Updated: Nov 2, 2022
Nature trails are an excellent place to get out to connect with nature and explore the environment. Many people can benefit from nature trails located all over the world. However, an autistic child, or adult, can benefit from them the most. Especially when they have been designed to be autism-friendly.
While there are numerous nature trails throughout the US, only a couple have been designated as authentic autism-friendly nature trails. I would love to plan a vacation for your autistic family, so you can visit these amazing autism nature trails. Simply click here to get started.
Check Out an Autism Friendly Nature Trail for Your Next Vacation
The Autism Nature Trail at Letchworth State Park in New York State
The Autism Nature Trail at Letchworth State Park was designed for people on the autism spectrum. The goal was to create a space that everyone could use, no matter what their age or abilities. This nature trail is only one mile in length. And since it is looped, you won’t need to worry about walking another mile back to your starting point.
There are eight stations along this mile-long trail. Each station offers visitors the chance to explore and have a little quiet time. The Trailhead Pavilion is where the fun all begins. Orientation materials are available at this pavilion, so you can show your autistic child what they can expect before you venture out.
The Sensory Station is perfect for those autistic children who love to touch things in a controlled environment. They can touch, count, sort, and even smell pinecones, bark, nuts,rocks, and so much more. If the Sensory Station becomes a little overstimulating, simply head over to the Sunshine Slope.
The Alone Zone there can reintroduce quiet time, while the cuddle swings offer some snuggle time. There are two more Alone Zones at Music Circle. This station is also where three nature-inspired instruments can be found. At Reflection Knoll, visitors can spend time sitting underneath the trees, as they listen to the quiet inside the park. There are boulder seats to sit on. Although, your child may be more interested in finding the seven woodland creatures carved into the stones.
Getting all the wiggles and energy out is possible at the Meadow Run and Climb. Even more energy can be used to build forts and teepees at the Design Zone station. And you never know what your child may do at the Playful Path with the winding loops of logs and river stones.
The Celebration Station is the final stop before returning to the Pavilion. Your autistic child can sign their name, draw a picture or write what their favorite part of the trail was on the chalkboards.Since Letchworth State Park is so large, it is important to know that the Autism Nature Trail is located near the Humphrey Nature Center. Self-guided hikes are possible along this nature trail at any time.
However, Camp Puzzle Peace also provides trained staff members for different programs and activities. I can easily find out if any of these activities or programs are taking place when I plan your trip to this area of New York.
North Jupiter Flatwoods Natural Area in Jupiter, Florida
Back in 2019, the North Jupiter Flatwoods Natural Area was certified as an autism-friendly nature trail. While the natural area contains one hundred sixty acres, the autism nature trail is only a half-mile long. Therefore, an autistic child, or adult, can easily walk along the nature trail.
This nature trail has been paved to ensure that everyone can walk along it without having difficulties. There are signs in place sharing information about the trail, as well as physical barriers to keep everyone safe. The sensory stations allow everyone to experience every part of this trail through their senses. Benches along the nature trail offer places to sit and relax. And the swing allows for a little extra downtime when overstimulation occurs.
These autism nature trails are hopefully just the beginning when it comes to offering autism-friendly options out in nature. I would love to help you plan an amazing vacation that includes time spent at one of these nature trails. Let’s get your next vacation planned today! And if you know of any other autism-friendly nature trails, send them my way!