Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
Paved, wood, packed pea gravel
Accessible toilets, potable water, accessible parking, benches. Pets are allowed on leash.
This wonderful oasis in the city is very accessible! The 9.5 acre garden has approximately one mile of trails and paths that can completed in a variety of loops. It is home to an incredible display of rhododendron and azalea which bloom in late spring – early summer, but there is much to appreciate year-round. It is a prime spot for birds and wildlife, there is a spring-fed lake with a fountain, three waterfalls, and many benches to rest and enjoy the beauty. It is a wonderful spot to get out and explore your comfort level with being outdoors, or to just enjoy on a low-spoon day.
The entrance station is located about 50 feet from the accessible parking spots. The check-in window is at 36 inches, and the staff and volunteers are very helpful and accommodating. Beyond the entrance, an accessible ramp leads to the left, with grades of 2-8%, to a large landing with a bench before curving right and continuing on a generally 5% decline to another bench. From here you can go left and down another decline to a waterfall and a pond, or continue straight across the first wooden bridge. The bridge has level and stable boards with a maximum ¾” gap.
After this bridge the path continues paved with 2-5% grades. It curves to the right, passing underneath rhododendron, then curves to the left again before crossing evenly onto an 8-foot long section of compact pea gravel then returning to a paved surface. 1/10 mile from the entrance, you arrive at the large main bridge over the lake.
This bridge is approximately 1/10 mile long, with several pull-outs and observations spots over the lake. There are also benches on either side to sit and rest. An interpretative sign describes some of the birds and wildlife you may see. There is no shade over the bridge, so bring sun protection if you plan to linger here.
Beyond the bridge, the path becomes firm, compact pea gravel and forms a loop to the restrooms and back to the bridge. The total length of this loop is 0.5 mile. The most accessible route is to continue forward following the water, past the first pathway on the left which rises at a 5-8% incline. Take the next left. Continue straight to an intersection with a bench underneath some gorgeous rhododendrons. Take either path curving to the left and then go right towards the grassy area following the sign to the restroom.
To finish the loop, backtrack from the restroom and continue straight past the event hall on the right. Continue on the compact pea gravel path, then take the first path on the right – it is a 5-8% grade for approximately 20 feet before reaching a level spot and reconnecting with the main path.
There are additional options for loops through the gardens, along the ponds, and past the waterfalls which are also wheelchair accessible. Benches are placed throughout the garden. You can’t get lost here and, aside from a few roots and very short steep inclines, even the secondary paths are pretty accessible. Park volunteers and staff are often in the garden if you need any assistance.
There is one all-user accessible restroom and two gendered restrooms with stalls. The accessible restroom meets all guidelines, with the exception of a push button sink that you have to reach across the sink basin to get to, and then hold for water. The garden has asked the city for funding to make this more accessible, which is a much-needed improvement.