Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Myrtle Creek Falls Trail

 Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge

June 2018

** 2023 Update **

The trail is no longer considered ADA Accessible

The Myrtle Falls Trail in the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge was the main reason Kellisa and I made the long drive. Waterfalls remain mostly elusive for people who use wheels to go down trails. Very few have ADA paths and it's been our experience that due to the topography surrounding waterfalls, it's very hard to push Kellisa down non-ADA trails to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of a waterfall. 

We were silly to believe that the trail would be accessible all the way to the waterfall just because they have the little blue and white wheelchair sign hanging with the Myrtle Falls Trailhead sign and the website leads you to believe the trail is accessible. 

The trail starts off accessible for the first .15 of a mile. You can't even hear Myrtle Falls, let alone view it when the trail becomes a rugged path not developed for wheeled devices. Once the accessibility ended, the trail started to switch back up the side of a steep hill. The trail was barely wide enough for Kellisa's chair. Since the sun was setting, we were a tasty treat for all the local mosquitoes. I wanted to buy some bug spray on our drive, but forgot and we both paid a heavy price. We didn't let the mosquitoes or lack of accessibility stop us from reaching the viewing area for Myrtle Falls. We exchanged high fives, snapped a few pictures, and quickly descended the trail back to the waiting enclosure of our rental car. 

It's very frustrating that this trail was so misleading about it's accessibility...or lack thereof! I was able to get Kellisa to the falls, but it would have been hard, if not impossible if we were using a wheelchair instead of her trail chair (which we sometime do when we are confident the trail is truly accessible. I wonder if anyone has left disappointed in their wheelchair after being turned around after going only .15 of a mile and never even viewing Myrtle Falls?

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