(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The Trailability Program began in 2022 to provide access to nature centers and hiking trails that would otherwise be inaccessible for some people. Now, the program is back for another year.

The Trailability Program provides Terrain Hoppers to El Paso County nature centers in cooperation with community partner, The Independence Center. Terrain Hoppers are off-road
mobility vehicles that allow more people to access nature in ways previously inaccessible to them.

In the inaugural season, from July 26 to Oct. 31, 2022, 28 people participated in three-hour hikes. Each Nature Center ran the program two days per week both morning and afternoon. Many guests hiked with friends and family, some for the first time since their mobility had been limited.

  • A couple poses with a green terrain hopper on a hiking trail
  • A pair of hikers moves away from the camera with one of the hikers in a Terrain Hopper vehicle
  • A guest in a terrain hopper looks away from the camera, a plate that reads Hopper 1 can be seen on the back of the vehicle
  • A rider in a Terrain Hopper navigates a hiking trail
  • A woman with her family as they pose around a Terrain Hopper vehicle

In the 2023 season, the El Paso County nature centers plan to sustain and improve the program by making the season longer, as well as attend to trail extensions to add to visitor experiences. The season will run from May 1 to Oct. 31 this year, and the trails will see the addition of written trail guides that will help participants and their companions learn about the flora and fauna at each park.

If you are interested in the Trailability Program, registration opens April 1 and reservations can be made at either nature center on various days by heading to the Trailability website.

Time slots available for the program are 9 a.m. – noon and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. on varying days. The program is absolutely free, though donations are encouraged.

You can also sign up to be a guide, and trainings are available at Bear Creek and Fountain Creek Nature Centers. Contact Mary Jo Lewis at Bear Creek, at maryjolewis@elpasoco.com, or Jessica Miller at Fountain Creek, jessicamiller@elpasoco.com, for additional information.