Kayaking is a great activity that you can do on a caregiving shift or as a family in the summer months. If you have a loved one with a disability that has a hard time making it through rough terrain or steep slopes, but would love to try kayaking, here are some great accessible places to Kayak in Utah!
These locations are not meant to be the most beautiful and majestic places to kayak in Utah. These are simply locations that are easy to drive to, easy to get in the water, and easy enough for a quick afternoon or evening outing. Many of these locations are small ponds within the state that have parking lots close to the water where you simply drive up, get out of the car, and get into the water.
Benefits to Kayaking with a Disability:
There are many benefits to kayaking for someone with a disability. Numerous studies have proven the social and mental health benefits for individuals with disabilities that come from simply being outside. Pair that with the physical exercise that comes from kayaking and you’re seeing even more health benefits.
Another huge benefit is that kayaking is a great activity that involves crossing midline. In therapeutic circles you often come across professionals using this term “crossing midline”. It refers to any activity that involves your right arm crossing to the left side of your body, or your left arm crossing to the right side of your body.
When you perform activities that involve crossing the midline you’re engaging the right and left hemispheres of the brain to work at the same time. You’re also engaging and strengthening the corpus callosum which is the highway between the two hemispheres and facilitates the signals between the left and right hemispheres. Overtime these midline activities provide great strengthening to the brain and can help make other midline crossing activities easier overtime, while also boosting critical communication and connections within the brain.
Kayaking is amazing for this because the entire activity involves crossing midline over and over again. With each paddle of the kayak your brain is getting constant feedback to make important neurological connections that can have huge benefits for individuals beyond kayaking.
Best Places to Kayak in Utah:
Davis County Kayaking Locations:
Located at 1275 W 1600 N, Woods Cross, UT 84087. There is a concrete boat ramp where you can back your vehicle down toward the water, get the Kayak’s and the person with a disability out, go park the car at the very close parking lot, and then hop in the water with your loved one. This is a very easy location to get in and out.
Andy Adams Reservoir:
There isn’t a specific “address” for this location. If you type “Andy Adams Reservoir parking lot” into your GPS it will take you right to the parking lot. Like Bountiful pond you can back down into the boat ramp, drop off people and kayaks, park, and then walk back down. This is a very easy little place to get to right in the middle of Layton.
Utah County Kayaking Locations:
Tibble Creek Reservoir:
This is located right up American Fork Canyon and is a very popular kayaking location. The parking lot directly faces the water and there is about a 20 foot walk from your car to the reservoir. Simply unload what you need and head right in!
This park is located in Springville, UT and might be a favorite on the list. There is a large parking lot that is about 100 yards from the water. If you have a Utah Handicap Placard you don’t have to pay for parking, otherwise it’s $15/day. The water is super clean and fresh. There is also a great beach area to play when you’re not in the water. Bathrooms and vending machines are also on site. This is a great location to spend an entire day without getting bored.
This is a great location to visit if you don’t own your own kayaks. They have on site rentals starting at $10 the first hour and $5 for each additional hour. There is a short walk from the parking lot to the water, and the kayak rentals are right by the water. Located at 4400 W Vineyard Rd, Vineyard, UT 84058.
Manila Creek Park:
Located in Pleasant Grove, there is a very short walk from the parking lot to the water with no steep drops or rocky terrain. There are lots of people who fish here, so beware of fishing lines, but it’s definitely a nice and easy location to get to for an outing during the day.
Southern Utah Kayaking Locations:
Sand Hollow State Park:
Sand Hollow State Park is located 40 minutes northeast of St George, Utah. This is a day use recreation area for swimming, boating, kayaking, and many other water sports. There is a day use fee to enter the park, but once you’re in the distance from the parking lot to the water is minimal and it’s easy to get in and kayak.
Northern Utah Kayaking Locations:
You can kayak from Bear Lake Sate Park which is very accessible, or you can enter the lake from Garden City Park. There is a playground and then an accessible boardwalk that you’ll see from the parking lot. Walk down the board walk (or use a stroller or wheelchair), and it will spit you out right on a sandy beach. There is also a business setup on the sand where you can rent kayaks and paddle boards. Parking at Garden City Park is also free where Bear Lake State Park is not.
Best Swim Floats for Individuals with Disabilities:
Obviously kayaking with someone with a disability can come at a greater risk than for individuals without disabilities. Use your best judgement when participating in certain activities and if you think they’ll work well for the individual who receives care.
That being said, all children under 13 are required to wear a life jacket while kayaking in the state of Utah. There is supposed to be a life jacket in each kayak for each adult. Individuals with disabilities should wear one at all times for additional safety measures, although there is no law stating that, just our cautious opinion. These are all great things to keep in mind when you’re planning to kayak in Utah.
Life vests are all rated using a system provided by the US Coast Guard. Type 1 life jackets are the safest and will turn an unconscious person face up in the water if needed. This is the best option to use when kayaking with an adult with a disability for that added protection should they fall in the water.
We also wrote an extensive blog post all about the best floats for swimming with a disability.