: Cory Lee

Curb-Free Cory Lee Wheels Around Oregon

Global accessibility influencer shares highlights from his skiing, sightseeing, trail and food adventures.
May 22, 2023

As his social media and blog followers know, Cory Lee is always looking for adventure. He’s enjoyed some pretty remarkable experiences around the world, including hot-air ballooning over volcanoes in Spain and zip-lining over gators in Florida — all of which he shares on his Instagram channel and blog, called Curb-Free Cory Lee.

However, Lee wrote recently in his April 2023 blog post detailing his recent trip to Oregon: “Adaptive snow-skiing might have been the coolest and most adrenaline-pumping thing I’ve ever done.”

“It was something I’ve been wanting to do as long as I can remember,” Lee said after his experience at Mt. Bachelor with Bend-based Oregon Adaptive Sports. “Finally I had the chance, and it just blew me away. Just going down those hills really felt like I was in a video game, so surreal.”

Living in Georgia, he doesn’t often get to see snow — much less play in it — but the team at OAS put his nerves at ease, he says. In his wheelchair he travels about 8 miles per hour. From his safe position in a sit-ski with a trained guide, “we were going over hills and it felt like we were jumping them,” Lee says. “I don’t think we ever left the ground, but it was so cool to do.”

Here are more of Lee’s highlights from his adventures in Oregon.

man in wheelchair goes up ramp into minivan
If you need accessible transportation in Oregon, rental vans are a good way to go. Photo courtesy of Cory Lee

Smooth Transportation

Lee started his trip with a flight into Portland, where he rented a United Access rental van with a wheelchair ramp, which he and his traveling companion would use for the entire trip. “It was one of my favorite companies we’ve ever rented a van from,” he says. “When they brought it to the airport they had snacks and drinks for us and were so friendly. They really went overboard.”

Lee uses a mix of rental vans, public transit and tour companies that specialize in accessibility when he travels around the world.

Man in wheelchair on gravel path with trees in background
Cory Lee navigated some light snow in Central Oregon during his visit in April. Photo courtesy of Cory Lee

Trails, Museums, Parks and Attractions

Central Oregon was a huge highlight for Lee, and he fully enjoyed his jam-packed itinerary. One highlight besides skiing at Mt. Bachelor was visiting the last Blockbuster store, located in Bend, where he picked up souvenirs and enjoyed the nostalgia.

As a lover of trails he also enjoyed the wheelchair access at locations including Riley Ranch Nature Reserve — a city park alongside the Deschutes River with views of the Cascades and 1.57 miles of soft-surface trail above the canyon. He also spent time at Alpenglow Park, another city park with lovely high-desert views and 2.2 miles of ADA-accessible paved paths, including a 0.9-mile perimeter loop path, plus 1.3 miles of soft surface natural trail too. Lee was also delighted to find that the playground’s bouldering area there included accessible routes with rope assist climbing for adaptive climbers and climbers with disabilities.

“Hiking trails are something typically not very accessible,” he says. “When I find trails that are wheelchair-friendly it’s so exciting.” And adaptive playgrounds, he says, are “really rare — I haven’t seen them in many other destinations. There was a wheelchair-accessible swing I used; it brought back good memories from my childhood.”

Next on his list was the Old Mill District, where he enjoyed cruising around, and one of his favorite dining experiences of the trip, at Drake restaurant. He gives spectacular marks to his lodging in Bend, the Oxford Hotel, which includes accessible amenities like a fire alarm system and smoke detector with an emergency strobe light; bathroom grab bars; a raised toilet seat; accessible shower and more.

Finally, he considers Bend’s High Desert Museum a must-do for any visitor who loves natural history. He enjoyed learning about the area through the exhibits, rolled along the paved paths inside and outside the museum, and loved the raptor show — “I got smacked in the head by a bird wing — it was amazing.”

Experiencing Central Oregon was something he couldn’t have imagined, Lee says. “I equated all of Oregon with Portland. There’s so much more to Oregon than just the city of Portland.”


man in wheelchair looks at sign and tall waterfall
Cory Lee visits Latourell Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. Photo courtesy of Cory Lee

Waterfall Views

In Portland he stayed at the Hyatt Regency Portland, adjacent to the Oregon Convention Center, where he delivered his keynote. He gave high marks to the accessible amenities and easy navigation at both destinations.

The trip was Lee’s second visit to Oregon — he’d first come six years ago on a trip to Portland. This time he was invited to deliver a keynote speech at Oregon’s annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism. He spoke about the growing number of travelers looking for accessibility accommodations — everything from roll-in showers and shower bars in hotel rooms to clear and specific information about trail grades, curb cuts and transportation.

He spent his last day in Oregon touring the Columbia River Gorge with the help of Sasquatch Shuttle, which has one shuttle that can accommodate wheelchair users.

“I’d seen photos before, but in person it’s just a totally different experience — it was better than I expected,” says Lee. “We saw multiple waterfalls, and they were totally accessible. Typically in a destination there may be one waterfall accessible maybe, but to see multiple accessible was just amazing. The first one we went to, I was really impressed by, the second was better, and the next was better than that.”

Guests looking for a similar experience should contact Sasquatch Shuttle at least 48 hours before booking. For more resources about accessibility along the waterfall corridor, see the visitor guide from Accessible Gorge. Another perk to taking a shuttle to Multnomah Falls: shuttle riders don’t need a timed-use access permit as car users do during peak times in the summer.

“I love Oregon — I already can’t wait to come and visit again,” Lee says. “I haven’t seen everything the state has to offer yet but the parts I’ve been to are a lot of fun. With the attractions, getting outdoors and enjoying nature, and with organizations like OAS — they really take accessibility to the next level. I think it’s a really unique accessible destination.”


About The

Jen Anderson
Jen Anderson is a longtime journalist and travel writer/editor who is now Travel Oregon’s Content & Community Manager, helping to align content for visitors via social media, print and web. She’s called Oregon home for 25 years and loves finding the latest places to eat, drink and play around the state with her husband and two boys. Brewpubs, beaches and bike trails top the list.

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