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Safety/Disability/Yellowstone 2019

New York City, New...
6 posts
Safety/Disability/Yellowstone 2019

Hello -

My family is planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park in Summer 2019. I have two general questions.

1. We are South Asian-American. I'm sorry I have to ask this question, but I really need to know from people who really know the area. Is it safe to travel around Yellowstone? I am not worried about the park itself, but if possible, would like to see a few nearby attractions. Problem is I have been reading about the rising number of hate groups in Idaho and Montana. Are they concentrated near the park? Would it be safe to travel in that area?

2. I have a child with multiple disabilities in a wheelchair. How accessible is Yellowstone? We will have a car, so that's not a problem. But are there a lot of paved trails, etc?

Thank you so much for your help. There's a lot of information out there, so any tips on how to get started is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

10 replies to this topic
Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
35,158 posts
508 reviews
1. Re: Safety/Disability/Yellowstone 2019

I have visited multiple times and so have family members. We have family who have adopted several Asian children and some with disabilities and they have never had a problem. I will say that they did not venture much into Idaho or up thru Montana but we have.

You will basically be in Wyoming. The Wyoming folks are super friendly and if you go to Jackson Hole then it is a very welcoming community.

Here is a link to trails and activities in Yellowstone for those with a disability-


Go to website and download the disability guide.

Good luck with your trip planning.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell
Level Contributor
20,789 posts
41 reviews
2. Re: Safety/Disability/Yellowstone 2019

You will not be the only people in Yellowstone of your ethnic group. There are visitors to Yellowstone and Grand Teton NP of worldwide ethnicities. You should not be concerned about your personal safety in this regard.

Spery, Iowa
Level Contributor
11,210 posts
181 reviews
3. Re: Safety/Disability/Yellowstone 2019

I have seen similar racial concerns on the Montana forum. The advice is always that tourists are welcome, and please come! Keep in mind, hate groups get the attention, not the average locals . The vast majority of people you will encounter are visitors as well, all there to enjoy the same things.

If you would like any additional help planning your trip- we LOVE to help plan!

Jackson, Wyoming
Level Contributor
1,409 posts
4. Re: Safety/Disability/Yellowstone 2019

Despite Montana's ludicrous and ultimately deceitful suggestions/implications in some of it's advertising over 95% of Yellowstone National Park is in Wyoming and not Idaho or Montana.

Just as there has been across the country with the failure of far too much of our leadership to definitively condemn it there has been a resurgence of considerable "hate," xenophobia, bigotry, misogyny and self serving ignorance in Wyoming but it is NEVER tolerated in Teton County, the Equality State's only "blue" county. While most of the people across Wyoming are the Salt of the Earth we have a saying here we use humorously often: "You're not in Wyoming, you're in Teton County." We are a center for philanthropic non profits of all kinds and among so many inclusive things here unless we are one of the few ignorant posterior orifices we live every day in TREMENDOUS gratitude for the Latino third of our population that we would crumble without. I also know our neighbors in Montana and Idaho are for the most part great people. Farther North there are some known groups but not something I'd worry about unless you have confrontational aspirations which I would highly discourage.

In terms of disability Yellowstone has many paved "trails" and the spectacular multi-use pathways here in Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park get stellar reviews from visitors around the world. If you have a wheelchair that can get off the pavement there are a lot of benign valley trails down here too. This area also has a variety of international cuisine from every continent. International Travelers make up a huge part of our tourist industry with among other things over 1,000,000 Chinese and other Asians visiting each warmer season.

Please let me know if you need help in finding the plethora of gems in the 48 States second biggest National Forest, the Bridger-Teton; and the world's first, the Shoshone.

May the road and trail rise to meet you and all of yours,


Edited: 23 November 2018, 01:28
New York City, New...
6 posts
5. Re: Safety/Disability/Yellowstone 2019

Thank you so much everyone. I appreciate these responses *so* much and needed to hear this. Otherwise it would be in the back of my mind the entire time.

I didn't realize most of park was in Wyoming, and not Montana/Idaho. Either way, I'll probably keep side trips/nearby attractions to Wyoming, and will definitely check out Grand Teton National Park.

Thank you also for reassuring me about disability access. Based on what I'm reading I think we will end up being fine.

PeachBelle - I have heard about Jackson Hole, and will definitely visit now. Thank you!

ConnieB- thank you!

thbergs - thank you! I was talking it over with my spouse earlier, and we agreed that the majority of people are kind and helpful. As a person of color though, in these times, I'm more fearful of venturing into certain parts. Looks like I am not the only one if people are asking that in the Montana forum.

John/Absarokanaut - I think I will enjoy Teton County very much, thank you for letting me know how about it and how welcoming it is! (And happy to see the Blue county! :-) ) And I assure you that I will not be traveling to confront anyone!

Thanks again everyone!

Spery, Iowa
Level Contributor
11,210 posts
181 reviews
6. Re: Safety/Disability/Yellowstone 2019

As I said, the question gets asked, as there was a bit in the news for a while, but I would not hesitate to visit Idaho or Montana, many do as part of YNP trips! If you want to share what you have in mind for your trip, we can be helpful with additional information on your destinations.

Madison, WI
Level Contributor
10,532 posts
66 reviews
7. Re: Safety/Disability/Yellowstone 2019

I've visited every US state many times over and people do not change when you cross a state line. I've also lived in Montana and New York State and found that people are far more open and affirming in Montana.


Edited: 18 November 2018, 09:07
Level Contributor
848 posts
6 reviews
8. Re: Safety/Disability/Yellowstone 2019

I have pretty significant mobility issues, though I am not in a wheelchair. Honestly, YS is my favorite place. That being said, it is not disability friendly. There are comparatively few spots that you could take a motorized wheelchair outside the visitor centers and parking lots. Many boardwalks have a lip to access them, so a wheelchair would have to be at least partially lifted. They are also often narrow, making crowding unavoidable. A supportive medical stroller, if possible, is more recommended.

Edited: 18 November 2018, 09:40
Billings, Montana
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
7,177 posts
1 review
9. Re: Safety/Disability/Yellowstone 2019

About 20 years ago, I was the main caretaker for a young woman ( from her late teens to early 20s) that had multiple disabilities including cerebral palsy, cognitive delays, and epilepsy that resulted in her needing to use a wheelchair with significant supports built into the wheelchair for her. Her main aide and I decided to take her to Yellowstone Park for a 3 day camping trip with the goal of just exposing Misty to nature. We didn't really make plans ahead of time or even think about possible obstacles.....we just packed her wheelchair accessible van with camping supplies and took off on our adventure.

The trip turned out great and while Misty was non-verbal, she expressed her moods in many ways. We knew when she was happy, we knew when she was stressed, and we definitely knew when she was mad. That girl had a blast and was wide-eyed and more alert than I had ever seen her in the 10 years of being blessed to be a part of her life.

It was a chore but we took her on a lot of the boardwalks at Old Faithful, and on all of the overlooks on the North and South Rim Drives. We camped two nights in a tent at Bridge Bay Campground with her. We also took her on the boat cruise at Bridge Bay and even took her on the wagon ride at Roosevelt. Everyone was great with Misty. She had a short seizure on the boat ride and the tour guide asked if we needed any help and when we said we were ok, she carried on with her talk without bringing extra attention to the situation. We were able to get her Misty's wheelchair on the boat but we physically lifted her up onto the Roosevelt stagecoach and had her sit between the two of us for support. Again, the workers were great and asked us a couple of times if we needed their help.

There will definitely be challenges with experiencing Yellowstone Park in a wheelchair but it can be done. Don't be hesitant to ask for help. I visited with the people at the marina and the stagecoach office beforehand about Misty to see if the activities were an option for her if we did all the work. No one balked at what we asked to do. I think you will find most people very accommodating and willing to help you.


Edited: 18 November 2018, 12:10
Stoke on Trent...
Level Contributor
756 posts
69 reviews
10. Re: Safety/Disability/Yellowstone 2019

We visited Yellowstone (and the Tetons) in June 2015 and we are returning next year too. Hubby is in a motorised wheelchair and we were able to get to many places. In particular, we could access all of the Upper Geyser Basin around Old Faithful and many places besides. In the Upper Geyser Basin, the only part that may be an issue, is going down the hill and over the bridge from Old Faithful. Hubbys scooter coped admirably, but I could not have pushed him in a manual wheelchair. That part would be wholly dependent on the size of the person in the chair and the strength of the pusher as it is quite steep (though not too long). The boardwalks were fine and wide enough for everyone.

Could we go everywhere ...obviously not, but we still saw a lot. The Lamar Valley was a favourite of his for the wildlife. The mammoth boardwalks had lots of stairs so were out of the question, but there was lots to see from the car parks and he could still get part way.

The biggest effort was hauling the scooter in and out of the car, which got a bit much, so he didn't always bother getting out of the car. Everyone was so friendly and accommodating. I hope you have a great trip.

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