Utah is known for its recreation opportunities, from hiking in five national parks to skiing The Greatest Snow on Earth® to white-water rafting down the mighty Colorado River. But did you know all of these attractions and activities are accessible to people of all ability levels? And don't forget the city scene. You can catch Utah Jazz NBA basketball, Real Salt Lake MLS soccer, Utah Bees baseball, Utah Grizzlies hockey, the Utah Symphony, a traveling Broadway show, an art gallery, museums, or maybe the opera. Having fun in Utah is no problem, no matter your ability level.
The following Utah organizations work together to advocate specialized recreation plans through the use of adaptive equipment, trained staff, and scholarships. Utah's adaptive adventures and recreation opportunities create lasting, life-enhancing experiences by connecting people, nature, volunteers, teachers and the community.
Download a PDF one-sheet, or continue reading to learn about the organizations posted on this page. You may also request our free Travel Guide, which has ideas for planning your Utah trip, including an Adaptive Travel section. For even more tips about how to explore Utah, download the Utah Developmental Disabilities Council's Utah's Travel Guide for People With Disabilities (PDF).
Once You're Here
- Salt Lake City International Airport is 10 minutes from downtown and offers a guide for travelers with disabilities.
- Wheelchair Getaways in Salt Lake City, can meet you at the airport with a fully-accessible, ramp-equipped rental van.
- United Access offers a fleet of late-model wheelchair accessible van rentals for daily, weekly or long-term needs. The most common wheelchair van rental includes a lowered floor minivan with an automatic fold-out ramp providing convenience for a ride to that special family occasion, medical appointment, sporting event or vacation outing.
- Thrifty Car Rental at Salt Lake City International Airport offers accessible minivans that include wheelchair ramps with dropdown service for ground-level access, hand controls, and removable seats to accommodate wheelchairs. For more information or to book your minivan contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website.
Utah is home to five spectacular national parks, 43 state parks, two national recreation areas, and countless Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recreation sites, most of which are easily accessible to those with disabilities. To make planning your park & recreation area adventures easier, take a look at the following websites for a complete list of trails, activities, and facilities to add to your vacation itinerary.
For the Adventure of a Lifetime
Splore is a nonprofit organization that has been providing outdoor recreation opportunities for people with disabilities since 1977, including the incredible river trip down the Colorado River. Read more about Splore below, or read about The Salt Lake Tribune's unforgettable "Bucket List" experience with Splore, including a short video from the production.
National Parks, State Parks and Public Lands
US Bureau of Land Management or call 801-539-4225
Wasatch Front Adaptive Recreation Resources
TRAILS (Therapeutic Recreation And Independent Life Styles), Salt Lake City, is an outreach program of the University of Utah Health Care Rehabilitation Center that promotes health and active lifestyles for individuals with spinal cord injury or disease through the educational, social, and psychological components of recreation. TRAILS works with doctors, therapy professionals (physical, occupational, and recreation), and engineers to develop programs and adaptive equipment specifically for those with spinal cord injuries. The organization also works with the University of Utah Recreation and Outdoor Rental Program to house and rent adaptive equipment. Statewide programs include hand-cycling, swim lessons, kayak outings, camping, and skiing. http://healthcare.utah.edu/rehab/support_services/trails.html, 801-581-2526
Splore, Salt Lake City, has been providing outdoor recreation opportunities for people with disabilities since 1977. Programs throughout the Salt Lake and Moab areas are season-specific and go year-round. SPLORE is most well-known for being the first organization in the state to take people with disabilities rafting down the Colorado River. Additional programs include indoor and outdoor rock climbing, canoeing, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, camping, and specialized group trips. Be sure to ask about the scholarship program. www.splore.org, 801-484-4128
The Kostopulos Dream Foundation, Salt Lake City: Camp K is a place for people of all ages and ability levels. Campers can stay on-site for a week and enjoy activities such as horseback riding, arts and crafts, canoeing, camping, rope courses, and fishing. Camp K also offers week long road trips on their Travel Trip Adventures programs where participants can enjoy hiking, camping, river rafting and wildlife viewing at places such as Bryce Canyon, Moab, Yellowstone, and other regional adventure destinations. The Kostopulos Dream Foundation is located on 25 acres of woods, mountains, lakes, and streams up Salt Lake's Emigration Canyon. Be sure to ask about the scholarship program. www.campk.org, email@example.com, 801-582-0700
Salt Lake County Parks & Recreation Adaptive Program The mission of the SL County Parks & Recreation Adaptive Program is to enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities by facilitating equal access and experiences for all, regardless of age or ability. Programs are year-round and numerous, ranging from sports to social activities. The program is constantly adding new activities ranging from sled hockey to adaptive baseball to the Special Olympics. Check the website for more information. www.recreation.slco.org/adaptive, 801-559-1500
Wasatch Adaptive Sports at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort is located atop Salt Lake's Little Cottonwood Canyon and is best known for their winter programs which include skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and sled hockey. But they also offer a host of year-round adaptive adventures and programming such as tram rides to stunning, 11,000 foot mountain views, alpine slides, zip lines, and a barrier-free trail for wheelchair and hand-cycling access. Programs include skiing, hiking, fishing, orienteering, cycling, horseback riding and bowling. Be sure to ask about the scholarship program. www.wasatchadaptivesports.org, 801-933-2188
Courage Reins Therapeutic Riding Center, Highland, Utah County: Courage Reins' mission is to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. Through therapeutic horseback riding and other equine based activities, Courage Reins provides a safe, fun, and challenging setting for physical, cognitive, social, and emotional growth. On-staff physical and occupational therapists are professionals in Hippotherapy and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy sessions. www.couragereins.org, 801-756-8900
Wasatch Back Adaptive Recreation Resources
Common Ground Outdoor Adventures, Logan: With programs throughout the state and surrounding region, Common Ground's mission is to provide life-enhancing outdoor recreational opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities. Common Ground provides adaptive equipment and support, enabling people with disabilities to participate in outdoor adventures alongside their peers. Programs are year-round and varied, but they are best known for their destination and vacation trips to Utah's state and national parks. Activities include fishing, hiking, climbing, hand-cycling, destination trips, dog sledding, canoeing, skiing, yurt trips, camping, and river rafting. Be sure to ask about the scholarship program. www.cgadventures.org, 435-713-0288
The National Ability Center in Park City is committed to serving people of all abilities by providing affordable sports and recreational experiences in a nurturing environment. As a national role model, the center promotes the concept of ability through integration, public awareness and education. Last year, 28,000 total lessons and outings were provided for more than 4,100 people of all abilities. Activities include equestrian, paddle sports, water sports, cycling, mountain biking, winter fat biking, alpine skiing, snowboarding, indoor and outdoor rock climbing, canoeing, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, aquatics, camps, challenge course, competition programs, ability awareness and custom group activities. Be sure to ask about the scholarship program. www.discovernac.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 435-649-3991
Southern Utah Adaptive Recreation Contacts
Moab and Southeastern Utah
Tag-a-Long Expeditions: www.tagalong.com
Holiday River Expeditions: www.bikeraft.com
Splore: www.splore.org, 801-484-4128
Adrift Adventures: www.adrift.net
Zion, Bryce Canyon, and St. George Area
Common Ground: www.cgadventures.org, 435-713-0288
Hatch River Expeditions: www.hatchriverexpeditions.com
(operator has done adaptive rafting trips through the Grand Canyon)
Must-Do ADA Locations & Activities Listed North to South
Utah's 26 Scenic Byways, Statewide: www.byways.org
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Brigham City: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/bear_river_migratory_bird_refuge/
Ogden Nature Center: www.ogdennaturecenter.org
George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park, Ogden: www.dinosaurpark.org
Hill Aerospace Museum, Roy/Ogden: www.hill.af.mil/home/hill-aerospace-museum/
Lagoon Amusement Park, Farmington: www.lagoonpark.com/parkInfo/guestPolicies
Provo & Jordan River Parkway / Legacy Parkway Trails: www.utahmountainbiking.com/trails/provorvr.htm
Utah State Capitol Building, SLC: utahstatecapitol.utah.gov
Foothill Cultural District, SLC: (includes Hogle Zoo, Utah Natural, History Museum, This is the Place Heritage Park, Red Butte Garden, Fort Douglas Museum, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, etc.) www.foothillcd.com
Clark Planetarium & IMAX Theater, SLC: www.clarkplanetarium.org
Discovery Gateway Children's Museum, SLC: www.discoverygateway.org
Temple Square, SLC: www.visittemplesquare.com
Tracy Aviary, SLC: www.tracyaviary.org
Wheeler Historic Farm, SLC: www.wheelerfarm.com
Living Planet Aquarium, Sandy: www.thelivingplanet.com
Silver Lake Boardwalk, Solitude, Big Cottonwood Canyon: www.climb-utah.com/WM/silver.htm
Utah Olympic Parks, Park City, SLC: http://utaholympiclegacy.com/
Swaner Preserve & Eco Center, Park City: www.swanerecocenter.org
Thousand Peaks Snowmobile Adventures, Park City: www.thousandpeaks.com
Cascade Springs Boardwalk & Trails, West of Heber Valley: www.utahhikinginfo.com/2010/09/cascade-springs.html
Utah Field House of Natural History Museum, Vernal: www.stateparks.utah.gov/parks/field-house
Thanksgiving Point Dinosaur Museum & Gardens, Lehi: www.thanksgivingpoint.com
Moab Canyon Pathway Paved Trails Network: www.discovermoab.com
St. George City Paved Trails Network: http://www.sgcity.org/departments/leisureservices/parks/