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Group hiking activities for people with disabilities

I have limited mobility due due ALS (Lou Gehrigs Disease) and also have spent my whole life loving the outdoors. With the limited mobility, I'm relegated to slower hikes on flat, not technical surfaces. These hikes also need to be short distances (<2-3 miles).

Looking for groups that organize these types of hikes. Have not found much yet. Want to hike 15 miles on a very technical trail--there are plenty of these around--looking for short, group hikes, not technical, with other people with disabilities that love nature--very limited options.

Any suggestions/directions from anyone?


7 Replies

To join, or to start your own, that is the question. Whether it is possible to endure the slings and arrows of defeat is up to you.

In other words, get out there and try. In my experience, group stability is variable, particularly in newer, smaller groups. Amongst those of us with challenges, it can be more difficult finding those with similar abilities and interests.

I have attempted to start a couple of hiking groups, and I have been a member of a couple of hiking groups. One of the groups became tentatively close to failing because of a short period of waning interest. We were able to keep the group alive, and it is still alive today - the University of Arizona Ramblers Hiking Club, which is the longest continuous club in the University history.

I think your best bets are looking at groups of folks who already have ALS or similar challenges, perhaps a support group that is already meeting. From within that group you can splinter out a group of hikers. I have done this from a support community that I was involved in.

If there is a larger hiking group near you, perhaps you can join that group and then offer to lead or support hikes with your goals and limitations in mind. Your critique of hiking clubs having typically longer hikes is accurate. That's because that's what most of the participants want. That doesn't mean that you can't find a group of people that do what you want to do.

There are a couple of hiking clubs based in Southern Arizona near me. Both of these clubs are known for having subgroups of hikers that only walk easier, shorter trails. One group walks every Wednesday.

My test is just to ask someone if they want to go for a walk. If they say yes I find out what that means for them. It's surprising how many people think go for a walk should last an hour or two. For me, I would prefer that a walk would last for days, or weeks.

Reaching out for companionship with those with common goals and interests isn't always easy. Recognize that there are others around you trying to do the same thing. Keep trying. It can be like dating. You got this. Look at all the challenges you have overcome. Keep your end result in mind, and just keep moving forward.


Thanks very much for the guidance. You provided some excellent ideas. Think I will reach out to other neurodegenerative groups in the area to see about individual interest. That's a good place to start.



U of A Ramblers?? Brings back memories.  This group, which I joined my first semester at U of A, introduced me to the Arizona outdoors (1956-57).  The group provided contacts which furthered my education and introduced me to technical climbing.

Is the Southern Arizona Hiking Club still around??

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

SAHC, yepper, and Green Valley Hiking Club too!

Two of my closest friends are past presidents of the University of Arizona Ramblers Hiking Club. In the interegnum I mentioned in the post, I took on a custodial leadership role as the entire leadership of the club flaked over the summer and the last flake called me in desperation to keep the club running.

I ran elections to keep things going. I wasn't able to take a role in leadership because of my responsibilities working at the Student Union building. That's also why I was asked to take on the custodial leadership role, as I had the keys, and I knew where all the gear was buried.

Bear Down Arizona!


Adaptive sports organizations may be in your area.   The umbrella for many adaptive sport orgs is Move united sports dot org (formerly DSUSA Disabled Sports USA).   They have 150 chapters across the USA.   Their site has an easy to use drop down of states with links to adaptive sport orgs that use them for promotions and such.   If they don't do hiking, maybe you'd consider another sport these orgs offer.   For example, a wonderful organization in PA, PCAS Pennsylvania Center for Adaptive Sports, has many sports offered, but I am unsure if they do hiking events.   


Search the words: adaptive sports.   I've assisted in adaptive sports for 15 years in organizations in PA and CO, summer and winter sports in both states.   So many sports are adapted to your needs and goals.   I hope you find a organization in your area or in places you like to travel to.   Great people, great fun.  



Appreciate the information. I will research adaptive sports and see what I can find.

Thank you.