Lake House and Room 3 in the Carriage House. Both accessible rooms have wide doorways and excellent pathway access, and the bathrooms are equipped with a tub/shower combination with grab bars, a hand-held showerhead, grab bars around the toilet and a roll-under sink. A portable shower chair is available upon advance request.

As an added bonus, the Lake House room features a private deck with a fantastic view of the lake. Alternatively there is a large public deck in the Lake House, which can be used by all guests. And if you’d like a closer look at the lake, then sign up for the daily pontoon boat cruise. This hour-long cruise departs at 4 pm and the boat features roll-on access.

No visit to the Adirondacks is complete without a stop at the Adirondack Visitor Interpretive Center, located 15 miles from Saranac Lake on Route 30, near Paul Smith’s College. There is accessible parking near the visitors center and level access to the building and the nearby picnic area. Inside you’ll find interpretive exhibits about the wildlife and natural history of the Adirondacks.

Outside, the Barnum Brook Trail is a good choice for power wheelchair users and slow walkers; however some manual-wheelchair users may require assistance with the uphill sections of the trail. The trail winds through a stand of white pines and out to a boardwalk viewing platform over the marsh. From there it follows Barnum Brook, crosses over a fish dam and circles back up to the beginning. The .8-mile trail is rated as “accessible with assistance,” and because of the dirt surface, it’s not a good choice in wet weather.

For a good primer of Adirondack wildlife, check out the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. This natural history museum of the Adirondacks features interpretive exhibits, live animals and education programs about the flora and fauna of the region. There is excellent access throughout the museum, with a level entry, barrier-free access to all exhibits and accessible restrooms.

Outside, you can experience a real slice of Adirondack life on one of the three trails that dot the 31-acre campus. The interpretive trail that leads to the boardwalk over Blue Pond is wheelchair accessible, so save some time to enjoy it.

Finally, if you’d like to relax and enjoy the scenery, head on over to the Veterans Memorial Highway for a drive to the top of Whiteface Mountain. This five-mile drive offers spectacular views of the Adirondacks and features several turnouts along the way. Up on top, there is elevator access to Whiteface Castle, which features a number of viewing platforms around its perimeter. The flagstone pathways that circle the castle are bumpy and uneven in places, but it’s still possible to access most of the viewing platforms. The view is great and it’s the perfect way to top off an Adirondack visit.

If You Go