Accessible Outdoor Recreation

Wildlands Conservancy Sensory Trail

Name of Location:  Wildlands Conservancy, Emmaus, PA

What:  The Wildlands Conservancy is an environmental organization providing land stewardship of various nature preserves and environmental education programs.  Has a sensory trail created on their property designed primarily for people with vision loss.  It is a loop trail, mostly meadow.

Accessibility Features:  A sensory trail has been created on the property of the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary designed primarily for people with vision loss.

Accessibility Description:  The trail is a half mile loop trail through mostly meadowland.  Most of the footing is grass.  A rope guide goes along the entire length and at various support posts, there are kiosks presenting wildlife information in braille and large print, along with imprints of animal tracks and accompanying descriptions, and a ‘seasonal box’ with items that may change with the seasons.  Walkers will encounter some incline when walking the entire loop. 

Direction to Accessible Location:  The loop trail is on the property at the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary.  The main offices of the Conservancy are on this property at 3701 Orchid Place, Emmaus, PA.  However, the sensory trail is not at the location of the office and educational buildings and the main parking lot and is generally too far to travel from there by foot.

Assuming you are traveling by vehicle, to get to the sensory trail parking, from the Main office parking lot, exit turn left on Orchid, at Riverbend turn left, at Cedar Crest turn left, quickly look for Farr Rd turn left.  The entrance is about 100 yards on the left. 

Other pertinent information:  Paratransit vehicles may have difficulty finding the correct parking lot unless you can direct them.  At present, there are no restroom facilities at the sensory trail location.  There is a covered pavilion nearby.


Shelter House Sensory Trail

Name of Location:  Shelter House, Emmaus, PA

What:  The Shelter House is a historical log structure, “the oldest continually inhabited dwelling” in the Lehigh Valley. 

Accessibility Features:  Shelter House has created a woodland sensory trail on their property designed for accessibility by people with vision loss.  Note: nearing completion, minor changes pending.

Accessibility Description:  The sensory trail begins at the right edge of the parking lot as you were entering from the drive at the Shelter House.  The parking area is not very big.  Upon locating the trail at the edge of the parking lot, there is a beginning post and rope guide on the right side of the path.  There are two rope guides, one at hand level and one closer to ground level which can guide those traveling with a white cane.  The ropes are supported by posts along the trail at approximately 10-foot intervals.  Some of the posts will feature braille description plaques at the top of the post.  The footing is mulch.  The trail is mostly wide enough to be comfortably navigated by two people walking side by side.  The trail does experience some incline as you walk in.  It is less than a half-mile long and not exceptionally strenuous.

The trail does not make a full loop.  Walkers will find the end of the trail marked and roped across.  Walkers will then return the way they came, with the rope guides now on their left.

Directions to Accessible Location:  The Shelter House is In Emmaus.  If the Emmaus Triangle at Main Street and South 4th Street is on your left as you pass, turn left on South 4th street.  Pass Broad Street, Minor Street, Furnace Street.  At the end will be Fairview Street, turn left until reaching the Shelter House and parking lot at the end of the street (no outlet).  The sensory trail would begin at the right side of the parking area as you were coming in the drive.

Other pertinent information:  The property is open during the day.  However, the Shelter House is only open by appointment if a visitor wants to see the historical building itself.  To do so, contact the curator in advance to set an appointment:  Dean Bortz, 610-965-9258


Accessible Fishing Area – Allentown

What:  Allentown Park offers an area for accessible fishing on the Little Lehigh Creek

Accessibility Features:  There is a parking area and a four foot wide stone pathway which runs along the creek giving close access to the water for fishing, accessible by people in wheelchairs. 

Accessibility Description:  Stone pathway running along the creek offers access close enough for fishing.

Directions to accessible location:  The address is in Little Lehigh Park, 1600 Park Drive in Allentown, PA.


Leaser Lake Accessible Canoe & Kayak Launch & Fishing Pier

What:  Leaser Lake is a beautiful lake in Northwest Lehigh County that is owned and managed by Lehigh County and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Accessibility Features:  Leaser Lake features both an accessible canoe and kayak launcher and an accessible fishing pier for people with disabilities.  Also an accessible picnic area and tables.

Accessibility Description:  Canoe and Kayak Launch-  Wheelchair access from the parking lot allows those with disabilities to travel to the kayak launch at the water’s edge to position their craft in the water at the launch and enter the craft independently through sliding along a descending level of seats and overhead hand supports to reach entry level.  Similarly, users can return to the launch and disembark.

The fishing pier allows wheelchair users access from the parking area to the pier.  The aluminum floating pier is a T-shape and wide enough for several people to fish the lake.

Directions to accessible location:  From Allentown:  Travel west on Route 78 to Exit 40, Route 737.  Turn right onto Route 737.  At Route 143, turn right.  Traveling north on Route 145, pass Wannamaker’s General Store, turn left on Leaser Lake Road.  Turn right onto Follenwieiler Road which ends at the lake access and parking area.

Other pertinent information:  While the lake does have accessible bathrooms, they are not at this location.  The accessible bathrooms are at the other access area.  To get there, continue driving north on Rt 143 to Ontelannee Rd, turn left – follow the road to the park area.


Hawk Mountain ADA Accessible Trail

What: Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is an international center for raptor conservation, education, observation, and research.

Accessibility Features:  The newly opened, ADA accessible Silhouette Trail to South Lookout is 900 feet long with a grade of less than 8.3 percent, below the federal guideline for national parks. Most areas are even less steep and overall, the trail averages an 8 percent grade. Bench seating with pull bars are located every 100 feet.

This trail currently features a life-size vulture silhouette gallery.  The trail connects to the Laurelwood Niche, a secluded area for education programs and designed to provide space for a wheelchair or stroller.

The South Lookout includes a smooth, flat, and natural viewing area with one bench with a pull bar. Nearby are two additional benches that offer a place to rest. Binoculars are recommended at all Lookouts.

Trailside restrooms are located near the trailhead entrance and also are ADA compliant. A bench with a pull bar is located near the

Also, the Native Plant Garden features a brick walkway that is accessible by wheelchair. The pathway makes a short loop and includes a viewing deck over a small pond. Gates are opened during the daytime hours.

The Visitor Center main floor is accessible and restrooms feature an accessible stall. The downstairs gallery is not accessible. The Visitor Center includes birdfeeder viewing areas on both sides of the building.

An accessible parking lot is provided with designated parking spaces.

Directions:  Hawk Mountain is located at 1700 Hawk Mountain Road, Kempton, PA 19529