Handicap Friendly Things to do in North Conway That Are Fun for Everyone!
Updated: Oct 14, 2022
Mobility Issues? No Problem!
If you’re looking for a North Conway getaway but have worries about locations that are accessible to everyone then worry no more!
There are plenty of handicap friendly-ADA compliant things to do in North Conway, New Hampshire.
Downtown North Conway Shops
The White Mountain National Forest
Kancamagus Highway (the Kanc)
Conway Scenic Railroad
Clark's Trading Post
Mt Washington Cog Railway
Whales Tale Waterpark
Four Seasons Lodge
North Conway is a place for everyone (unless you really don’t like the cold of course - but that’s only in the winter). We have plenty of indoor and outdoor things to do that are easily accessible. So, it’s time to head outside to view the beauty that this beautiful valley snuggled into the Presidential Range.
No matter what time of year you decide to visit the White Mountains you will be blessed with fantastic views, clean mountain air and a fun getaway no matter what you’re into. Between scenic train rides, ski mountains, trails, and mountainous overlooks you can find something to fit everyone’s needs.
Plus, there’s always an option of staying nice and cozy inside. There’s nothing wrong with treating a vacation as a time to just detach from everyday life, veg out and enjoy some movies, books or quality time with your family or friends. There’s no way to vacation wrong unless you just keep working the entire time!
Now, if you’re ready to explore the White Mountains then you need a White Mountain cabin rental so that your adventure is right outside your door. If you want to walk outside to be hit with fresh mountain air then the Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch is the rental for you.
The White Mountain National Forest is only a short trip away from the Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch. The forest is famous for its miles upon miles of hiking trails, waterfalls, scenic peaks, fishing holes, campgrounds and much more! This protected land is very well loved in the Mount Washington Valley - and it’s open to everyone.
And by everyone - we mean EVERYONE. Everyone has a right to enjoy the White Mountain National Forest and they have made sure that it is truly accessible to everyone by building ADA compliant trails within the forest.
To make sure the White Mountain National Forest has ADA compliant trails they followed several different options that ADA requires.. It is noted that although these trails are compliant that does not mean they are all the same - so it’s important to know your plan beforehand!
Rail N’ River Trail begins on the Kancamagus Scenic Byway. It’s a flat trail that is a loop! It is quite shady and will take you out to the Swift River which is usually a good fishing spot.
Rocky Gorge Scenic Area is a paved path that crosses the Swift River below the Gorge. Once you cross the bridge the trail becomes compacted gravel and it narrows a bit. It’s a winding trail that will bring you along the edge of the Gorge and up to an overlook above the falls.
Now, the Rocky Gorge trail does have a small ridge with an 8% grade at the top and then it descends which has a short section that is a 14% grade which leads to a hardened viewing area near the water’s edge. There are benches along the trail from the parking lot to the pond.
You can choose an easier route that starts, not at the bridge, but along a hardened gravel trail that leads to the old location of Route 112. There is a beautiful masonry overlook that has a beautiful view of the bridge. It also has a bench if you need to rest!
All in all the first choice is 1,300 feet and the second option is 1,000 feet – and it ends in a widened area.
Sabbaday Falls is a 0.4-mile trail that leads to a beautiful series of water cascades. The trail is compact gravel and it is wheelchair accessible. However, keep in mind that there are some steep grades along the trail ranging between 6% to 25%. There are scattered level spots throughout the trail. There are also accessible toilets and a picnic area by the trailhead. Not all picnic areas are accessible but the toilets are.
If you’re trying to head up to the dam it may be difficult as the grassy path is a bit uneven. There are also two accessible fishing platforms and it is surfaced with gravel.
If you head away from the Saco Ranger District and direct yourself toward Pemigewasset Ranger District then you’ll find yourself near one of my favorite things to do in North Conway: Diana’s Baths. There is an accessible path surrounding Lucy Brook. The path leaves the West Side Road in North Conway.
The Baths themselves are 0.8 miles from the parking area - and they have accessible toilets as well! It truly is a beautiful spot for everyone to enjoy, whether you’re hopping into the water during the summer or just enjoying the view.
The Forest Discovery Trail rests along the Kancamagus Scenic Byway and is 800 feet from the Big Rock Campground entrance. There are two separate loops that give us a total of 1.3 miles.
These two loops are gravel, and their steepest grade is mostly 8%. Other than that it’s quite flat. These loops are quite shady and they have several cutting unit areas which are used for education for people learning about timber management.
There are also accessible bathrooms, benches, and interpretive panels along the trail.
The Lincoln Woods Trail starts along the Kancamagus Scenic Byway. This trail crosses a suspension bridge that crosses over the Pemigewasset River and then it runs alongside a railroad grade. It’s a shady, wide path with an easy grade. There are accessible toilets by the Lincoln Woods Visitor Center, which is where you park.
If you head toward the Livermore Road trail in Waterville Valley you’ll enjoy a shaded, gravel road that is pretty level throughout. It’s a former logging road and is great for horseback riding, mountain biking, and wheelchair hiking.
There are accessible restrooms in the parking area near Tripoli Road. If you want to view the falls park in the lot ¼ mile - this will bring you to the Ammonoosuc River which flows between granite shelves. It’s quite a small fall but definitely worth the sight!
If you’ve read this whole post thinking I hate hiking–fret not!
The Conway Scenic Railroad is one of the more popular things to do in North Conway, NH for people who enjoy the beautiful scenery. The Conway Scenic Railroad is quite old-fashioned - it departs from the North Conway Station which was built in 1874! On top of that, the railroad is made up of vintage cars from the 1920s.
There are a few different excursions to choose from. There’s one that goes over the river and through the woods and another which brings you some of the most dramatic scenery on the East Coast...if you’re a fan of drama.
The dramatic ride takes you by some steep ravines, bluffs, panoramic vistas, streams, brooks, and even across Frankenstein Trestle.
The best time to enjoy the Conway Scenic Railroad is in the autumn when the foliage is at its peak - but it’s just as beautiful in the summer when everything is vibrantly green. Now, they do have wheelchair access - however, it’s limited. Just make sure to call ahead to make your reservation and request assistance. They will happily accommodate you.
Clark’s Trading Post has an access ramp and accessible restrooms at the Main Gift Shop, and they have access to the main entrance at the railroad station and even wheelchairs you can borrow for free! Just keep in mind that they’re first come, first serve.
They also have accessible restrooms on the grounds! If you’re there to see the Bear Show then they have 4 wheelchair-designated spots on the ground level with companion seating. Again, they are first come first serve - so plan accordingly.
You can also head into the 1884 Hook and Ladder Fire Station, Americana Building, Avery’s Garage and Clark History which are all handicap accessible! You can also enjoy Kilburn’s Photo Parlor, You Name it Emporium, the Candle Shop, the Maple Cabin, the Peppermint Saloon, the Whistle-Stop Snack Bar and Tuttle’s Shooting Gallery.
Loon Mountain Resort is a great place to see skyline views of the White Mountains. You can ride up in the Gondola which seats 4 people. Wheelchairs can be sent up beforehand so that they’re ready for you when you arrive at the summit. You can enjoy the ride and the views but once you’re at the top the accessibility is quite limited.
You’ll still be able to enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the Presidential Range.
If you want another uphill view of the Presidential Range then head to the Mount Washington Cog Railway. The historic coaches do have some narrow door openings but they have made every effort to be accommodating.
You can bring your own foldable wheelchair to the summit or they can provide one for you! However, you are required to transfer from your wheelchair, or with assistance from your own party. The summit itself is not fully accessible but it’s not impossible!
Santa’s Village in Jefferson, NH is a great place with paved and accessible walkways. They even offer wheelchairs to use for free or you can rent a motorized scooter if you prefer!
If you have youths in your group then head to Story Land. They have accessible restrooms, drinking fountains and even accessible First Aid stations. Food areas are willing to accommodate by bringing out trays and they have specially marked picnic tables in the eating areas.
If you’re a fan of rides you can enjoy the Buccaneer Pirate Ship, the Carousel, Huff Puff & Whistle Railroad, and the Great Balloon Chase. Guests need to transfer themselves on and off or with the help of someone in their party for any other rides.
Service dogs are welcome at Story Land but they must remain leashed or harnessed with a member of the guests party at all times. Some rides are inaccessible for dogs.
Last but not least, if your family is trying to swim about during the summer then head to Whales Tale Waterpark in Lincoln, NH. There is easy access to the Wave Pool and Whale Harbor. Sadly, all of the waterslides have stairs - but since it’s somewhat accessible in the park they have a special admission price!
Off You Pop
It's time to plan your next vacation!
Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch (603) 662 - 5391