This is a guest post written by Enock Glidden, MTF Accessibility Ambassador, Public Speaker, Adaptive Athlete, and Adventurer. To learn more about Enock, please visit his website.
This year I am hoping to get some group or one on one hikes together. I would love to interview other people with disabilities about their experiences in the outdoors. The more perspectives we can get the better the information will be and the more progress we can make.
Hey fellow hikers! I finally made it back to Giant's Stairs to do it the “right way”.
The first time I ventured out to Bailey Island to check out Giant's Stairs I chose the wrong parking area and ended up starting at the really inaccessible end. This is what I encountered that time.
I was pretty sure if I had parked at the Episcopal Church instead and rolled down Ocean Street, I would have found much more favorable hiking conditions.
I was totally right about better hiking conditions from the church end of the trail, but it was a really busy weekend. When we arrived there wasn’t any parking left. We decided to go check out some other nearby spots that are less popular and then go back.
We went to Johnson Field first to check out the views of the boats and water. I decided to try going down on the beach but got stuck. It was quite a chore to get back up onto the field area but Sandy and I made it eventually.
After that little side excursion we made our way back to the Episcopal Church to hopefully find a parking spot and we found one open.
The Giant's Stairs trail starts at the bottom of the hill on Ocean Street, to the right when looking at the church. The hill is quite steep with a maximum slope of 9 percent. It's not easy to push up and it was a bit difficult to maintain control on the way down. I had to do a wheelie to keep my speed under control.
Once at the bottom I was pleasantly surprised with a really great trail. Of course I have said that before at the beginning of trails and then had things go wrong. That was not the case this time. This trail is excellent. They used large gravel for the surface. I assume this is to prevent erosion from all the use it gets and the ocean storms. Because it gets so much use the surface is firmly packed down so it was actually quite easy to roll along.
The views from this trail are stunning. The rocky coastline of Maine is on full display and does not disappoint. There are perfect pull-offs along the way to stop and take in the view and not be in the way of the trail.
The trail is about 3 to 4 feet wide. This meant a few times people had to stop and let me pass by. The trail does go uphill, but maintains a 5 percent slope or less all the way to the Giant's Stairs overlook.
Unfortunately a wheelchair user is unable to get down to see the actual Giant's Stairs but I didn't feel that left out. The view of the rocky coast is essentially the same thing. It is just a different shape.
I would highly recommend checking this place out. It is well worth the effort.I would also recommend going during the week if possible. It is quite popular on weekends and parking is very limited. Also parking is off limits at the church on Sunday.
There are a couple of spots with rocks protruding out of the ground. I did have Sandy help me up over one section. Other than that I was easily able to navigate all the way to the overlook.
I wouldn’t rate this one totally accessible because of the large gravel and couple of spots with large rocks to go over. Also the hill getting to the actual trailhead is quite steep which could be a problem. There is technically one parking spot next to the road at the bottom of the hill but it is very small. It would be hard to get out of with a van or larger vehicle.
If you do visit this amazing place let us know what you thought in the comments.
If you have a different type of mobility issue or a different disability and you visit this trail or others, please comment on this post and give us your feedback. The more knowledge we gather and share, the more people we can get outside using the trails of Maine!
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