Tourism Abroad - Disabled Accessibility

The Great Outdoors and Sin City

Denver to Las Vegas Road Trip - September 2013

The Airline and the Airport

On arrival at Heathrow Terminal Five, we were greeted by a member of staff who politely offered us assistance on the self-check in. Heathrow Airport is all fully accessible with disabled toilets, lifts and travellators.

Our flight with British Airways, allowed disabled people to board first and my communicator guide and I were soon in our seats for a nine hour flight to Denver, Colorado.

After a fairly smooth flight we landed at Denver International Airport. We then disembarked the plane via a walkway and proceeded to immigration. All is fully accessible with the only issue being that the immigration counter is a little too high for wheelchair users. Next was baggage claim, my communicator guide went to get a trolley whilst a security guard approached me with a dog asking me to lower my bag for the dog to check for drugs. I said I was hearing impaired and the guard spoke up and I obeyed her instructions.

We left the terminal by an airport bus to take us to the car hire zone. We purchased our upgraded car and were soon heading north bound to Louisville.


At the Hotel

Quality Inn was a stopover on the way to the Rocky Mountains and to let the jet lag wear off. Nearly all rooms are based on the first floor with stairs, but there is one adapted room for wheelchair users located on the ground floor.

The next morning we continued with our journey to Estes Park. This park is located right next to the Rocky Mountain National Park, and as there is no accommodation in the Rocky Mountain, Estes Park was the place to stay. We stayed at Peak to Peak Lodge for two nights.

Estes Park

Lily Lake – This beautiful lake is not far from the Rocky Mountain National Park. It consists of a 0.9 mile looping trail which is wheelchair accessible. Some parts of the trail can be slippery and steep but warning signs are in place.

Lily Lake

Estes Lake – Situated in Estes Park, this lake is fully accessible with a flat 1.4 mile concrete promenade around the perimeter but it’s not as majestic as Lily Lake.

Rocky Mountain National Park

At the entrance to the park, we obtained the Access Pass for a fee of $80. This pass enabled us to see as many National Parks as we wanted and as seven were on the itinerary including one National Monument; it was great value for money.

Bear Lake – This is one of the most breath-taking spectacles of the park. To see Bear Lake is accessible, but the looping 0.5 mile trail around the lake has some steep areas.

Bear Lake

Alberta Falls – This hike consists of a one mile walk to the falls which is incredibly steep with lots of boulders and rocks. A lot of people offered me assistance on the journey up and down. This trail was one of the most strenuous, I really struggled, and it was a real challenge for me and my communicator guide. That said, this is definitely not accessible for wheelchair users.

Tundra World Nature Trail – This trail is high up in the Rocky Mountains, offering jaw dropping views. It is fairly accessible with a smooth concrete promenade but can be steep in some places. There are some boulders that can hinder mobility at the end.

Alluvial Fan – This trail leads to a beautiful natural waterfall, which is partially accessible with a steep winding footpath. However, there are a lot of boulders and rocks in the way. A wheelchair user can see the falls, as climbing over the boulders is optional.

Alluvial Fan

For more information on disabled access at Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park, please check out this website:

The National Park Service has an excellent website for the Rocky Mountain National Park on accessibility. For more information, please check it out here:

Eating Out

Smokey Dave’s is a great place to eat though rather busy, but is fully accessible with disabled toilets and plenty of parking spaces available. The only issue was that it was a bit dimly lit inside.

After a fantastic stay up in the mountains, it was time to leave this magnificent mountain paradise. We departed for Grand Junction situated on the west side of Colorado.

Grand Junction

After more than five hours on the road, we checked into Grand Vista Hotel. There is disabled parking with a spacious reception. There are two lifts taking guests up to all five floors. My room was absolutely spacious, this was possibly the best hotel of the trip, but shame it was only booked for one night. The hotel has adapted rooms but unfortunately with no roll in showers.

Mesa Mall

We visited the Mesa Mall for some retail therapy. There are plenty of disabled parking bays outside the mall which is all fully accessible. As the mall is massive, it can be quite tiring to explore, but there are plenty of seating areas to rest.

Eating Out

Danny’s is fully accessible with disabled parking and disabled toilets. There is an excellent choice for breakfast.

Colorado National Monument

This area of fine natural beauty is located in Grand Junction and is accessible by car. The main visitor centre and museum are fully accessible with disabled toilets. Most scenic areas are accessible, with concrete promenades; however some can consist of rough terrain and can be quite steep in some areas. There is disabled parking available at the visitor centre and most viewpoints.

Colorado National Monument

After being amazed by such a dramatic landscape, we continued with our journey heading west across the state line into Utah.


On arrival in Moab, we checked in at Days Inn for our three night stay. This hotel has two disabled parking bays with all rooms on ground level. However, this hotel is rather basic and the rooms are quite compact, unfortunately there are no adapted rooms for wheelchair users.

Moab Film Locations Tour

This attraction is accessed by car, the museum is free with disabled access around the side, all is fully accessible inside. However, some text is quite difficult to read as it is at all different levels. Lighting is quite good though there is some reflection on the glass covered artefacts.

Arches National Park

This national park is located about ten minutes’ drive from Moab. The visitor centre is fully accessible with disabled toilets. There is no food available so please be sure to bring a packed lunch. Also, due to the high temperature of the park, plenty of water is required. There is a drinking water fountain at the end of the park for refills.

Several viewpoints are accessible including Balanced Rock and Lower Delicate Arch. I was a bit disappointed with Delicate Arch as a two mile uphill walk had to be undertaken to see it as printed in books or on the Internet. The trail to Windows is along a lot of natural small steps which can be dusty and slippery. I attempted The Devils Garden trail at the end of the park which unfortunately was too strenuous for me. It was all up and down over fairly steep terrain, and being out in the hot desert heat didn’t help either.

Delicate Arch

Canyonlands National Park

This beautiful park is located fifty minutes’ drive from Moab. A few miles before entering the park, we spotted the White Rim Road which was one of the most spectacular drives, down in to the canyons where the great Green River flows.

Green River

At Canyonlands visitor centre and museum, all is fully accessible. Like Arches there are no refreshments available so be sure to bring a packed lunch and plenty of water, the park is a lot bigger than Arches. Some trails are flat with a concrete promenade for good access. However, other trails can be difficult as they are kept natural. Grand View Point Overlook was fully accessible with concrete promenades.

Canyonlands National Park

Eating Out

Denny’s is fully accessible with disabled toilets and plenty of parking available. It is also quite bright inside with a great choice of dishes.

Bucks Grill is a posh looking restaurant, but the prices are still reasonable. All is fully accessible here.

Moab Brewery is like a pub serving some mighty fine American dishes, with an excellent choice of ales. The disabled access is generally good, with disabled toilets and good lighting throughout.

After a pleasant stay in Moab, we left for small town Torrey, situated near Capitol Reef National Park. With a dramatic change in temperature on arrival, we checked into Capitol Reef Café and Inn for one night.


Number ten lodge is fully accessible for wheelchair users and the café is fully accessible with disabled toilets and good lighting throughout.

Capitol Reef National Park

The visitor centre and museum are fully accessible. There is a short movie on the history of the park which is subtitled. Due to my visual impairment, I was unable to access the subtitles, but was able to pick out certain parts of the movie.

As it was a rather wet day, the best way was to tour the park in the car. The park was still beautiful and interesting to see, being mostly overcast, my communicator guide and I enjoyed ourselves.

Capitol Reef National Park

The next morning after breakfast, we left for Mt Carmel via Dixie National Forest and the majestic national park of Bryce Canyon.

Bryce Canyon National Park

This amazing National Park can be easily compared to the Grand Canyon; both are majestic in natural beauty. The visitor centre and museum are all fully accessible, with disabled toilets and there is a subtitled viewing of the history of the park. There was also a map outside the visitor centre, showing the level of difficulty for each trail or viewpoint.

As a storm was brewing, we drove to the highest point in the park which was Rainbow Point at 9115 feet. This viewpoint is all fully accessible with disabled parking bays, disabled toilets and concrete promenades.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Mt Carmel

We stopped in Mt Carmel for our stay at Best Western Thunderbird Lodge. It was raining badly and my communicator guide and I were unsure about staying here for the four nights that was booked. Fortunately, we were able to swap our booking with a Best Western in Las Vegas.

This hotel is fully accessible and has adapted rooms for disabled people. There is a restaurant serving all meals for a surcharge.

Zion National Park

At yet another dazzling park, Zion has more for everyone with food and drink served. The main visitor centre and shop are all fully accessible with disabled parking available. There is a shuttle bus tour which is wheelchair accessible.

Zion National Park

The Riverside Walk is an easy twenty minute hike although it is rather flat; you will need to tackle a few steps at the end to see the view.

After two days stay at Mt Carmel, we departed for the outlet store in Russ before heading off to the final destination of Sin City, Las Vegas!

Las Vegas

At the Hotels

Best Western was located on Main Street about fifteen minutes’ drive from the strip. This hotel was in a rather run down area and I would not recommend this to anyone. There is a much better choice of hotels on the Las Vegas Strip.

The Polo Towers Diamond Resorts, where we stayed for the last two nights of our trip is located in the centre of the strip opposite Monte Carlo Hotel. This luxurious 22 storey tower block is fully accessible, with three lifts and disabled accessible apartments available with roll in showers. My apartment was just perfect for me, the shower which was in the bathtub had plenty of grab rails for support. The only problem was the key cards seemed to take a while to open.

Getting Around

Getting around Las Vegas is relatively easy, with wide pavements, escalators and lifts up to pedestrian walkways to help cross the strip. It can be fun to roam the four mile strip, but all hotel casinos provide free parking.

The Las Vegas Strip (Northside)


Las Vegas has an abundance of casinos, offering a wide majority of gambling from slot machines to horse racing. All casinos are fully accessible with plenty of apace for mobility and disabled toilets (located in the main toilets).

As I am a keen poker player, I thought it would be nice to have a few games. I played once at the Mirage and twice at the Luxor, all were happy for my communicator guide to sit with me and help me access the game. However, during the last game at the Luxor, we were seated at final table and a new dealer joined the table. During a moment of play, I turned to my communicator guide for assistance but the dealer did not allow her to help. So my comm guide went to the registration booth and explained the problem. A staff member approached the dealer and explained that I am hearing and visually impaired and all was sorted afterwards.

The game finished where I came second and won some big bucks, but still feeling a little annoyed over the incident, I let it blow over and enjoyed my last evening in Sin City to the full.

If you are planning on gambling please remember to bring ID along with you.


Las Vegas is famous for its shows and as friends from Los Angeles were joining me, I thought I’d book to see the Cirque Du Solei at the Bellagio. The show was magnificent and very visual as we were near the front I could access the show very easily.

Eating Out

Each hotel along the strip has an array of restaurants inside, suited for all meals of the day. All are easily accessible and offer scrumptious dishes. Listed below are some of the many restaurants that I dined at during my five night stay.

Fat Burger – this fast food diner is ideal for a quick bite and is all fully accessible.

Yellowtail – this fine exquisite Japanese restaurant is located in the Bellagio. This is all fully accessible, but can be a bit dimly lit.

Harley Davison Café – a tasty hamburger joint, all accessible.

For more information on the accessibility features of Las Vegas please check out the website below:

Fountains at the Bellagio

Disabled Parking

There are a wide majority of disabled parking bays throughout America. In all three states I visited, I used my UK Blue Badge for disabled parking and didn’t have any problems whatsoever.

At the Airport

At McCarran International Airport Terminal 3, all is fully accessible with lifts, escalators and disabled toilets. Our flight had been delayed for another three hours which was a bit frustrating, but kept ourselves occupied by duty free shopping.

For more information on the accessibility at McCarran International Airport, please check out the link:

Soon boarding was announced and we were the first to enter the British Airways plane by a walkway. I sat down in my seat, shattered from an amazing adventure, with such memories treasured.