Travel blogger impressed with wheelchair accessible trails in the Smokies

Cory Lee has been to every continent, but says The Great Smoky Mountains is one of his favorite places.
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 6:30 PM EDT
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(WVLT) - Cory Lee runs a travel blog called “Curb Free with Cory Lee.” He features travel destinations across the world and different amenities and attractions that are wheelchair accessible. He’s been to every continent but says the Great Smoky Mountains are one of his favorite places.

“I think that’s the great thing about visiting the Great Smoky Mountains is because, on every trip, you’re gonna see something new. So you never know what to expect,” said Lee.

He’s taken multiple trips to East Tennessee, writing blog posts like “A wheelchair accessible guide to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park” and “8 Wheelchair Accessible Things to do in Gatlinburg.”

“People with disabilities actually spend over $17 billion per year just on travel. So people often perceive wheelchair users as, you know, not traveling, kind of just staying at home, not getting out in the world. And I want to really break, you know, that perception and change that attitude toward people with disabilities,” said Lee.

Lee said the outdoors can be very hit or miss when it comes to wheelchair accessibility. Smooth surfaces, wider lanes, flatter hills all help someone in a wheelchair.

“I’ve been to some other national parks that, you know, have maybe one accessible trail, which is nice. But you know, after you do that trail for 30 minutes, there’s kind of not a whole lot else to do as a wheelchair user. But in the Great Smoky Mountains luckily, multiple trails are both drivable, and that I can just navigate in my wheelchair,” said Lee.

Lee said the drivable trails like Cade’s Cove Loop are also fun to explore.

“I was able to see some bears and wildlife and it’s such a gorgeous drive. I mean Cades Cove is I think, a necessity for any trip to the area,” said Lee.

Lee visited the Little River Trail, Sugarland’s Valley Nature Trail and the top of Clingmans Dome.

“Clingman’s Dome is the tallest point and the Great Smoky Mountains. So the view from the top is absolutely gorgeous. The observation tower is fully accessible, but the only thing you got to worry about is the steepness of it,” said Lee.

Cory has written over 500 blog posts so far. If you’d like to check out his blog click here.

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