Roper Lake State Park
Roper Lake State Park is located in eastern Arizona. It’s on the south side of the town of Safford, Arizona. Its a small lake and the park isn’t much bigger. The location isn’t on any main highways so it’s not likely to be crowded anytime of the year.
The overall wheelchair access is good. The terrain is pretty flat to begin with, and the park’s people have done a solid job making it accessible. The first thing to like is the little cabins you can rent. Of the 10+ cabins, three are right on the shoreline, and one of them is the Bass Cabin, which is their accessible cabin.
Just like the accessible cabin at Dead Horse State Park Lake, these are just a place to sleep for 4 people. We didn’t get to go in, but I’m sure they are similar. The front deck of the Bass Cabin has a porch swing and a barbecue. It has a nice flat deck for hosting a herd of chair users.
The lake has some 70 RV/camp sites. Many have water and electric hookups. We stayed at the one site they designate as ADA parking. I think most offer about the same functionality, but it is the closest spot to the very nice common bathroom and showers. The bathrooms get high access marks. This spot doesn’t have the great view the cabin has, but it’s better than most.
There’s a road and a path that goes around the lake. it’s great for taking a walk/roll. The lake has an accessible dock that has good access. There’s also a beach you can roll down to rather easily. We launched the kayak here, and played whiffle ball. The lake has a few section of trail that has pebbles too deep for most chairs to roll through. I’d get stuck and need a lil’ push but in most cases you can find an alternate route.
A really nice feature at Roper Lake is the natural hot spring. They’ve create a sitting pool out of rock for people to sit and relax in the warm water. The tub isnt too accessible, but you can roll right up to it.
Roper Lake is a bird paradise. We woke each morning to cardinals and quails. There is water fowl always flying in and out of the protected waters.
Black Hills Back Country Byway
One afternoon we took a day trip over to the Black Hills Back Country Byway This is a 21-mile scenic drive through the northern end of the Peloncillo Mountains. This is a dirt road, but weather permitting, almost any car could cruise this road in 2-3 hours. Bring a lunch because the Canyon Overlook Picnic Area (midway along the byway, about 10 miles in from either entrance), has great accessibility with an amazing view.
Near the northern end of the byway is the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area along the Gila River. This has a great old concrete bridge and good wheelchair access to a small portion of the Gila River below. If you have 4 wheeldrive, there’s numerous trails leading off to the Gila River and spectacular overlooks of the Gila River canyon.
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