The next time you're planning to get some fresh air, don't leave Fido at home! Dogs make excellent walking companions whether it's your usual stroll around the neighborhood, or an adventure through the woods. Cortland County has a variety of dog-friendly paths available that are for both the experienced hiker or the novice pup who hasn't done much exploring.
Keep reading for a list of pet-friendly walks and hikes in the county, and tips and tricks to get the most out of your next adventure with your best pal. Don't forget to check out the full list of Cortland County hiking trails and public parks. Happy trails!
Please note, though pets are allowed at a majority of parks and local forests in the county, there are usually guidelines on where you can go with your four-legged friend. These rules are in place to ensure the safety of other visitors, wildlife, other visitors and your pet. So please obey the rules, and respect the park and others.
Lime Hollow Nature Center
Lime Hollow's only dog-friendly trail is The Lehigh Valley Trail extension from Gracie Road to Lime Hollow Road. It runs 1.1 miles along the abandoned rail line. There is a convenient parking area and kiosk located on Gracie Road across from Gracie Pond.
3270 Gracie Road, Cortland NY
Virgil Mountain Loop - Kennedy State Forest
This 4.7 mile loop will take you and your dog past the Greek Peak Ski Resort and to the highest point in Cortland County on Virgil Mountain. You can enjoy the scenic views, and your dog will love all the smells and sights along the way!
Morgan Hill State Forest
If you're looking for a relaxing hike through the woods, take a drive to the southeastern part of the county to explore Morgan Hill State Forest. There are 11.2 miles of marked foot trails for you and your pooch to wander. The exquisite scenic beauty, excellent hiking opportunities and easy accessibility make this the perfect place for an outdoor stroll. Don't forget to take a peak at Tinker Falls which is located right next to Morgan Hill State Forest.
Tuller Hill State Forest
Tuller Hill State Forest is a must-see if you're in the area. There are a variety of trails through the forest so you can choose the best for you and your four-legged traveling companion. A majority of the trails are rated as moderate, but there are more difficult climbs for those looking for a challenge. Try the moderately trafficked 3.6 mile Woodchuck Hollow Figure 8 Loop for a decent tour of this state forest.
Dwyer Memorial Park
If you're looking for a walk in the park with beautiful views, Dwyer Memorial Park in Preble is the spot. Located at the north end of Little York Lake, this 55-acre park offers natures trails for recreation and relaxation. On those hot summer days, your pup will enjoy a dip in the creek.
6799 Little York Lake Road, Preble NY
Speaking of parks, you can't go wrong with Cortland's Suggett Park. It has something for everyone, including walking and jogging paths that won't be able to wipe the wag off your dog's tail. If you're not ready to go home, take the 20 minute walk into historic downtown to pick up a coffee and enjoy a leisurely stroll at Courthouse Park.
108 Homer Ave, Cortland NY
What to Bring
For a truly enjoyable hike, you should come prepared with appropriate dog hiking gear. Some suggested items to ring with you include:
- A water supply and portable water bowl
- Dog food and/or snacks
- A collar and a sturdy 6-foot leash
- Poop bags
- First aid kit
- Pet-safe insect repellent
- Check if your dog is allowed to accompany you before you set out on a hike. Every park and local forest has their own regulations when it comes to dogs. Do some research to ensure your four-legged companion will be welcomed, and if they are, obey any guidelines put in place.
- Clean up after your dog. Bag your pet's waste and dispose of it at the first available trash can.
- Keep your dog on a leash. Not only is this important for the safety of your dog, but it's also a courtesy to other hikers. Not only will be prevent your dog from chasing wildlife or other dogs, but not all people you encounter on the trail will be comfortable with dogs.
- Stay hydrated. Pack enough water and snacks to keep your dog (and yourself) hydrated and energized throughout the hike.
- Prep your dog pre-hike. If you're planning to wander into flea and tick territory, pre-treat your dog with heartworm prevention medication as well as insecticides to prevent flea and tick infestations. When you return home from the trails, examine your dog thoroughly.
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