Barcelona native, Manu Heras, always dreamed of visiting Yellowstone National Park. When he finally got the chance it was everything he hoped it would be.
I have dreamed of going to Yellowstone National Park ever since I was a little boy. Growing up in Barcelona, I was first introduced to Yellowstone’s natural beauty through the American kids show, Yogi Bear. Having had this dream for so long, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the reality was even more than my expectation – Yellowstone National Park was purely amazing!
Yellowstone was the first National Park, established in 1872, and is well known for its many geothermal features and wildlife. While some might suspect that its historical roots would result in a lack of accessibility, I was pleasantly surprised to find a number of adaptations for people with disabilities. There are numerous accessible campgrounds, hotels, restaurants and shops, along with many accessible trails that allow you to experience the unique geysers, hot springs, and pools. Experiencing the geysers and watching the wildlife was amazing!
Some of the accessible trails I recommend are: West Thumb, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Old Faithful, which are the most accessible options. I explored almost all of the Old Faithful area by wheeling around on boardwalks and paved trails. It was an amazing experience to check out all of the thermal features and experience the Geyser eruptions just like anyone else would.
There are many viewpoints where you can see spectacular waterfalls, wildlife, rivers, the Yellowstone Lake, etc. The last morning of our trip, I went to Lamar Valley. I was quite excited because I had heard about the re-integration of wolves within this valley in 1995, and was therefore hopeful that I might get to see some. Shortly after arriving in the valley, I saw an adult wolf with two cubs living in their den—Yay! This was the first time that I saw this amazing animal in the wild. This was the perfect ending to a spectacular trip.
I used to search general accessibility information prior to traveling, but I found that too often the information provided was too basic or incomplete for my purposes. For example, most of the time people discard trails for wheelchair users if they have any little steps, slopes or any sort of rough terrain. These are all challenges that I am typically able to overcome, so I find it frustrating to be excluded when they are present. That being said, the information provided about Yellowstone National Park at https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm is actually quite extensive and helpful.