Just outside Sacramento, in the town of Elk Grove, California, almost all of the paths are wheelchair accessible. The Laguna Creek area in Elk Grove is known for its retail centers, but there’s more to the Laguna Creek than just shopping. Along much of Laguna Creek there are walking paths with lovely views of the local wetland ecosystem called the Laguna Creek Trail Winds and Connects. The area undergoes significant changes with the seasons so the paths have a lot of revisit value. In the cooler parts of the year, the creek fills up and flows with a steady current. In the spring there are lots of turtles and ducks. As it gets warmer, the creek dries out and a variety of songbirds come to inhabit the tall grasses.
North side of Laguna Blvd. between W. Stockton and Big Horn Blvd.
The trail is just under a mile long. The whole path is paved, flat, and mostly smooth, and it’s wide enough for people to pass each other comfortably. Pets are allowed as long as they are leashed.
It’s a pleasant trail with quite a lot of natural scenery for being between two large shopping centers. You can almost forget you’re in a city. There are lots of different trees and shrubs to enjoy, including some wild blackberries. And if you’re quiet and patient, you’re sure to see some type of flying, swimming, or crawling critters.
At the beginning of the trail from Laguna Blvd, the entrance has a sidewalk going to it from both sides and there’s ample parking in either of the shopping centers that sandwich it. If you don’t want to use a sidewalk on a street as busy as Laguna Blvd, there’s another entrance to the trail from the La-Z-Boy parking lot. Public restroom are located near the parking lot.
There’s an informative sign at the first entrance that shows you what wildlife to look for. There are quite a few trees along the trail so there’s some shade depending on the time of day. The views of the creek are mostly unobstructed, though it’s almost dry now. A blue bird was following us but was also camera shy. The open spaces are very relaxing. Some traffic can be heard in the background but it’s rather quiet otherwise.
A little over halfway along the trail is the Arnie and Iris Zimbelman Park. It’s a pretty park with soccer goals, a playground as well as access to picnic tables and drinking fountains. There are benches in the park but not along the trail. The drinking fountains are accessible. The picnic tables are on concrete pads that meet the sidewalk with open ends for wheelchair access, but they aren’t extended. A couple cooking grills nearby seem accessible.
After the park, the path gets slightly more worn but it’s still plenty flat for a wheelchair. There’s about a quarter mile of that before the trail ends.
Connects Del Meyer Park, at 9265 Elk Grove Florin Rd, Elk Grove, CA 95624, and Jack E. Hill Park, at 9380 Porto Rosa Dr, Elk Grove.
This trail is a 1.2-mile path along Laguna Creek and is one of the most scenic trails in Elk Grove with fantastic views of the creek and the wildlife that live there. There are squirrels, turtles, fish, and many types of birds, including egrets, ducks, geese, songbirds, and hawks. The last time I was there I got to see a small bird successfully defend its nest from a river hawk that was five times its size. It was an exciting aerial display.
A variety of colorful flowers, grasses, reeds, and trees fill the area and offer bouquets of natural aromas. And there are tons of wild blackberries. Much of the trail is shaded by trees but not all of it. The trail goes under a railroad track at a dry point and crosses back over the creek via a bridge where the water is high, so there are several scenery changes to enjoy. Of course, the scenery also changes with the seasons as the creek rises and falls. As for noise pollution, traffic is far enough away that it’s rather quiet and peaceful on most of the trail.
The majority of the path is traditional black asphalt that’s very smooth. One section is made of the sidewalk style of concrete and is also quite smooth. The path is wide enough for people to pass comfortably, which is good because it’s a popular trail for joggers and cyclists. There are some slight-to-moderate inclines at a few points but nothing so steep that it should limit wheelchair users, though manual wheelchair users may prefer assistance for a couple of the hills.
Pets are allowed on leashes on the trail and off leash at Jack E. Hill Park. Along the trail, the only seating is a single picnic table near the halfway point (it’s closer to Jack E. Hill Park). There are benches and an accessible water fountain at Del Meyer Park, which isn’t a park so much as it is a nice entrance to the trail, though there is a nice information kiosk about the creek there. Jack E. Hill Park is a full park with benches, accessible picnic tables and water fountains, playground equipment, and accessible bathrooms with proper stalls and handrails. Both of the parks have parking lots with at least one handicap parking spot with a loading zone.