Pooch Paths

POOCH PATHS: Jackson Park, Hendersonville, NC

ID-10076707If you're looking for some wide open spaces to walk your dog on leash, consider Jackson Park in Hendersonville, NC. This 212-acre park, not far from downtown Hendersonville, has it all, including picnic shelters, playgrounds and walking trails -- lots of them. Some of the trails pass through lush vegetation and swampland, connecting via the Oklawaha Greenway with three other parks in Henderson County. The park also boasts many species of birds and plants.

An added bonus is a giant off-leash dog park, located not far from the first entrance to the park at 801 Glover Street. The fully fenced park features a covered seating area and plenty of flat grass for cavorting around with other pups. Large and small dogs intermingle here. A stream is nearby.

Note: Another city dog park, Pets' Own Place on Seventh Avenue, is located at 1019 Seventh Avenue East. This fenced dog park has two separate section for small and large dogs. There is also a waste bag dispenser, trash receptacle and a water spigot. The park is located across Mud Creek at the Oklawaha Greenway trail head. Parking is available off Seventh Avenue.

Image: Victor Habbick, freedigitalphotos.net

POOCH PATHS: Asheville Greenways

GreenwaysSome of the best dog-walking paths are greenways -- multi-use paths that typically occupy stream and river corridors. Asheville currently offers 4.3 miles of developed greenways and is working towards its vision of a 15-mile system composed of 12 interconnected corridors.

Most Asheville greenways are situated along stream, creek, and river corridors although mountain side and forested corridors will eventually be added to the mix. Many of Asheville’s existing greenways are located within individual parks. They are ideally suited to dog walking (leashed, of course). Following is a list of Asheville's completed greenways and those under development.

Completed Greenways

French Broad River Greenway, Western Segment
The Western Segment consists of a 10-foot wide paved trail that extends from the FBR Park (at the confluence of the French Broad and Swannanoa River) to Hominy Creek Park (at the confluence of the French Broad River and Hominy Creek) for a total of 2.8 miles. The trail includes a short on-road section as well as a section that is incorporated into a private RV park. The French Broad River Greenway system overlaps with a portion of the Wilma Dykeman RiverWay Plan, a major urban waterfront redevelopment project. 

Glenn’s Creek Greenway, Western Segment
The Western Segment consists of a 10-foot wide paved trail that extends from W.T. Weaver Park to the Botanical Gardens of UNC-Asheville for a total of 1.0 mile.  The trail connects the Norwood, Montford and UNC-A neighborhoods. The Western Segment makes up a vast majority of the Glenn’s Creek corridor.

Reed Creek Greenway, Phase I
Phase I, consists of a 10-foot wide paved trail that extends from Catawba to Cauble Street for a total of 0.23 miles.  Reed Creek Greenway is Asheville’s highest profile greenway because of its close proximity to downtown.  Once complete, the 1.0 mile corridor will connect the Botanical Gardens, UNC-A, and the Montford neighborhood to downtown Asheville. 

Swannanoa River Greenway, “Riverbend” Segment
The “Riverbend” Segment consists of a 10-foot wide paved trail that runs in front of the Wal-Mart shopping center.  It was constructed as part of a development agreement with the Wal-Mart developer and will eventually connect into the Swannanoa River Greenway system.

Town Branch Greenway, Phase I
Phase I begins at Choctaw Park, 500 feet west from the intersection with McDowell Street, travels west along Town Branch Creek and ends near the intersection of South French Broad Avenue and Choctaw Street, a few hundred feet from the new Livingston Street Recreation Center. Phase I takes the form of wide sidewalks and bike lanes and totals 0.2 miles. The Town Branch corridor will eventually connect the new Livingston Recreation Center to McDowell Street.

Greenways Under Development

Reed Creek Greenway, Phase II
Phase II will consist of a 10-foot wide paved trail that will extend from Cauble to Magnolia Street for a total of 0.30 miles. This segment will include a bridge crossing, bio-retention features, trees, and an emergency call box. 

Clingman Forest Greenway
The Clingman Forest Greenway will begin at Aston Park at Hilliard Avenue and follows an existing sewer line and city right-of-way down to Clingman Avenue for a total of 0.5 miles. The greenway will be encompassed by an urban forest and will connect to parts of a perennial stream with beautiful rock outcrops. There are potential connections to Aston Park, Asheville Middle School, YWCA, future affordable housing complex at the corner of Hilliard and Clingman Avenue, Owens Bell Park and surrounding residential areas. 

Town Branch, Phase II
Phase II will consist of a 10-foot wide paved trail that will extend from Depot Street, in the River Arts District, to the existing trail on Choctaw Street. The corridor will utilize park space behind new Livingston Street Recreation Center. The project will also include off-road and sidewalk connections between Choctaw Park and McDowell Street. 

Beaucatcher Mountain Greenway
The Beuacatcher Mountain Greenway will begin at Memorial Stadium, travel north along the west slope of Beaucatcher Mountain to College Street. The corridor will end at the old Beaucatcher reservoir for a total of 1.25 miles. This wooded corridor will have commanding views of downtown Asheville and connects Beaucatcher Park and White Fawn Reservoir. The greenway will be a paved asphalt trail with brief on-road segments in the form of bike lanes and/or sidewalks. This corridor will connect Beaucatcher Park and White Fawn Reservoir to the old Beaucatcher Reservoir near the intersection of College Street and Windswept Drive. There are potential connections to Memorial Stadium/Mountainside Park, McCormick Field and the Asheland Avenue greenway corridor.

For more information about Asheville Greenways, visit: 


POOCH PATHS Update - Fletcher Now Has a Dog Park

Stonepath-fletcherpark09 008Several years ago, Carolina Mountain Dog covered Fletcher Community Park (off Howard Gap Road and Hendersonville Road in Fletcher, NC) as an ideal "Pooch Path." The park features flat, paved and very walkable trails that run through the park and beyond to a lovely greenway, behind the park. Bordering the park is also Cane Creek, accessible from a crushed stone path, where dogs can splash around and get a cold drink.

Now, Fletcher Community Park is an even better doggie destination. The park has added the new Morris Broadband Dog Park, which consists of two separate large fenced in areas, one for small dogs and one for large dogs, where your pet can roam off-leash. The Dog Park can be accessed off the main trail that circles the park. 

Here's a tip to add an extra dimension to your visit. Go to the Blue Sky Cafe on Hendersonville Road (a minute away from the corner of Hendersonville and Howard Gap Roads) and take out one of their scrumptious wraps, salads or sandwiches and then picnic at one of the numerous tables set up around the park. It's a great way to get your dog out for a walk and enjoy lunch or dinner at the same time!

POOCH PATHS: Azalea Dog Park in Asheville Gets Facelift

TwopuppiesWe've mentioned Azalea Dog Park as a POOCH PATHS destination before, but if you haven't been there lately, you'll find some improvements that make it even better.

The park has been reconfigured so that dogs over 25 pounds have a completely separate entrance. Instead of going through the small dog area as before, dogs can enter a separate gate into a large, fenced area. Dogs under 25 pounds enter through a second gate into the small dog area. In addition, a chronically muddy section between the two areas has now been fenced off, fencing that previously surrounded trees in the big dog area has been removed to allow for more space, and new lockers have been added to both areas to store drinking water for the dogs.

Azalea Dog Park is a great place for your dogs to work off their energy. Poop bags are generally available and you are encouraged to pick up after your dog. The dog park adjoins a pond and a small grassy area with a few picnic tables, and there are some hiking trails close by as well.

Insider tip: One of the good things about the location of the park is its proximity to the Swannanoa River. For a nice cool-down after romping at this dog park, exit the park and look for a gated pull-in, immediately on your left. Down a short path is a shallow river bed and gentle rapids where doggies love to splash.

Location: Use Exit 8 off of Route 240 and follow signs for the WNC Nature Center. The park is at 395 Azalea Road, a few miles past the WNC Nature Center. Continue on Azalea Road past all the soccer fields until you see the sign, Azalea Dog Park, on the left.

Image: anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

POOCH PATHS: Singing the Praises of Bent Creek

Cinder in bent creek Easily accessible via the Blue Ridge Parkway and not far from I-26 is a true natural gem -- Bent Creek Experimental Forest. The forest is right off Brevard Road (Rt. 191) south of Asheville. It encompasses nearly 6,000 acres of forest and streams, is home to the North Carolina Arboretum, and includes the Lake Powhatan recreational area (swimming, fishing and camping).

Bent Creek is also as close as you can get to doggie heaven. There are miles and miles of trails appropriate for hiking and biking -- everything from wide former logging roads to narrow dirt paths that meander through the woods or take ambitious hikers high into the mountains. An added bonus during the summer is that many of the trails are shaded and cool.

Dogs love the smells, sounds and running creeks. While dogs should technically be on leash (and they must be leashed at Lake Powhatan), many owners seem to feel comfortable allowing their dogs to explore off-leash. If you use trails that are not near to the Lake Powhatan area, chances are you your dog can enjoy a memorable off-leash experience, as long as he or she is well-behaved and returns when called. (Tip: Hunting is allowed in Bent Creek during the fall. Don't allow your dog off-leash during hunting season. Watch for a sign indicating the dates for hunting season posted near the entrance to Bent Creek, opposite the service entrance of the NC Arboretum.)

There are so many trails and access points that it is difficult to recommend any one or mention them all. The best thing to do is explore on your own since trails are well-marked. You can also make use of the trail map which you can download here.

You'll find that Bent Creek is especially popular (and frequently crowded) on weekends. To avoid the crowds, Carolina Mountain Dog's advice is to drive past all of the obvious entry points to Bent Creek. Go beyond the entrance to Lake Powhatan and continue on the dirt road that curves around to the right. You'll see another access area to the right, but keep driving down the dirt road, which curves to the left. Continue a mile or two and you'll find several more access points with small parking areas to the left and right. Many less-traveled trails are off this road.

POOCH PATHS Update: Fletcher Park Greenway

Fletcherpark-bridge About a year ago, we listed Fletcher Community Park (Fletcher, NC) in our POOCH PATHS section. If you haven't been there lately, it's even better than before.

Now, the greenway path, which is behind the main community park area, has been extended. This flat, paved trail, partially in the shade, is perfect for walking and hiking. You can reach the path by taking the trail to the right of the parking lots as you enter the park. This trail leads over a small bridge. You'll see a large field ahead of you. Take the left path and you can follow the greenway path a few miles until the pavement ends. The path on the right is also flat but it is unpaved.

The rest of the park is also ideal for a nice jaunt with your dog. For further details, check out the previous article about Fletcher Community Park.

POOCH PATHS: Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, NC

WarrenWilson Asheville is home to many wonderful outdoor adventures and, increasingly, the city is becoming nationally known as one of the greenest and most eco-friendly. At the heart of the environmental movement is Warren Wilson College, a small liberal arts school ten miles east of Asheville in Swannanoa. Warren Wilson is highly rated for its outdoor life and being green; for example, Outside magazine ranks the college fourth on its Top 40, noting the following:

"Warren Wilson is one of the most earth-friendly colleges on the planet. ... Hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders don't even have to leave the 1,200-acre campus, as more than 25 miles of trails cut through the grounds. Warren Wilson's environmental studies program is the biggest on campus, and students can choose between sustainable agriculture, conservation biology, environmental policy, environmental education, and sustainable forestry."

Those trails Outside refers to are open to the public and they are definitely dog-friendly (on-leash). The River Trail, for example, runs alongside the Swannanoa Rover, oops, that is, River! Typically, only locals know about these trails -- but now you do, too. Warren Wilson's trails definitely qualify as a Pooch Path adventure. Access the trails from the campus. Visit the POOCH PATHS page for directions.

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

Lake Jocassee, SC


Moses Cone and Julian Price Parks, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC


Lake Junaluska, NC



Furman Lake, SC



POOCH PATHS: Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

Biltmore_Overview The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina is one of the country's national treasures. It's also a naturally beautiful and protected walking, hiking, and biking paradise for dogs and their owners. George Vanderbilt, who built the magnificent structure, was a dog lover, and the estate carries on his tradition by welcoming leashed dogs onto the property (but not in the house). There are numerous trails of varying difficulty that lend themselves to hours and hours of walking, hiking, and biking.

The downside is that one must pay the full $65 daily admission price to use the facilities. However, a smart alternative for anyone who is within reasonable driving distance is to purchase a Twelve-Month Pass. The passholder is able to gain unlimited entry to the estate at any time of year for $105 annually. If you purchase the pass by May 16, you can get it for $85, a savings of $20. Passholders are also entitled to other benefits, such as priority dining reservations and discounts at estate stores. A few visits with your dog will make the pass worth the price, so it's something you should consider.

For basic walking or biking with your dog, the best place on the Biltmore Estate is probably the area surrounding and adjacent to Antler Hill Village and the winery. Park near the winery and pick up the paved trail that leads to the duck pond. It is a beautiful flat trail that meanders along the French Broad River and winds up at a duck pond where your doggie will love watching the ever-present geese. An added bonus is that you can return to the just-opened Antler Hill Village, where you'll find Cedric's Tavern, named after one of George Vanderbilt's beloved dogs, and a Creamery, which serves outstanding ice cream. Both eateries have outdoor seating and dogs are permitted to sit beside you while you enjoy lunch, dinner, or a treat.CedricsTavern

Another great area for a walk is behind the house itself. Drive past the house and park in the lot for "A Gardener's Place," the plant and gift shop located near the greenhouse. Then cross the road to the Azalea Gardens. You'll find a wonderful paved path that winds through these gardens (the azaleas are spectacular in season) and eventually leads to a pond and waterfall. It's a memorable walk.

There are many more trails on the property, including some for serious hiking. Just ask for a trail map and follow whichever ones appeal to you. You could easily spend a day adventuring with your dog. Right now is a great time to visit because it's Biltmore's annual Festival of Flowers.

For directions and more information about Biltmore, visit the POOCH PATHS page.

POOCH PATHS: Lake Powhatan, Asheville, NC

Powhatan022710 021 Lake Powhatan is a small lake with a sandy beach within Bent Creek Experimental Forest. The lake is a particularly great spot for the month of March because the lake and accompanying overnight camping area is closed until April 1. That means you and your doggies have the run of the place (including the beach) since cars, campers, and swimmers aren't around. You also don't have to pay any fee, which is required after the lake opens.

The lake and the surrounding roads and trails make for a great outing. You can walk, jog, or bike ride on the paved roads (it's moderately hilly but not too bad), or you can hike on the many trails near the lake and in Bent Creek. Your dog will love splashing around on the bank or running in the sand. During the off-season, many people let their dogs run free, although when the lake is open, dogs must be leashed.

The lake is easily accessible via the entrance to Bent Creek, which is right off the Blue Ridge Parkway at the North Carolina Arboretum exit, Route 191 (Brevard Road towards Asheville). Follow the signs to Bent Creek/Lake Powhatan. Go past the Hard Times Trailhead on the left (which itself is a great spot to pick up numerous trails). The road then forks and the entrance to Lake Powhatan is on the left. You can park outside the gate to the right and walk up the hill. Follow the signs for swimming and fishing to get to the lake. Walking around the empty campground, which is largely shaded, is also a nice stroll. During the off-season, the gates are closed to vehicles but foot traffic is allowed.

Visit the POOCH PATHS page for additional information and directions from I-26.

POOCH PATHS: Azalea Dog Park, Asheville, NC

112109 030 Azalea Dog Park in Asheville is a great place for your dogs to work off their energy. It features two fenced-in areas, one for smaller dogs and one for larger dogs, separated by a gate, although small and big dogs can use either area, as long as they are well-behaved.

The big dog portion is quite a large area, with plenty of room for running and playing. It has a gazebo in the center -- useful to get out of the sun, since the trees that have been planted are not yet full-grown. On the downside, there is a ravine in this area that quickly fills up with water when it snows or rains, so be prepared for a muddy experience if you go soon after wet weather.

Poop bags are generally available, but you will need to bring your own water. The dog park adjoins a pond and a small grassy area with a few picnic tables, and there are a few hiking trails close by as well.

Insider tip: One of the good things about the location of the park is its proximity to the Swannanoa River. For a nice cool-down after romping at this dog park, exit the park and look for a gated pull-in near a dumpster, immediately on your left. Down a short path is a shallow river bed and gentle rapids where doggies love to splash.

Location: Use Exit 8 off of Route 240 and follow signs for the WNC Nature Center. The park is at 395 Azalea Road, a few miles past the WNC Nature Center. Continue on Azalea Road past all the soccer fields and the dog park will be on the left.

POOCH PATHS: Carrier Park and French Broad River Park, Asheville, NC

The city of Asheville has some great venues for dog lovers. Two of them, Carrier Park and French Broad River Park, are along Amboy Road, close to each other, and include enough tree-lined paths by the French Broad River to make for a whole morning or afternoon of walking or biking with your four-legged friend.

Carrier Park attracts more of a crowd because of its facilities, but gently rolling paved and bark-mulched paths to the left of the picnic shelter lead away from the busy section, towards French Broad River Park. Walk along the sidewalk to reach the less populated area, and you'll notice a sign indicating the future home of "Karen Cragnolin Park." This is part of the ambitious "Wilma Dykeman Riverway Plan," named for a local writer/conservationist, and sponsored by the visionary organization, RiverLink. The plan calls for the eventual formation of a 17-mile continuous greenway linking the French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers. It's an exciting and bold concept that encourages recreational use of the city's waterways.

French Broad River Park, beyond Carrier Park and to the left off Amboy Road, is a walker's delight. It has the added benefit of a fenced, 1-acre dog park on the premises. (However, there's a newer and larger dog park on the other side of town called the Azalea Road Dog Park, near the WNC Nature Center and not far from the Bleachery Boulevard shopping area.)

Walk or ride along the paths at either Carrier Park or French Broad River Park, stop to look at the water, and take time for you and your dog enjoy what Asheville has to offer.

For more information, visit the POOCH PATHS page.

POOCH PATHS: Fletcher Community Park, Fletcher, NC

Fletcherpark-bridge There are lots of community parks, so what makes Fletcher Community Park worthy of selection as a Pooch Path? One word: FLAT! Well actually, it's more than that. Yes, this park is very flat, but it also has excellent facilities and natural beauty. And it's a great place for a dog walk or a bike ride with your dog.

Fletcher Community Park has a large central "campus" with a paved trail all around it that makes for easy walking or a great bike riding path. It also has a crushed stone path running along Cane Creek that is very picturesque. Follow the bark mulch path from the stone path (behind all the parking lots) and there is a great spot to take your dog down into the water. It's right before a small bridge that passes over the creek. Go over the bridge and you'll come to a big open field (again flat) that provides another walking/biking trail. This is part of the "Fletcher Park Greenway," which will eventually be expanded but, for now, makes for a nice, not-too long-outing.

Stonepath-fletcherpark09 008 Fletcher Community Park also has restrooms and picnic tables. It is conveniently located off Hendersonville Road in Fletcher. Coming from Asheville, make a left onto Howard Gap Road (at the light just before the Blue Sky Cafe). The park will be on your left. Visit the POOCH PATHS page for additional information and a trail map.

POOCH PATHS: Carl Sandburg Home, Flat Rock, NC

Front Lake-Sandburg Home Carl Sandburg and his wife Lilian owned a 245-acre farm named Connemara in Flat Rock, NC, a few miles from Hendersonville. Carl was one of America's greatest writers, and Lilian achieved world fame for raising award-winning goats. Mrs. Sandburg sold the house and land to the National Park Service after her husband's death. The Park Service designated it as a National Historic Site and conducts tours of the home.

Little known except to locals, however, is the fact that the site is a naturally beautiful hiking paradise and admission is free. The grounds feature everything from an easy stroll around picturesque Front Lake, to a moderate hike to Little Glassy Mountain, to a more adventurous hike up the Glassy Trail to Glassy Mountain. Most trails pass through unspoiled forest and it isn't suprising to have a trail all to yourself. Dogs are permitted on leash.

Trailsign-sandburghome The Sandburg farm is truly a hidden gem for a hike with your dog. Chances are your four-legged friend will also be intrigued by the goats kept in the barn area, as well as by the resident cat. Trails can be accessed from the field across from the barn and from Front Lake. See the POOCH PATHS page for additional information,  directions, and a link to a trail map.

POOCH PATHS: Mt. Pisgah, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

Chester at Mt. Pisgah There is a small window of opportunity between now and early November to take in the beauty of Mt. Pisgah and Fall colors in the surrounding area. (Or if you can't make it this season, keep this excursion in mind for a warm summer day, since the cool temperatures of Mt. Pisgah are delightful at that time of year).


Mt. Pisgah is on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile Post 407, south of Asheville, NC. There are several areas your dogs will love.


For a moderate hike, try the Buck Spring Gap trail, about 1.5 miles one way, which goes from the Buck Spring Gap Overlook parking area to the Pisgah Inn. There are marvelous views both at the overlook and the Inn. Interesting note: On this trail you'll see a marker and part of the original foundation of George Vanderbilt's mountain hunting lodge. You'll find it hard to imagine that he trekked all the way from the Biltmore Estate to get here! (Of course, he had a lot of help.) The present-day Shut-In Trail generally follows the same path along the Blue Ridge up to the lodge site.


There are numerous other hiking trails near Mt. Pisgah, but the most adventurous is the hike up Mt. Pisgah itself, which this writer has not yet attempted! For more about the Mt. Pisgah Trail, and to access a map of all the trails around Mt. Pisgah, visit the POOCH PATHS page.


Mtpisgahpicnicarea POOCH PICK: Our doggies particularly loved the nearby Mt. Pisgah picnic grove, accessible from its own parking lot. It is a lovely, large wooded area with picnic tables, outdoor grills, and restrooms. We brought tie-outs, hooked them around a table, and let the dogs enjoy their bones while we enjoyed our lunch. What a great spot!


Off-Leash Dog Parks

Boonedogpark Despite the many local outdoor recreational opportunities, dogs must be leashed on Blue Ridge Parkway trails and in most forest and park areas. For off-leash time and socialization with other dogs, dog parks are ideal; however, there are not many of them in the region. The following is a list of official off-leash dog parks in WNC and the Upstate -- facilities that are fenced, maintained, and allow dogs off-leash. If you know of others, feel free to comment so we can update this list.

Note: Any time you visit a dog park, it is a good idea to have water, poop bags, and proof of vaccinations. Be sure your dog is well-socialized and will not be intimidated or cause problems in this environment.

(Photo: Dog Park in Boone, Watauga Humane Society)


Azalea Dog Park

Location: 395 Azalea Road (Not far from the WNC Nature Center. Continue on Azalea Road past all the soccer fields and the dog park will be on the left.)

Facilities: Two fenced areas, one small dogs and a large area for big dogs with a gazebo. Bring your own water. Insider tip: For a nice cool-down after romping at this dog park, exit the park and look for a pull-in near a dumpster, immediately on your left. Down a short path is a shallow river bed and gentle rapids where doggies love to splash.

More Information

French Broad River Dog Park

Location: Adjacent to the French Broad River Park, Amboy Road and Riverview Drive, West Asheville.

Facilities: Large fenced area. No separate area for small dogs. Water is available.

More Information


Watauga Humane Society Dog Park

Location: Don Hayes Road, between Rutherwood Baptist Church and the Boone Stockyard, about four miles from Boone off Old Highway 421 South.

Facilities: About 3.5 acres of fenced flat and hilly area. Separate area for small dogs, and another area for dogs with special behavioral problems. Water available. Note: Pre-registration required. Admission by pass only. Annual memberships and day passes available at the Watauga Humane Society. Insider tip: If you are not a Boone resident, you can still use this park for the day (12 hours) for only $3.00.

More Information


Canine Corner at Cleveland Park

Location: 126 Woodland Way (Across from the Cleveland Park Animal Hospital and horse stables).

Facilities: Half-acre mulched park. No separate area for small dogs. Water is usually available. 

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Six Wags Dog Park

Location: 3671 North Highway 14 (4-1/2 miles north of Greer)

Facilities: A private 8-acre facility open to the public. Five fenced play areas based on dogs' sizes; includes a nature trail, creek, and agility equipment. Open 8 AM - 8 PM seven days a week. No appointment needed. Daily admission is $5 for the first dog, $2 for the second dog from the same family. Proof of vaccination required.

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Four Paws Kingdom Campground

Location: 335 Lazy Creek Drive, Rutherfordton

Facilities: Private campground catering to dogs. Has numerous fenced off-leash dog parks and other facilities available to campground guests; however, visitors can get day passes to use the facilities ($10 per dog for 3 hours on week days to use all of the dog parks, or $25 per day for up to two dogs to use all dog amenities). Reservations required. Call 828-287-7324 for details.

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Waynesville Pepsi Dog Park

Location: Vance Street, off of Howell Mill Road (Below the Waynesville Recreation Center and soccer fields)

Facilities: Two fenced areas, one for small dogs. Bring water.

More Information

POOCH PATHS: Pisgah National Forest, Brevard, NC

Brevard062308 dogs If splashing in shallow water, hiking shaded mountain trails, and watching the rush of natural waterfalls excites you and your pooch, then the Brevard side of the Pisgah National Forest is the Pooch Path for you. Right at the entrance to the Pisgah National Forest on US 276, up a ways on the left, you'll find the shallow, gently running, cool water of the Davidson River, where doggies love to play (see photo).

All along US 276 are additional opportunities for fun, including the Visitor Center/Ranger Station, where you'll find a nature trail and exercise trail. Stop in to get trail maps. Then there's the Davidson River Campground, with hookups, trails, and fishing streams, the Sycamore Flats picnic area along the river, and the Coontree picnic area. At Coontree, cross a shallow stream and you'll find a secluded area with cliffs where you're likely to find jumpers splashing into the pool of water below.

Continue further up US 276 and you'll reach Looking Glass Falls, right off the highway. You can take a stairway down to the falls and even swim at its base, but be careful -- the rocks are slippery. It's also a short ride to Sliding Rock, a natural formation that acts as a water slide. You and your fur-pal can have fun watching both kids and adults taking the plunge, and you can wade in the water near the bottom of the slide.

You could spend many happy hours splashing and hiking just along this route, without even venturing further in the Pisgah National Forest. And on your way out, be sure to make a stop at Dolly's Ice Cream (on the left as you're leaving the Pisgah National Forest). Get yourself one of their incredible flavors, and treat the pooch to a vanilla soft-serve!

For more information and photos, visit the POOCH PATHS page.

Best Hikes with Dogs in NC

Hiking book cover Recommended Reading! Best Hikes with Dogs North Carolina by Karen Chavez is a great resource, both for its basic information about hiking, as well as its extensive details about trails. You'll find essentials about canine trail etiquette, permits and regulations, a doggy first aid kit, and more. The book is loaded with Western North Carolina trails off the Blue Ridge Parkway and beyond. For each trail, Chavez provides length, hiking time, best time to hike, difficulty, and lots of other details, including elevations and maps. You'll find yourself referring to this book often, so buy it today! Buy now.


Nc-arboretum-092809 022

If you live in or near Asheville, NC, or you're planning a visit there with your dog, consider taking a walk, hike, or bike ride on the grounds of the North Carolina Arboretum. This exceptional facility has 10 miles of well-groomed trails. You can take an easy bike ride or walk along wide roads, or hike past the cooling waters of Bent Creek. Take the shaded Natural Garden Trail and see many kinds of vegetation. The Bent Creek Trail, a combination of open road and shaded creekside trail, passes by the National Azalea Repository -- a real treat in the spring. Try the Carolina Mountain Trail for a little bit of relatively easy mountain hiking. The lower part of the trail enters a very shady sanctuary where your dog will love splashing in the water right alongside the trail. Dogs must be leashed.

Pooch Pick: Enter the Arboretum at the main entrance. Make an immediate left into a parking area. Take the path with the bark mulch (Bent Creek Trail) until it meets up with the wide road. Stay on the road until you reach the three signs about creek restoration, shortly after the Azalea Repository. Right after the signs, go left down the hill to the creek. Doggies love this area. Seems like it was made just for them. They enjoy wading in and lapping up the cold clear water (see photo) -- and the grass is tasty, too!

The entrance to the NC Arboretum is directly off the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile marker 393 (I-26 and Hwy 191). Admission is $6 per vehicle, free on Tuesdays. (Become a member and admission is always free.) There are many additional hiking trails, along with Lake Powhatan, in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest adjacent to the Arboretum. For additional information about the NC Arboretum, visit the POOCH PATHS page.