We'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.