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.
Hey fellow hikers! This is going to be a short one that fits nicely with a short accessible trail in Rumford. I visited the Swift River Trail a few years ago, but never reviewed it from an accessibility point of view.
This trail is also known as the Dan Richard Walking Trail.
The trail is about a quarter of a mile long one way which doing the math makes a half mile out and back. Pro tip: do not stop at the first parking lot. I made that mistake the first time I went. That one is for the tennis and basketball courts. The actual trailhead is a bit further ahead and is really well made. The road is downhill to the accessible parking lot and is a bit steep. If you want to make the trail more challenging you could stop at the first lot.
Right off the parking lot is a beautiful spot to hang out and have a picnic. It isn't necessarily accessible as the terrain is just natural grass but I had no trouble moving around down to the water's edge.
The trail starts right off the parking lot with an opening wider than the trail.
The trail is completely paved from one end to the other with mostly flat terrain. There are resting benches at the correct intervals. They are easy to get to and placed in areas with beautiful views.
There is one bridge that is really well made and perfectly accessible. There is a slight slope leading up to it but it is very manageable.
There is one hill that is a bit long but is gradual. I had no problem navigating it.
You will notice a number of side trails. Those are meant for ATVs but I decided to check one out for a little added adventure. I thought it might get me closer to the water but in the end, it just looped right back to the trail. It had some really sandy sections that were hard to push through and it gave me more of a workout.
The trail ends at the sports fields fence. You could get back to the upper parking lot by going on the grass along the edge of the fence but I just chose to turn around.
This trail really perfectly implements all the requirements of an accessible trail. One thing that isn't necessarily a requirement but I really think should be is distance markers. I find them really helpful to judge what my total distance will be.
The awesome thing about this trail is the beauty at the beginning and end. I had to stop and just take in the sounds of the water and birds when I was finished. What an amazing spot to just relax and bring down your blood pressure and stress levels.
If you are in the Rumford area and looking for a place to get a little exercise and maybe have a picnic this is the place to go. This one is obviously rated accessible. There is nothing inaccessible about it. A definite must to check out.
This year I hope to get some group or one on one hikes together. I would love to interview other people with disabilities about their outdoor experiences. The more perspectives we can get the better the information will be and the more progress we can make.
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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