Canine Cruisin'

Canine Cruisin': Graveyard Fields, Blue Ridge Parkway

CIMG3645Graveyard Fields may be the perfect doggie destination during the fall, so put it on your list of things to do. This area between Milepost 418 and 419 of the Blue Ridge Parkway (about 9 miles south of Mt. Pisgah) has it all: Stunning fall color, several waterfalls with accessible pools of water your dog will love, and trails that offer a variety of hiking experiences. 

A few tips to make your time at Graveyard Fields more enjoyable:

  • Dogs need to be on leash. Some of the paths are narrow and you can come upon other dogs quite suddenly, so be sure your dog is well-mannered
  • If you want to reach the various falls, be prepared to navigate long wooden stairways or uphill trails
  • Trails through the fields and leading to the Upper Falls are likely to be muddy in spots. It's a good idea to wear hiking boots -- and expect your dog to get dirty
  • With its 5,000-foot elevation, Graveyard Fields can be much cooler, so consider bringing a light jacket, especially in the fall
  • Accessible from a parking lot right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Graveyard Fields tends to be extremely crowded on weekends, especially during the peak fall color season.

Even with the things noted above, Graveyard Fields is sure to be a memorable excursion for you and your dog. 

Check out the Canine Cruisin' page for more information and photos.


CANINE CRUISIN': Lake James State Park, NC

Lake james If you're looking for a dog-friendly escape that combines both trails and the splendor of a large lake, give Lake James State Park a try. An easy 45 minutes or so east of Asheville on Route 40, Lake James is over 6,500 acres with more than 150 miles of shoreline.

Lake James features boating and swimming, but it is surrounded by a state park that also includes four hiking trails appropriate for leashed walks. Two of the trails extend out to overlooks so you can get a great view of the lake. Sandy Cliff Overlook Trail is just half a mile and Lake Channel Overlook Trail is 1.5 miles. Fox Den Loop Trail is 2.2 miles. All of these trails are considered moderate. Fishing Pier Trail, at .3 mile, is easy.

For directions and a link to a map of the park, visit the Canine Cruisin' page.


CANINE CRUISIN': SC Botanical Garden

Scbotanical Before the heat of summer sets in, why not take an excursion to a beautiful dog-friendly place in the Upstate where there are miles of nature trails and woodland hikes?

Pay a visit with your pooch to the 295-acre South Carolina Botanical Garden at Clemson University in Clemson, SC, where on-leash dogs are welcome. You can choose from the Belser Native Wildflower Trail through the Woodland Wildflower Garden, where you'll see plenty of native wildflowers that bloom starting in early spring, or the Heusel Nature Trail, located in the oak-hicory forest beyond the Arboretum. There are other trails along Hunnicutt Creek, which connect natural areas of the Garden and offer meadow vistas. The Arboretum loop road is another popular walk.

The South Carolina Botanical Garden is open every day, dawn to dusk, and admission is free. Visit the CANINE CRUISIN' page for directions and further information.


CANINE CRUISIN': Cleveland Park, Greenville, SC

The Canine Corner During cooler temperatures, the temperate climate of the Upstate is particularly enjoyable. For a great dog-friendly destination, cruise over to Cleveland Park, a 122-acre park set alongside the Reedy River and close to downtown Greenville. 

First let your dog work off some energy at The Canine Corner at Cleveland Park, located right across from the Cleveland Park Animal Hospital on Woodland Way. This enclosed off-leash dog park is a sloping bark-mulched area with swings, benches, some shady areas, and a combination human/doggie water fountain. Then take a leisurely leashed walk (or bike ride) along one of the numerous flat paths in the park. Some wind their way parallel to the river.

This is a great fall and winter spot in a city that welcomes dogs. For more information about Greenville parks and trails, visit the CANINE CRUISIN' page.

 


CANINE CRUISIN': Cashiers, NC

Cashiers village green Cashiers is one of those places you and your dog won't easily forget. While it is about 1-1/2 hours southwest of Asheville, its elevation is higher -- 3500 feet -- and that makes it considerably cooler. This charming, quaint, upscale town has both mountains and lakes -- the smaller Cashiers Lake and the larger Lake Glenville, where you'll find pet-friendly rentals (check out the lakeview cottage or cabin at www.sugarbearlodge.com, for example) and water sports of all kinds, including kayaks and pontoon boats for rent. There are a number of public boat launches and low spots where your dog can paddle around -- take Pine Creek Road off of Route 107 in Glenville to reach them.

Woofgang-cashiers Cashiers is a worthy destination for its shops and restaurants, but there are some notable spots that are great for your pup, too. There is the Woof Gang Bakery on Pillar Drive, just off the center of town, where you can lavish your dog with baked treats, natural foods, and plenty of boutique and accessory items. Also in the center of town, at the intersection of Routes 107 and 64, is the Village Green -- a beautiful 12-acre park with flat walking trails, including one that wanders through natural wooded forest. The park features sculptures, a gazebo, a chldren's playground, a picnic area, and more.

Half an hour away, and at an even higher elevation, is Highlands -- worth the trip if you like a winding road leading to tony shops along a busy main drag. (You'll find a pet store called Whiskers there too.)

For more information about Cashiers, visit the CANINE CRUISIN' page.


CANINE CRUISIN': Mt. Mitchell, NC

Mtmitchell-dogs If you're looking for a cool (sometimes even cold) spot to take your dog, Mt. Mitchell's the place. It's a perfect destination on a hot summer day, and just as delightful during the fall.

Just under 6700 feet high, yet easily reachable via car, Mt. Mitchell offers spectacular views and temperatures at least 10 degrees, and sometimes as much as 20 degrees, cooler than Asheville.

Mt. Mitchell is in Yancey County, 33 miles north of Asheville, accessible via the Blue Ridge Parkway (mile marker # 355). Off the Blue Ridge, turn left on NC 128, which leads to Mt. Mitchell State Park. You can drive to the top of Mt. Mitchell and walk your dogs a relatively short way to get to the observation deck (see photo). There's a restaurant at the park, but the shady picnic area is a better bet for dogs. There are a number of hiking trails in the park as well.

Go to the CANINE CRUISIN' page for additional information about Mt. Mitchell.


Best CANINE CRUISIN' "Keep Cool" Spots

Chester-mtns If you're a regular reader of Carolina Mountain Dog, you know that we periodically run stories about dog-friendly destinations in our CANINE CRUISIN' section. Well, given how dog-gone hot it has been lately, we thought you might appreciate taking another look at the top CANINE CRUISIN' COOL spots to take your four-legged friend when you want some relief.

Each of these places is typically 10 to 20 degrees cooler than downtown Asheville on a steamy, sultry day... so pick one and CHILL!

Click on each link to view the original CANINE CRUISIN' story:

Craggy Gardens, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

Max Patch, NC

Montreat, NC


CANINE CRUISIN': DuPont State Forest - Part 2

Fawn lake In Part 1 of Carolina Mountain Dog's coverage of DuPont State Forest, we discussed the forest's primary attraction: its waterfalls. But there are other natural attributes of DuPont State Forest that make great destinations for you and your doggie.

Consider, for example, that there are some 90 miles of trails and dirt roads of varying difficulty, so you can hike to your heart's content. Then there are several other water features, aside from the falls, that make for enjoyable and refreshing visits.

Fawn Lake is one such destination. This lovely lake is hidden away in an access area beyond the falls, so it attracts less attention and therefore less crowds. Fawn lake has a small grassy area and sand sloping down to the water's edge, plus a short wooden dock that swimmers use for diving. The lake is very dog-friendly; in fact, no one seems to mind dogs being off-leash. Your dog will love frolicking in the shallow, warm water near shore or chasing a ball or stick further out. Be aware, however, that there is no shade, so come prepared with sunscreen, hats, etc.

Dupontwithdogs Another interesting place to take your dog is Corn Mill Shoals, which is on the way from DuPont State Forest to Fawn Lake. Corn Mill Shoals features a slippery but inviting shallow swimming area on the Little River.

Finally, try Lake Imaging if you're looking for a quiet spot for a picnic. It's a pond-sized lake with a covered picnic pavilion, located in its own access area, just before the Hooker Falls access area.

For directions to Fawn Lake, Corn Mill Shoals, and Lake Imaging, visit the CANINE CRUISIN' page.


CANINE CRUISIN': DuPont State Forest, NC - Part 1

Dupont18 DuPont State Forest, located between Hendersonville and Brevard, NC, is a hiker, biker, and dog owner's paradise. This 10,000-acre forest has numerous outstanding trails (some of the best mountain biking trails anywhere), waterfalls, lakes, and dense, cool forest. It definitely qualifies as a premier Canine Cruisin' destination -- so exceptional that it deserves more than one blog post. That's why Carolina Mountain Dog will cover it in two parts.

This first part covers DuPont's most visited attractions -- its waterfalls. There are six different falls, Triple Falls, High Falls, Hooker Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Wintergreen Falls, and Grassy Creek Falls. Each one has its own unique qualities. For a description of each, visit http://www.dupontforest.com/attractions.asp

The falls are accessible from two parking areas, the Hooker Falls Access Area, and the Buck Forest Access Area, which has access to the high falls. If you park at the Hooker Falls area, you can walk all the way up a path and see several of the falls.

For driving directions to DuPont State Forest and additional information, visit the CANINE CRUISIN' page. In Part 2, we'll explore some of DuPont Forest's other natural attractions.


CANINE CRUISIN': Craggy Gardens, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

Craggy Gardens Craggy Gardens is one of those unforgettable spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway that reminds you why you're so lucky to live in the Carolina mountains. This special area at Mile Post 364 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, about 25 miles north of Asheville, is a perfect excursion for you and your dog during the hot summer months because its altitude means temperatures as much as 15 degrees cooler than in the city.

In addition to the cool mountain air, you'll be treated to some memorable vistas, as well as spectacular rhododendron and fire azaleas. (Note, however, that they are past peak right now.) There's a beautiful picnic area where your dogs can hang out for awhile. From the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center, you can pick up several trails. Just slightly north beyond the Visitor Center you can find Craggy Pinnacle trail, just 1-1/2 miles round trip. This is a great one to try. It will lead your through a rhododendron tunnel to a great mountaintop view and you'll see plenty of vegetation along the way. This is a prime spot for a dog hike!

For additional information, visit the CANINE CRUISIN' page.


Cruisin' the Lakes

Furman lake Over the past year, Carolina Mountain Dog has covered a number of beautiful lakes in our CANINE CRUISIN' and POOCH PATHS sections. With the warm weather upon us, lakes make a great outing for you and your dog, so we thought it might be useful to provide you with links to all of the lake stories in one place. Enjoy!

Lake Powhatan, NC
http://www.carolinamountaindog.com/2010/03/pooch-paths-lake-powhatan-asheville-nc.html

Lake Jocassee, SC
http://www.carolinamountaindog.com/2009/08/canine-cruisin-lake-jocassee-sc.html

 

Moses Cone and Julian Price Parks, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
http://www.carolinamountaindog.com/2009/09/canine-cruisin-moses-cone-park-julian-price-park-nc.html

 

Lake Junaluska, NC

http://www.carolinamountaindog.com/2009/10/canine-cruisin-waynesville-and-lake-junaluska-nc.html

 

Furman Lake, SC

http://www.carolinamountaindog.com/2010/05/canine-cruisin-furman-lake-greenville-sc.html

 

CANINE CRUISIN': Furman Lake, Greenville, SC

Furman Lake1 If you're looking for an idyllic stroll with your dog in the Upstate, there's none better than Furman Lake, located on the campus of Furman University. The trail meanders about 1-1/4 miles around a small lake and offers shade and lovely views of the picturesque clock tower and campus. Take a picnic lunch and make it an outing.

There are other trails on campus as well, including a two-mile trail behind the lake that goes through the woods, and a portion of an eleven mile trail that stretches from downtown Greenville to Travelers Rest.

The lake and trails are open to the public, but dogs should be on leash -- and please remember to pick up after your dog. For directions and more information, visit the CANINE CRUISIN' page.

If you want to tie this stroll in with some off-leash time for your dog, check out the canine fun park in close by Greer.


CANINE CRUISIN': Fun Park for Dogs in the Upstate

Dogparksign If you live in or are traveling to the Upstate, you'll find a place near Greer where your dog can play all day. "Six Wags of Greer" is a privately-run dog park that features 3 very large fenced in play areas for small, medium, and large dogs -- complete with benches, toys, shade, and a running creek. It also includes two separate play areas for dogs that might do better playing alone, and one of those areas is outfitted with agility equipment.

You pay $5 for an "all-day pass" for your first dog, and $2 for each additional dog. It's a bargain even for a few hours of fun. The park is well-maintained and open 7 days a week from 7 AM to 8 PM. If no one's at the small shack on the property, just leave your money in the mail slot.

Chesteratsixwags Six Wags of Greer is located on Highway 14, between Landrum and Greer, about 6 miles beyond the intersection of Highway 11 and Highway 14, heading towards Greer. The park will be on your right. Visit the CANINE CRUISIN' page for more photos of the park. (If you're using a GPS, put in the address 3671 Highway 14, Greer.)


CANINE CRUISIN': Max Patch, NC

Max-patch-102109 041 If you're looking for a little piece of heaven for both you and your doggie, cruise on up to Max Patch. True, it's in the middle of nowhere, close to the Tennessee border, more than an hour northwest of Asheville, NC. And as you drive up about seven miles of gravel-packed, winding road to reach Max Patch, you'll be thinking "This better be good."

It's worth it. Max Patch is a bald about 4200 feet high, and the road gets you pretty close to the top. A short hike and you reach a flat, open area that is breathtaking, to say the least. You'll love the 360-degree panoramic views. You'll feel as if you're on top of the world. Your dog will love cavorting on the large grassy hillsides. No one seems to mind well-behaved off-leash dogs up there. It'll be easy to spot your buddy from most any vantage point.

File this one away for a lovely spring day or, better yet, make it an outing on a hot summer day. The cool breezes and spectacular locale are guaranteed to help you chill out.

You can reach Max Patch off Route 40 West (Exit 7), but a recent rock slide may get in your way. The alternate route, not nearly as direct, is to wind your way through Hot Springs. (See the CANINE CRUISIN' page for detailed directions and additional information.)


CANINE CRUISIN': Montreat, NC

Montreat memorial garden Montreat is a tiny, secluded town north of Black Mountain that is home to Montreat College and the Montreat Conference Center, which is surrounded by 2,500 acres of unspoiled wilderness. Montreat is a dog lover's paradise because it is an ideal destination for either a casual walk or a serious hike. There are numerous trails, many of which run alongside rushing creeks, set amidst dense trees in the mountains. If you're looking for a spot that gets you close to nature and elevates your spirits, Montreat is it.

While Montreat is typically a spring and summer destination, it is less crowded in the fall and winter. It is cool year-round, so dress appropriately.

For an easy, flat trail that runs alongside a creek, go through the Montreat stone gate and enter the gravel parking lot immediately on your right. There you'll find a memorial garden and a good walking trail that's shaded and cool and has plenty of opportunities for your dog to go into the rushing water of the creek.

Montreat092709 028 For more vigorous hiking, go all the way up Assembly Drive until it becomes Grayhead Trail. Continue to the end until you reach the Trailhead. There are a number of trails there that lead through the forests, some more challenging than others.

You can find a link to a trail map and detailed trail descriptions on the Montreat Conference Center's website at: http://www.montreat.org/programs/wilderness. For more information about Montreat, visit the CANINE CRUISIN' page.


CANINE CRUISIN': Waynesville and Lake Junaluska, NC

Waynesville-greenway Waynesville and nearby Lake Junaluska make a great excursion for you and your dog. You'll be able to walk, jog, or bike on the Waynesville greenway -- a flat trail that runs over 5 miles through parts of Waynesville, some of it beside Richland Creek, and then to Lake Junaluska, continuing along one side of the lake.

Lake Junaluska, a retreat and conference center run by the United Methodist Church, is picturesque and peaceful. It is open to public use. There is a lovely trail, about 2-1/2 miles, that encircles the lake, and another walking trail of almost 4 miles that passes many of the buildings.

In Waynesville, let your dog off leash at the Pepsi Dog Park, located on Vance Street, not far from the Waynesville Recreation Center. The dog park is divided into two grassy areas, one for large dogs, and one for small dogs. It's a modest size but sufficient for some good playtime. After you drain your dog's energy, take a stroll down Waynesville's main street, where you'll find many interesting shops and several good restaurants.

For more information, directions, and Waynesville Greenway and Lake Junaluska trail maps, visit the CANINE CRUISIN' page.


CANINE CRUISIN': Moses Cone Park, Julian Price Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

Mosescone

If you're thinking of taking a Fall color excursion, take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and head towards Mile Post 294, near Blowing Rock, NC. That's where you'll find an outstanding doggie destination: the Moses Cone Memorial Park. On 3500 acres of grounds sits a mansion with a breath-taking view, surrounded by 25 miles of carriage trails which are used for horse trail rides, but the trails are also very walkable. (The mansion is now a crafts center run by the Southern Highland Crafts Guild.)

Down below the mansion is the picturesque Bass Lake, which can be reached from Rt. 221 south, right outside of Blowing Rock. Bass Lake has a wonderful flat paved trail all around it, so it makes for an ideal walk or jog with your dog. In the Fall, the lake is surrounded by red, orange, and yellow, and it is quite spectacular to look up the mountain at the white mansion, set off by the vivid autumn colors. Carriage trails loop around the lake for longer hiking opportunities.

It's hard to believe, but there is another wonderful park just minutes away from Moses Cone, Julian Price Park, also accessible off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here, too, you'll find a lake with a trail around it. It is more rustic and uneven than the one around Bass Lake, though, so wear good hiking shoes or boots for this one. Julian Price Park is no slouch for recreational activities, either: It offers 3900 acres with hiking trails, picnic areas, campgrounds, trout fishing, and boat rental.

One or both of these parks make an outing you and your doggie will not soon forget. You could easily spend a day or more doing these two parks. When you tire of the natural beauty, you can always head into the quaint town of Blowing Rock, where numerous shops, galleries and restaurants await you.

For more information about Moses Cone and Julian Price, visit the CANINE CRUISIN' page.


CANINE CRUISIN': Rutherfordton, NC

Fourpaws1007 013 Rutherfordton, NC is a first-class doggy destination for several good reasons. First, right in Rutherfordton, you'll find a kind of canine camping nirvana for your dog called Four Paws Kingdom. This first-class campground is dedicated to dogs -- really! Four Paws Kingdom is a 30-plus acre site that features a large fenced off-leash dog park, a fenced off-leash agility fun playground, a fenced off-leash small dog play area, a fenced off-leash area with a creek, and a fenced off-leash doggy swimming pond. Plus there are twenty acres of on-leash nature trails, clean private restrooms/showers, over 40 RV sites with full hook-ups, and even dog-friendly on-site trailers and cabins you can rent. Owners Meik and Birgit Bartoschek are exceptional hosts who throw many parties and cook gourmet meals for their guests. Schroeder and Lucy (see photo) are the resident greeters. The Four Paws camping season runs through December, so check them out at www.4pawskindgom.com.

Two more reasons the area rocks for dogs are Chimney Rock State Park and Lake Lure, both of which are within 30 minutes of Rutherfordton. Chimney Rock welcomes on-leash dogs. It has natural beauty and hiking trails galore perfect for hours of fun. Chimney Rock holds a special "Bark in the Park" every year in the Spring that welcomes dogs and features special demonstrations. Past years have included agility and guide dogs. To learn more about Chimney Rock, go to www.chimneyrockpark.com.

Lake Lure is a stunning lake with a marina, beach area, boardwalk, and lake tours. While dogs are not allowed in all areas, you can take a refreshing on-leash walk and get a great view of the lake as a cool-down after your Chimney Rock excursion (or as a leisurely alternative to hiking in Chimney Rock). Both Chimney Rock and Lake Lure are worth the visit -- and Four Paws Kingdom makes a great base of operations in the Rutherfordton area.

Visit the CANINE CRUISIN' page for more about Four Paws Kingdom and Chimney Rock Park.


CANINE CRUISIN': Lake Jocassee, SC

Jocassee beachLake Jocassee, South Carolina is a great doggy destination that's easy to reach from anywhere in the Carolina mountain region. This 7,500-acre man-made reservoir is virtually undeveloped. Its clear, calm waters and gentle mountains make you feel like you're looking out at a Caribbean vista. Access the lake by going to Devils Fork State Park in Salem, SC via the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Highway (SC 11). The park features nature and hiking trails and an excellent campground with full hookups and beach access. Fishing, picnicking, and boating are just some of the activities you can enjoy there.

We stayed at the campground with our dogs and were able to walk right down to the beach. They loved splashing in the water and running along the beach, which has both rocks and sand. We also drove over to a separate boat ramp area (not the primary boat ramp) that featured rocks that you could climb down to a small sandy beach. The dogs loved exploring the shoreline.

Lake Jocassee is a great day trip or a multi-day camping excursion. For additional information, including photos, visit the CANINE CRUISIN' page.