Skip to main content


Open the Outdoors

People taking a stroll along the Butterfly Pond Trail at High Cliff State Park.
People taking a stroll along the Butterfly Pond Trail at High Cliff State Park.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is committed to providing exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities for people of all abilities around the state. Whether at our parks and forests, on land and water, there is something for everyone.

Find Accessible Outdoor Recreation Activities

From adaptive equipment to accessible fishing piers, hiking trails, and campsites, the DNR State Parks Accessibility Map opens the outdoors to people of all abilities to make memories, learn new skills and enjoy the benefits of nature. Use this map to get inspired and take advantage of the wide array of accessible recreation opportunities available throughout Wisconsin's state parks, forests and recreation areas.

Use the interactive map on Find a Park to explore recreation opportunities that fit your abilities. Filter the map by Accessible Features and Services to find accessible trails, campsites, cabins, fishing piers, wildlife blinds, and adaptive equipment at state parks across the state.

Many state properties host adaptive equipment for outdoor recreation. The DNR adaptive equipment fleet includes adaptive kayaks, beach wheelchairs, outdoor wheelchairs, cross-county sit skis and beach access mats. Visit our Adaptive Equipment page for more information.


Many of our state parks provide beach access for people with mobility disabilities by use of beach wheelchairs or beach access mats.

Several parks have specialized beach wheelchairs with large inflatable tires that allow for easy maneuvering on sand and entry into the water. Others feature accessible beach access mats that provide a stable surface for walking and the use of mobility devices.

Beach Access Mat at Richard Bong State Recreation Area.
Beach Access Mat at Richard Bong State
Recreation Area.

The properties below feature universal beach access.

Whitefish Dunes State Park has a beach wheelchair (limited beach access due to construction). Beach access conditions can fluctuate due to weather and water levels, so make sure to check with the Park for more information.



Accessible campsite at High Cliff State Park.
Accessible campsite at High Cliff State Park.

Wisconsin's state parks with improved campgrounds provide accessible campsites for people with disabilities. Some properties have accessible cabins.

Check out our Accessible Camping and Cabins page for more information.

Accessible boardwalk with fishing access winding along the shore of Mirror Lake, near the boat launch at Mirror Lake State Park.
Accessible boardwalk with fishing access winding along the shore of Mirror Lake,
near the boat launch at Mirror Lake State Park.


Several opportunities exist around Wisconsin with excellent shore-fishing opportunities for people with disabilities. There are piers and platforms on Wisconsin's beautiful lakes and rivers.

Since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), every fishing pier the Department of Natural Resources builds is accessible to people with disabilities. The accessible fishing piers are designed to accommodate wheelchairs, are wider to offer enough room for turning around and have lower railings and rod holders so that anglers can cast out and fish.


  • Use our printable Parks Accessibility Map to find accessible fishing piers and other accessible features within the Wisconsin State Parks System.
  • Use the interactive map on our Find a Park page to explore recreation opportunities that fit your abilities, including locating accessible fishing piers. Filter the map by Accessible Features and Services.


 An accessible fishing pier at Loon Lake on a foggy morning at Copper Falls State Park
An accessible fishing pier at Loon Lake on a foggy morning at Copper Falls State Park.

Fishing Organizations

Three prominent disability groups in Wisconsin provide enhanced fishing experiences to people with disabilities. From adaptive equipment to numerous events throughout the year, these organizations offer a variety of opportunities for people with disabilities to get out on the water fishing. See their websites below to find out more.

Hunting Blinds
Two gentleman in wheelchairs and a yellow Labrador using an accessible hunting blind at Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area.
Two gentleman in wheelchairs and a yellow
Labrador using an accessible hunting blind
at Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area.
Photo courtesy of WI Waterfowl Association.

Some of our public lands around the state have hunting blinds that provide a stable platform for hunters looking for accessible hunting opportunities. Hunting blinds also generally have wide entryways and ramps, which make it easier to enter and move around for the perfect view.

Check out our list of hunting blinds on DNR public lands and in our state park properties. Please contact the property directly before heading there to hunt to be sure the blind is open and available so your hunt can go on as planned.

Universal Kayak Launches

The DNR is also adding universal kayak launches. The first location to receive one is Merrick State Park. Universal kayak launches feature an accessible route of travel, a transfer bench, handrails, and rollers or launch guides to help glide the vessel into the water. Construction is underway for additional universal kayak launches at other properties, so check back for updates.

Universal kayak launch at Merrick State Park.
Universal kayak launch at Merrick State Park.

Some state parks also offer canoe and kayak rentals, including adaptive kayaks. Adaptive kayaks feature a seat with a raised back and side supports, hand braces for individuals with limited grip and outriggers near the back of the kayak for added stability in the water. They are a great option for paddlers of all abilities and skills. Check out the Adaptive Equipment page for more information on adaptive kayaks and locations.

Universal Play Areas

Several state properties feature new playground areas that are universally accessible for all visitors. These playgrounds include an accessible play surface and inclusive play equipment and are on accessible routes of travel.

Accessible play area at Peninsula State Park.
Accessible play area at Peninsula
State Park.

Find universal play areas at properties across the state.

Universal Trails

Many DNR properties have universal trails that provide great opportunities for outdoor recreation. There are different hard surface types that may be suited for visitors of all abilities, including visitors using mobility devices.

People walking along Lapham Peaks' Plantation Trail in the Kettle Moraine State Forest.
People walking along Lapham Peaks'
Plantation Trail in the Kettle Moraine
State Forest.

Some common trail surfaces are considered more universally accessible than others.

  • Asphalt/Paved: Often used for surfacing roads and parking lots, asphalt is a great hard surface for recreational trails. The sturdy surface works well for wheeled equipment like wheelchairs, walkers, bikes, etc. Although smooth, paved trails can become bumpy over time, they provide a good option as a sturdy surface, especially for hills and inclines.
  • Boardwalk: Boardwalks are typically constructed out of wood and are often used to provide access through wetlands or across uneven terrain. Boardwalks provide great opportunities to explore and view wildlife but can be narrow at times and may become slippery when wet.
  • Crushed Limestone Or Crushed Granite: Crushed limestone or crushed granite trails are a popular option as they have improved shock absorption and reduced heat for trail users.

Universal Trail Recommendations

We’ve compiled a list of universal trail recommendations for DNR properties and trails that are great options to consider when planning your outdoor adventures.

These Universal Trail Recommendations include trails that have a firm or stable surface with no obvious obstacles. However, not all trails are suitable for all users. There may be more trails suitable for use depending on individual abilities. Please see the property’s trail page for detailed descriptions or call the property for conditions and usability.

Winter Recreation

The Wisconsin DNR is committed to providing universal access opportunities for all Wisconsinites, even in winter. Several Wisconsin state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas offer a variety of options for people with disabilities to enjoy the wintry outdoors.

Cross-country Sit Skis

Cross-country sit skis are a fantastic opportunity for people with mobility impairments to get out to enjoy the peace and solitude of winter. Sit skis are available for free use at some Wisconsin state park locations. All locations offering these sit skis have flat-groomed trails that allow for easier maneuverability.


Winter recreation on nature trails, recreation trails and state trails vary from location to location, but there are several areas across the state where trail access is universally accessible all year round.

  • Pattison State Park: the parking lot and paved path on the south side of the Big Manitou Falls are cleared of snow, offering a great opportunity to view the majestic frosty falls in the winter.
  • Devil’s Lake State Park: the paved walkway at the North Shore Day Use Area is plowed with accessible fire rings cleared of snow.
  • Kettle Moraine State Forest – Lapham Peak: the Plantation Path is plowed providing a 1.8-mile paved loop with a few options for choosing a shorter or longer trek.
  • Lakeshore State Park: take the eastern path (runs north and south). The south-end parking lot and the road leading to Erie Street are also plowed.

There are several state trails throughout the state that are either fully or partially plowed. Please check with the property or county for exact plowing markers before visiting.

Plowed Park Roads

Some of our state park properties plow campground and access roads, providing an opportunity for universal pedestrian access in the winter. These plowed roads are still open for vehicle access but also serve as a recreational alternative to snowy or icy trails.

The Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit has a plowed open loop at Ottawa Lake, including the road from the contact station to the boat launch. Check out campsites in the 100s and 200s at the Mauthe Lake Campground loop at Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit for a quiet, plowed and paved path.

The campground roads at Clear Lake and Crystal Lake in the Northern Highland – American Legion State Forest are plowed and a popular way to explore the quiet campgrounds in the winter. Plowed roads at Wildcat Mountain State Park are scenic. Depending on pheasant hunting season, Rhodes Road at Richard Bong State Recreation Area is either fully or partially plowed and available for hunters and non-hunters alike. Portions of Shuttle Road at Harrington Beach State Park are plowed and accessible.

And, for some dune action, the campground loop at Kohler-Andrae State Park is also another popular paved, plowed path for pedestrian access.

Ice Fishing And Lake Access

Ice fishing on a beautiful Wisconsin winter evening.
Ice fishing on a beautiful Wisconsin
winter evening.

Many state park properties regularly plow and clear snow from boat launches to provide better universal access to the ice. Plan to explore the frozen lakes from the plowed launches at these properties, including the Chippewa Flowage; Connors Lake and Lake of the Pines at Flambeau River State Forest; Cox Hollow and Twin Valley Lakes at Governor Dodge State Park; Mauthe Lake and Long Lake at Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern UnitLake Wissota State ParkMirror Lake State ParkWillow River State Park and access to the Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge at Wyalusing State Park. Access via plowed boat launches opens the possibility of ice fishing or exploring the perimeter of lakes.

Call the property to check on the snow removal conditions of the boat launches. The DNR does not monitor ice conditions. Please check the conditions before venturing out on the ice.