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The Handicapped Accessible Trail is a 600-foot long wheelchair-accessible trail that runs along a bluff overlooking the lower section of the Vista Loop Trail, passing the Butterfly Garden, the bird blind, and bird-feeding station.

The HAT is five feet wide , constructed from compacted soil and a special decomposed granite base that easily accommodates most wheelchairs.  A portion of the trail which was subject to erosion has been paved.  A single layer of landscaping timbers border the trail along its entire length, except where, for safety, six inches of timber guard rail provides additional security.

The grade, or steepness, of the HAT is less than twelve inches for every twelve feet of distance, well within the guidelines for both electric and manual wheelchairs.

 

2014-04-26 01.09.57The covered bird blind is designed to accommodate wheelchairs. The blind incorporates an enlarged and extended lower wall beneath the viewing windows that allows birders to position the lower part of their wheelchair right under the window, giving them nearly a full 180-degree view of the feeding station.

 We welcome any feedback HAT users might have. The Friends of the Fredericksburg Nature Center are excited to make this trail the best experience it can be. Please share your ideas and comments with us by sending us an e-mail or stopping by the Park Headquarters.

Before continuing on the path enjoy the view of the Nature Center Area from this vantage point. As you look out over the area please realize that the topography we observe today has taken millions of years to develop.  The Texas Hill Country was formed by erosion rather than uplift. After the retreat of the Cretaceous seas that deposited thick limestone formations, the area was subjected to erosion. Drainage systems set-up by the depression of the Gulf of Mexico slowly worked their way into the limestone layers. More resistant limestone layers formed the “hill tops” as the less resistant clays and marls eroded away around them leaving a topography of mesas and canyons.