Updated: Mar 16
written by Andrea and Ryan
My partner Ryan and I recently stayed at an accessible cabin in Blue Mound State Park. Both of us enjoy the outdoors and love to camp when we can. Unfortunately, we were quite busy with life stuff this summer and didn’t get to go camping. Ryan had Power Soccer practice in Madison, WI on a Sunday so we thought it would be a perfect time to try out the accessible cabin at Blue Mounds State Park.
There are two accessible rustic cabins available to rent in the Wisconsin State Park System. One is at Copper Falls State Park (We highly recommend!!!-stay tuned for another blog post) and one in Blue Mound State Park. Additionally, there are other properties with larger accessible cabins designed for groups of more than 4 people. The cabins are only available from May-October and you need to complete a request form. For more information check out https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/camping/cabin.html.
A little bit about the Blue Mound State Park
Blue Mound State Park is located about 40 minutes west of Madison, WI and has a pool, mountain bike and hiking trails, a campground, and a decent sized picnic area with a view of the surrounding area. The state park is the highest point in the region, with unique geologic features on the ancestral lands of the Miami, Sauk, Meskwaki, and Ho-Chunk peoples.
The park itself is somewhat accessible; there are two paved accessible camper/tent sites in addition to the cabin. And the pool, when in season, looks to be accessible with a lift into the pool and ample accessible parking in the lot adjacent to it. To my knowledge, there are not any ADA accessible trails, however, Ryan uses a power wheelchair so we went off road on wide mowed trails. He did get stuck in the mud/soft spots a few times, but for us that is a part of the adventure of being outside!
The Accessible Cabin
The cabin is located in the heart of the campground, right next to the shower building. There is a locked, accessible gender neutral shower and bathroom with a large bench to change/sit on and a shower bench.
There is a paved driveway for easy parking with an accessible vehicle. The rest of the campsite is a crushed rock surface, which could be a hassle for people who use manual chairs for mobility. There is a tent pad for one tent behind the cabin and there is an accessible picnic table. If you wanted or needed to move the table you probably could ask the campground host or park ranger for assistance. Contact numbers for park personnel and local hospitals are listed on the wall in the cabin.
Outside the cabin, there was a small porch with a plastic chair and an outlet. The cabin has electricity with a lot of outlets, and a ceiling fan with a light (both have dimmer switches). That was perfect, since Ryan likes to sleep with a fan on and at night you don’t need to brighten the room to 100 (am I right?!). There was a bunk bed with thin mats on it, with a double-size platform with 4 thicker mats (think phys. ed.). We brought extra sleeping pads in preparation, but we ended up just sleeping on the double bed with our respective sleeping bags. There were two additional plastic chairs and a table which were next to the wall. The cabin also has three windows, which we left open at night.
Ryan and I checked in a little late on Saturday, so we made a fire right away before I cooked dinner of brats and veggies. The fire pit has raised sides with a grill you can flip over the top, to create a stable raised cooking surface. We were surrounded by campsites on all sides, however there was enough understory to give us some visual privacy. Unfortunately, not noise privacy. One campsite was blaring a classic rock party playlist and the other “Today’s Country Party Mix.” All in all, everyone settled down by about 9 pm.
Our experience was great. Everything went smooth and easy compared to our usual tent camping experience, which involves a lot more work and preparation.Sitting around the fire, talking or not, and just being in nature is one of my fondest memories of this trip. Over breakfast on Sunday morning, we chatted about how we could build an accessible “tiny house” or rustic cabin of our own and live in the woods. It is our collective dream to live in a cabin or a van, but you know how life goes. Maybe we will have to stay longer than a night to test it out.
About Andrea and Ryan
Andrea and Ryan were born and raised in Wisconsin. They have been together for close to a decade and enjoy bird watching, camping, hiking, drinking coffee, and cheering on Wisconsin sports teams together (Go Brewers!). Andrea is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and the Inclusion Program Coordinator for WisCorps Inc. Ryan is a Receptionist Lead and Support Team Member for Smith.ai. They live with their bird Holly, and service dog Wally in southwest Wisconsin. Follow their adventures on Instagram.