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.