Charlottesville is one of America’s most dog-friendly cities, and it’s easy to see why – there are great trails and dog parks everywhere you look! If you and your pup are looking for new territory for the daily walk, there are myriad choices to please everyone from the stylish dachshund to the outward bound hound. Here are a few of our favorite places to enjoy our lovely city with your pup.
One of the most pup-ular places to take your dog for a long or short walk is the Rivanna Trail, beginning in Riverview Park. This beautiful trail allows you to enjoy the beauty of the Rivanna River as it winds through Charlottesville, and dogs can enjoy designated parts of the trail off-leash on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Keep in mind that if you are going to walk your dog off-leash, he should be under control at all times and should not be allowed to approach other dogs without owner permission.
Another favorite river trail can be found at Pen Park, where you can take your dog for a short walk on the paved fitness trail, or go for a longer hike next to the river on the nature walk. The trail also keeps you close to Charlottesville’s Historic Downtown Mall, where pet friendly outdoor seating will allow you to enjoy a smoothie and a sandwich with your dog after the walk.
Also near downtown is Greenbrier Park, a beautiful stretch of undeveloped land in the Greenbrier neighborhood with trails that follow Meadow Creek. You can follow a shared part of the Rivanna Trail that runs through the park to visit nearby McIntire Park and enjoy the delightful connectivity of Charlottesville trails.
If you and your dog enjoy a little free time off lead, Azalea Park provides scenic trails and paved pathways and a 1 acre dog park. Closer to Downtown, you can visit Darden Towe Park, where you can take your dog for a long hike on nearly 4 miles of trails and end your walk with a leisurely visit to the 1 acre dog park. Chris Greene Park offers an extensive circuit of trails as well, in addition to giving your swimmer a chance to get his feet wet at the lakeside dog park.
Pups who enjoy longer hikes and runs will want to visit Preddy Creek Park in Northern Albemarle. Ten miles of trails wind through the forest and along Preddy Creek, creating the perfect setting for you to enjoy a long run with your Dalmation, or a short loop with your Poodle. Splash in the creek or hike into the deep woods, or simply enjoy the Meadows trail on a sunny winter day.
For a bigger adventure, take advantage of our proximity to Virginia’s stunning Shenandoah Park. Take your pup for a hike on part of the Appalachian Trail, or enjoy the scenic beauty of the park on your way to an amazing mountain view or waterfall. Check trails before you hike to make sure dogs are allowed, and remember to keep an eye out for wildlife for your and your pet’s safety.
There are so many places in Charlottesville to enjoy a walk with your pup! Don’t be afraid to mention these trails to your dog walker, too, to keep your pup interested in the midday walk!