double row of bricks that mark the Freedom TrailBoston has many opportunities for visitors of all abilities. One of the most famous attractions in Boston is known as the Freedom Trail.

The Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail consists of sixteen sites related to Boston’s colonial history. The sites are connected by a red brick or red painted line, which is an excellent visual aide.

The Freedom Trail is not one cohesive entity, though. These individual sites are operated by the US Navy, the National Park Service, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Boston and several private entities. Each site has its own website with individual access policies and features. None of the sites control the public streets and sidewalks connecting the sites. This can make it VERY difficult to track down access information in order to plan a trip to more than one site.

The Freedom Trail Foundation, is an organization of philanthropists and businesses that help market and preserve the trail. They raise money by providing walking tours with guides in historical costumes. The foundation does not control accessibility for any of the sites.

Is the Freedom Trail accessible?

Due to the diverse age of the sites, there is a wide range of accessibility. Some are not accessible at all while others have limited or partial access.

Some sites have little known alternate access. For example, people who cannot climb Tremont Street to the Old Granary Burying Ground may not know they can access it through an alley off Beacon Street. Many of the sites have made an effort to improve access, but have been limited by lack of funding and the historic nature of the buildings. Access for people with sensory disabilities also varies widely from site to site.

How can I plan a Freedom Trail visit?

Start with! I developed this website during my 2010 Gopen Fellowship through the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Network.

This site includes information on access for each of the Freedom Trail sites and contact information for each site. You will also find an alternative Freedom Trail route map which eliminates steep inclines, like Copp’s Hill, for those using wheeled mobility devices or who have limited stamina. To the extent possible, I have included information for people with different types of disabilities, as well as families with young children.

Don’t miss out!

Don’t let the age of the Freedom Trail sites lead you to assume that there is no access. Check out If you still have access questions, call the individual site or the Freedom Trail Foundation for the information that you need. Don’t be shy about asking. Remember, it’s a free country!

Nora Nagle
Guest Author, Nora Nagle