Accessible Tupper Lake

Tupper Lake is for everybody!

We firmly believe that any vacation to Tupper Lake, NY should be fun and filled to the brim with opportunities to explore. Now it's as easy as ever to connect with and discover Tupper Lake's wild lands and attractions, with a variety of experiences that are welcoming and designed with visitors with disabilities in mind. To ensure that your next vacation is as much fun as can be, and to help you plan, we've put together this guide to some of the region's best accessible experiences that no one should miss.

Connect with nature

Obviously you didn't decide to visit the Adirondacks to sit in a hotel room all vacation. The Adirondacks and Tupper Lake are an outdoor paradise just waiting to be explored. And you don't need to hike deep into the backcountry or canoe somewhere remote to visit these totally accessible, family-friendly, and beautifully scenic spots.

In the heart of the Village of Tupper Lake you will find the expansive Tupper Lake Municipal Park, which closely flanks the shores of Raquette Pond. It's perfect for relaxing, there's a paved waterfront walkway (did we mention the fantastic sunset view?), and lots of room to spread out and enjoy the outdoors. Near the walkway is also the Little Loggers Playground which has handicapped-accessible areas and a shaded picnic table area. 

If you're up for a little exploration, the multi-use Junction Pass Trail is tight-packed gravel and connects the two distinct business districts in town! The path flows along an old railroad bed so it's smooth and flat, making it a great destination for those looking to explore Tupper Lake away from the traffic.

For those who are looking for some "reel" serious fun, there are multiple fishing platforms in the region designed with accessibility in mind. There are two platforms at the Municipal Park, one at Horseshoe Lake, and one at Piercefield Flow.

Another accessible activity is birding. Tupper Lake is unique in that there are really productive birding locations easily accessible to everyone. Right off the main road, a wetland rich in species diversity can be viewed from a wooden platform. This spot along the causeway between Simon Pond and Tupper Lake is great for seeing and hearing a variety of bird species. You might even see a Bald Eagle!

Discover your wild side

The Wild Center, Tupper Lake's famous natural history museum, has gone above and beyond to accommodate and provide a variety of services to meet the needs of all visitors.

Some accessibility features at The Wild Center include:

  • Manual wheelchairs and walkers available for loan free of charge
  • Power scooter available (please call to reserve)
  • Wagons / strollers for children for loan free of charge
  • Universal design of main building and exhibit hall
  • Accessible loop trail (0.2 miles) around Greenleaf Pond
  • Accessible Wild Walk
  • Guided tour for the visually impaired (please call in advance to schedule)
  • Captioning available on theater movies

By day explore The Wild Center, and by night explore the cosmos at the Adirondack Sky Center. The observatory has designated handicap parking, and, since COVID, telescope views are shown on a T.V. screen, which makes them more accessible. Virtual events are also being hosted regularly.

The Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center, located not far from Tupper Lake, is a great place to get outdoors. The main building, which features gallery space with local art, a theater, a gift shop complete with Adirondack memorabilia, exhibits, and a great room to relax and enjoy the views in, is all on one level and is fully accessible for visitors in wheelchairs, with walkers, and other mobility concerns. Need help with the front door? Call ahead and a staff member will gladly assist you! Outside, the Barnum Brook Trail, while not ADA-compliant, is wheelchair accessible and popular amongst nature lovers, wildlife viewers, kids, adults, and everyone in between. This 0.6 mile trail is a loop with a network of bridges, boardwalks, and overlooks. Those in power wheelchairs should have no trouble, but there is one hill with an 8-10% grade that should be considered. However, taking the trail counterclockwise will ensure you don't have to go up the hill.

Stay for awhile

Camping is an Adirondack tradition, and mobility or accessibility should not stop you from experiencing a night outdoors! John Dillon Park is a fully accessible ADA compliant wilderness campground and day-use facility. There is the fully accessible, 5-mile round-trip Handsome Pond Trail (made up of smooth gravel and boardwalks), a fishing platform on Grampus Lake, and boating trips on a pontoon boat. In addition to accessible trails and activities, John Dillon Park has 9 lean-tos, all of which are wheelchair accessible. Some of the lean-tos also have fold-down beds, and all sites come with accessible picnic tables, fire pits, and are equipped with electricity to charge wheelchairs if necessary.

Two men in motorized wheelchairs exit an accessible lean-to that is located in a green Adirondack forest.

Come for the day or for a few nights to immerse yourself in Tupper Lake's nature!

Beyond Tupper Lake

There are accessible spaces throughout the Adirondacks that offer beauty to all travelers. Adirondack Wayfinder offers a specially designed road trip trail highlighting accessible camping, historic sites, attractions, and more!

Local resources

The Tri-Lakes Center for Independent Living (TLCIL) is a fantastic regional organization that provides many services to individuals and their families with accessibility concerns. The TLCIL even has a "Loan Closet," consisting of items such as wheelchairs, walkers, temporary ramps, and more, which may be loaned out. If you find yourself trying to plan a trip to the area and want to borrow an item or simply ask for information, the TLCIL welcomes your call or email!

Additional travel tips

  • Questions? Please feel free to call ahead to chat directly with a hotel, restaurant, or attraction.
  • If you have special needs, please mention them at the time of reservation, and call the provider 24 to 48 hours before your arrival to confirm that proper accommodations have been made. Don't hesitate to ask for specifics such as door and bathroom measurements if you question whether or not your wheelchair will fit.
  • Please be specific and clear when describing a disability. Not all service providers know the "lingo" of accessible travel, but they do want to help make sure you have a wonderful experience when you visit. Give as many details as you can about your needs. The more information a service provider has, the better they will be able to accommodate you and make your visit as easy and comfortable as possible.

 


 

Most importantly, remember to have fun while you're discovering your wild side in Tupper Lake, New York!