If you love the great outdoors, but literally cringe at the thought of pitching a tent, then head up to Fort Stevens State Park (oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=129) and spend a night or two in a wheelchair-accessible cabin. Located at the mouth of the Columbia River, about 10 miles west of Astoria, this popular park was the site of the namesake fort that once guarded the river in Civil War times. A few remnants of the fort have survived over the years; but today the park’s biggest draw is the scenic Oregon coastline.
A Cabin in the Woods
The good news is that people who need accessible accommodations have choices in Fort Stevens State Park, as there are 11 cabins, including eight which are wheelchair-accessible. Cabin K15, which is located in the south loop, not only gets top marks for accessibility, but it also borders the woods for added privacy.
Accessible parking is located next to the cabin, with ramp access over to the back door. Access features include a level threshold, wide doorways, wood floors and good pathway access. The spacious great room is furnished with a 19-inch high futon, an armoire with drawers, a table with four chairs, and a kitchenette with a roll-under sink, microwave and refrigerator.
The bedroom includes a bunk bed with a 21-inch high double lower berth and a single on top, with wheelchair access on the right side (as you face it). The bathroom is equipped with a 36-inch-square transfer-type shower with grab bars, a hand-held showerhead and a fold-down shower seat. It also includes a flexible rubber dam that helps control the drainage, yet still allows access. Other access features include a toilet with grab bars on the back and right walls (as seated), and a roll-under sink.
There’s plenty of room for a wheelchair out on the homey back deck; and a gas barbeque, an accessible picnic table and a fire ring are located in a level area near the deck. And since the deck backs up on the forest, you get that genuine outdoor experience.
There are no dishes or utensils in the cabin, so pack along your camping box. Guests must also supply their own bedding and towels. Reservations for the cabin can be made at www.reserveamerica.com/, or by calling (800) 452-5687.
Enjoy the View
There are a number of paved level multiuse trails throughout the park, but one of the most poplar things to do is to drive to lands end on the park road. It’s a gorgeous journey, with the Pacific Ocean on the right and the Colombia River on the left. In addition to the magnificent windshield views enroute, there are several spots to stop and admire the rugged landscape along the way.
At the end of the line, there’s a large paved parking area, with an accessible vault toilet, and an accessible boardwalk trail over to a wildlife viewing bunker. There’s level access to this roomy bunker, which affords a good view of the adjacent marshland. It’s an excellent place to spot waterfowl, especially near dusk and dawn.
Finally, don’t miss the remains of the Peter Iredale, on your way out of the park. It’s located near the North Lake day use area, with parking available near the Sunset Trail. This four-masted vessel ran aground on Clatsop Beach one foggy morning in 1906. Miraculously the crew escaped unharmed, and what’s left of the steel hull can be seen from the parking lot. It’s a must-see on any visit, and one of the most poplar sights in the park.
And if your Oregon travels take you near Reedsport, then check out this upscale accessible yurt in Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. emerginghorizons.com/upscale-oregon-yurt-features-excellent-access/