Braille/Discovery Trails

Round Trip Distance: 0.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 10,282 - 10,330 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 30-60 mins.
Trailhead: Braille/Discovery Day Use Area
Fee: none
Attractions: Braille Trail, Forest Discovery Trail

View Braille-Discovery Trails in a larger map

The Braille/Discovery trails are in the White River National Forest along Highway 82 east of Aspen, Colorado. These are two separate trails that begin from the same parking area. The Discovery trail is wheelchair accessible while the Braille trail was designed for the visually impaired. The trails provide a forest experience for families with small children as well as the visually impaired and physically challenged. Several picnic sites complete the offerings at this special spot next to the Roaring Fork River.

The trailhead is about 12.5 miles east of Aspen at the Braille/Discovery Day Use Area.

The Discovery trail begins on the east side of the parking area where it makes a short loop of about a quarter mile. The trails surface is a hard packed mixture of sand and rock.

Several wheelchair accessible picnic areas are found along the trail.

Interpretive signs provide a learning experience for all visitors.

The Braille trail is at the west side of the parking area. It has been dedicated in honor of Louis Braille, (1809-1852), for his contribution to sightless people throughout the world. The trail was the brainchild of Bob Lewis, a local science and biology teacher.

A rope along the left side of the trail serves as a guide. As the sign suggests, sighted people may like to close their eyes and and hold onto the rope to experience the trail through their sense of smell, touch and hearing.

Interpretive signs, in both print and braille, teach of the trails plants and animals.

The trails path is on uneven ground much like any other hiking trail. This trail is not wheelchair accessible like its companion the Discovery trail.

When the Braille trail was inaugurated in 1967 it was the first of its kind anywhere in the world. The Discovery trail was added in the late 1990's. A good article about the trails can be found on the Independence Pass Foundations website. At present the Braille/Discovery Day Use Area lacks a restroom. Besides being a great place for people with disabilities the Braille/Discovery trails are also a good destination for families. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.