I admit that I have an addiction to Wyoming. And actually, my love affair with the great State of Wyoming began after I ended up in the wheelchair.
When most people think of Wyoming, they think of streams and fishing, cowboys and rodeos. They don’t necessarily think of wheelchair accessibility. So I want to set the record straight — Wyoming is actually known as the Equality State as it was the first state to allow women to vote and was home to the first female judge in the entire world! And, while the state does have more untouched acreage than people, the inhabited parts tend to be very accommodating. (And, for the record, the people in the state are so nice that if a place isn’t especially wheelchair friendly, the people will jump in and offer to help if they see you struggling.)
One of my favorite places in the state, which also happens to be one of the most ADA considerate places I’ve ever been to, is the state historic park of South Pass City. It’s one of the states better preserved ghost towns, and happens to be one of my favorite ghost towns in the entire country. There is a parking lot with several accessible spaces, as well as a public restroom with an accessible stall. A visitor’s center sits at the main entrance where you can get a map and pay the nominal entrance fee. From there, a boardwalk spans almost the entire ghost town. (Remember that point for a bit later in this post.)
Visitors can enter many of the buildings. Many of the doorways have been expanded during the reconstruction to allow the width of a wheelchair and the exhibits are at a great height for viewing from a seated position. The gift shop is in the restored general store, and easily accommodates a wheelchair user who wishes to browse the various sundries and souvenirs. The wooden plank boardwalk fits seamlessly into the town in a U-shape, which allows the wheelchair visitor to get around the town to see the sights of a bygone world.
Now for the part I mentioned earlier — not every part of the ghost town is wheelchair accessible. There are a couple mines and a school house that are up a hill, accessed via a dirt road. And there are some other miscellaneous buildings down another rock strewn dirt road. I had my off-road wheels on, but my front casters kept hanging me up as I tried to go down that path. However, in the visitors center, there is a complete video tour of the buildings that aren’t ADA accessible. They took the time to film each building, mine and other inaccessible areas to make a wonderful video tour! It was such a thoughtful, accommodating thing for the state to do. My husband had taken pictures of the areas for me, but the ADA video was another way to make me feel included in places where I couldn’t enter.
This ghost town is such a wonderful place off the beaten track. And the fact that the reconstruction and preservation went above and beyond for inclusivity and accessibility makes it another reason why I love the state of Wyoming. And I firmly believe that if you’re in a wheelchair and you’re in Wyoming or Wyoming adjacent, you should make the trek over to visit for a great activity that’s out of the norm. Please do note that they are only open for the summer months: from early May to the end of September.
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