Finding outfitters for disabled travelers

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of April 17-23, 1997
Heading where weather is a safe bet
Vacations for working with animals
Off-season hiking and diving in Grenada
Finding outfitters for disabled travelers
Mountain biking near Lake Tahoe

Finding outfitters for disabled travelers
Question: Our family is planning a trip to Dinosaur National Monument, the Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone in late June or early July. One child is handicapped, using a wheelchair. Are there outfitters who will take us on a rafting trip? We're also looking for horseback riding. Our handicapped son is in a therapeutic riding program and his teacher advises us that he could ride a quiet horse on a lead. Are there other activities you would suggest for us?

Nancy Garrison
Franklin, TN
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: You picked two perfect activities to explore the wild west, and from the sounds of it, you won't have much trouble finding outfitters to accommodate your son. If he already participates in therapeutic riding lessons, you must be familiar with the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (800-369-7433). It has member facilities everywhere, but unfortunately its Jackson, Wyoming, ranch is only available to local residents. But have no fear. The Mill Iron Ranch (888-808-6390), run by Kim and Chancy Wheeldon, tries very hard to accommodate handicapped riders. Their standard mountain trail ride is somewhat rugged, climbing 2,000 vertical feet in an hour and 15 minutes, but if you call them well in advance, they'll do everything they can to put your son on a horse. The ranch is located 11 miles south of Jackson in Horse Creek Canyon. Prices average $35 per person for a two-hour ride.

Call Jackson-based Lewis and Clark (800-824-5375) for a rafting expedition. Be forewarned, however, that this summer everyone in the industry is expecting record-breaking water levels, which means you'll be in for a wild ride. Depending on the type of disability your son has, Lewis and Clark should be able to take him in a raft that has an inflatable floor, which will make the ride much sturdier. The standard price for a scenic trip — as opposed to a whitewater trip — is $30 for adults, $25 for children, and includes lunch.

Another outfitter to try is the Snake River Kayak and Canoe School (307-733-3127). This school has a special-use permit for handicapped clients.

As for Yellowstone, it is stated in the vendor's contract that it has to make its best effort to accommodate handicapped clients. For details about outfitters who operate within the park, call 307-344-2115. For details about handicapped facilities within the park, call 307-344-2018.

As far as Dinosaur National Monument goes, you have to remember that it's only a monument. That means it will have far fewer facilities and not nearly as many outfitters.

Search the archives | Ask the Adventure Adviser

©2000, Mariah Media Inc.

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web