Road trips are an ideal option for wheelchair-users and slow walkers, as you can take things at your own pace and pack along as much equipment as you need. And although there's no shortage of scenic driving routes in America, California's Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway ( stands out as an excellent accessible choice. Of the scenic attractions along the way, most of them feature access upgrades. So now, everybody can enjoy Mother Nature's grandeur.

Mono Lake

Mono Lake (tel. 760-647-6331; makes a great stop along this route. You can't miss it, as you'll easily spot the trademark tufa (a type of limestone) towers from the road. For a good view of the lake, head over to the David Gaines Boardwalk, off Highway 395 just north of Lee Vining. Accessible parking is located near the trailhead, and a crushed gravel trail leads out to a wide, level boardwalk. About three-quarters of the way along the trail, it branches off. A boardwalk heads down to the shore and a quarter-mile crushed gravel trail heads up to higher ground. Both trails offer great views of the lake.

For a closer look at the tufa towers, a stop at the South Tufa Area is in order. Just head south on Highway 395, turn east on Highway 120, and follow the signs. This loop trail begins with a pavement and boardwalk section down to the lake, followed by a sandy beach, with a hard-packed and rutted trail back to the start. And although only the first section of this loop is accessible, the massive tufa formations along the way definitely make it a must-see.

Devils Postpile National Monument

Another must-see along this route is Devils Postpile National Monument (tel. 760/934-2289; Located just a short drive off Highway 395 near Mammoth Lakes, it's worth the slight detour. During the peak summer season, visitors must use the park shuttle to access this site. However, since the shuttle isn't wheelchair-accessible, people with a disabled parking placard can drive in anytime.

There's plenty of accessible parking near the trailhead out to the postpile, with accessible family restrooms and picnic tables nearby. The 0.4-mile trail to the formation is doable for some folks. The first part of the trail is a bit steep, with hard-packed dirt and some sand along the way. But for the most part, there's room to roll around the few tree roots and other obstacles on the trail.

At the end of the trail, a new accessible path to the bottom of the postpile bypasses the steps and makes this section accessible to more people. The trail up to the top of the monument is not accessible at all, but the view of the columns of extruded lava from below is excellent.

Manzanar & Beyond

Last but not least, be sure and stop at the Manzanar National Historic Site (tel. 760/878-2194 ext. 2710;, located mid-way between Independence and Lone Pine on Highway 395. It's a must-see for anyone interested in World War II history, as this former relocation center housed more than 10,000 Japanese American citizens after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Housed in the former auditorium, the Visitors Center has ramped access and features interpretive exhibits and an information desk. Although the camp buildings were dismantled shortly after the war ended, you can still see the sentry post, guard towers, historic orchards, rock gardens, and even the cemetery on the driving tour. There's also a replica of a typical block at the end of the tour, which provides some insight on the camp living conditions.

Candy Harrington is the editor of Emerging Horizons and the author of 22 Accessible Road Trips; Driving Vacations for Wheelers and Slow Walkers. She blogs regularly about accessible travel issues at