September is Responsible Dog Owner month and what better way to exercise (pun intended) our dog owner responsibility than taking our fun-loving fur baby out for a hike along our favorite Plymouth trails! We shared the TOP 3 benefits of exercise for your dog in our blog, 5 Reasons to say YES to hiring a Dog Walker, if you haven’t already check it out. We know getting our pups out in the fresh air and physically engaged is important, right? Well if you are like me you may know how important that aspect is as a dog owner, but you are not sure WHERE to go. Plymouth is packed full of fabulous trails just waiting for you and your pooch to explore! Whether you have an elderly dog who just needs a short, leisurely stroll or a 2-year-old yellow lab ready to run miles and miles, there is a trail just for them!
Why a trail?
Okay, so you have a routine with your dog that you are completely happy with. You just don’t see the point of going to a trail when your dog is not much of a walker. Venturing to a new place seems time consuming and you can’t squeeze in a trail blazing adventure. Well before we spill the beans on all the AMAZING trails in our town here’s some benefits of hitting a trail with your four-legged friend to win you over…
Benefits of hiking a trail with your dog
Offering your pup a new place with new sights and smells will give them the ultimate mental stimulation boost! Think of it as a natural shot of Happy Juice. After days, weeks and even months on end of barking at the same squirrel in their yard or making the mailman nearly jump out of his boots time and time again THIS mental stimulation is the thrill your pupper is looking for.
Revitalize your pooch
Imagine if you only ever went two places: Your home and a walk around the neighborhood. Well, I guess we can all relate to that now more than ever (Thanks, COVID) but what if that was your entire life? Seeking out new trails to explore with your pup will make them feel revitalized and happier at home!
Improves overall health
That’s right! Exercise is the number one contributor to a dog’s health, from helping their daily digestion to improving behavior at home. A well exercised dog is a well-rounded dog. Exploring a new place (trail) together will build your dog’s confidence when they encounter new people, meet other dogs, and are immersed in a different environment. These experiences will deepen the bond between you and your best friend and enhance your life together.
Get to know your town
We have all heard the statistics of our beautiful Plymouth, right? She’s 100 square miles, aka HUGE! She has 365 ponds, one for every day of the year. Likewise, Plymouth is full of dozens of trails…but do you know where they are or what is special about each one? Exploring the fabulous trails she has to offer is a way to pay tribute and really get to know this wonderful place we call home.
Have we convinced you it’s worth the outing? We thought so! Prepare to fall even more in love with Plymouth. Without further ado, here are 5 of the top dog friendly trails in Plymouth, MA.
5 Plymouth Hiking/Walking Trails
1. Ellisville Harbor State Park
The Ellisville Harbor trail is one of the most dog friendly trails around. The chances of hitting this trail without a dog encounter is slim to none and that’s just the way we like it! The path itself is straightforward so for anyone who tends to get lost, this trail is for you! The out and back design and well-worn paths make it an easy route to follow. Enjoy a water and snack break at the lookout, complete with a picnic table! Depending on the time of year the views of the water and marsh are fantastic! And let’s not forget the sandy bottom leading to the ocean herself at the turn around point. Note the beach itself is not dog friendly from April 1st-Sept. 15th (except service animals), but you can certainly take in the sights and scents before making your way back. There are a few tricky spots along the trail and a pretty steep incline about 3/4 of the way in so hiking shoes are recommended. This nearly one-mile trail is a perfect choice for anyone looking to try out hiking with their pup for the first time or anyone who needs to keep their hike short and straight forward. Please note: a couple of our dog walkers report finding ticks on pets taken on this trail, so be sure you and your pup are protected and do a thorough check for these pests post-walk.
Trail Length: 0.9 miles
Route Type: Out & Back
Parking: Large Dirt lot in from of Ellisville Harbor State Park
Address: 1861 State Rd, Plymouth, MA
Directions:Ellisville Harbor State Park
2. Hedges Pond Loop (at Hedges Pond Recreational Area and Preserve)
Hedges Pond loop is a gorgeous dog friendly spot and the pond itself is one of the cleanest and most swimmable in all of Plymouth. This trail is not paved but is kept in excellent condition. The debris and roots are cleared regularly, and the terrain is not too steep making it very user friendly. If you are making it a family outing there is also a playground area for the kids as well as picnic tables! The summer months do require a Beach Sticker or payment on site to enter the premises. If you want to avoid paying to use the trail the off season is an equally delightful experience. As locals, we often love when fall rolls in and things settle down in all our favorite places. This spot is a must see no matter what season you enjoy it! Don’t forget to pick up and dispose properly of your dog’s poop, this trail tends to have a few #2’s to dodge. Note: Dogs are often off leash on this trail so if that is something that will make you or your dog uncomfortable this probably isn’t the trail for you.
Trail Length: 1.6 miles
Trail Type: Loop
Parking: Public Parking in the entrance lot (paid parking during summer season)
Address: 158 Hedge’s Pond Road, Plymouth, MA
Directions: Hedges Pond Loop
3. Plymouth Town Forest Trail
If you are looking to get in you and your pups 10,000 steps for the day this is the trail for you. On this 3-mile loop you and your dog may just have the whole place to yourselves. Enjoy a well-maintained path with clearly marked signs making it easy to navigate. There are a few ponds along the trail as well that offer beautiful views. Great South Pond is a perfect place to stop for a picnic or quick break in your walk. With the minimal foot traffic this is a great trail choice for dogs who do not engage well with others when out and about on leash. This trail is open year-round for hiking, bird watching, and even a little horseback riding!
Trail Length: 3 miles
Route Type: Loop
Parking: Small dirt lot at Drew Rd. and Long Pond
Address: 127 Long Pond Road (area of) Plymouth, MA
Directions: Plymouth Town Forest Trail
4. Cape Cod Canal
Although not technically in Plymouth, the Cape Cod Canal is the most trafficked trail in the Plymouth Area. The flat asphalt path is excellent for both people and dogs who don’t enjoy exploring rough terrain or being out in the woods. Dogs must be kept on a leash but be prepared for social hour for your pup. The Canal is a popular place for bringing four legged friends so there is no shortage of other dogs to say hello to. Have a small or elderly dog who doesn’t need a ton of exercise, but you are looking to amp up your steps? This trail is perfect for strollers and wagons, so load up the pup in their chariot of choice and get out there to explore the most scenic trail around! That’s correct, THE MOST SCENIC TRAIL AROUND! Enjoy waterfront views that run the full length of the trail making this spot a sight to see no matter which area of the trail you use.
Trail Length: 7 miles (one way); 14 miles (down and back)
Route Type: Out & Back
Parking: Multiple lots running along the length of the canal.
Address: Bourne Scenic Highway, Bourne, MA
Directions: Cape Cod Canal
5. Plymouth Harbor Trail (at Nelson Memorial Park)
The Plymouth Harbor Trail is another fabulously flat and mostly paved path for anyone looking to stay close to sea level. While a popular spot you will see far less occupants both two and four legged on this trail than on the Cape Cod Canal. So, if you are looking for a little more peace and quiet but need the easy to use pathway this is an excellent choice. Portions of this trail also come with impeccable shoreline views. Easy access from Nelson Memorial Park complete with free parking. This is another always dog friendly, must remain on leash, kind of trail.
Trail Length: 2.9 miles
Route Type: Out & Back
Parking: Nelson Memorial Park parking lot
Address: 235 Water St, Plymouth, MA
Directions: Plymouth Harbor Trail at Nelson Park
Every dog owner is different but when it comes to K9 interactions and proper poop disposal those are two things that we should ALL do! When you and your pup are out exploring and enjoying one of these gorgeous trails remember that we all must do our part to keep them that way. Not only should you be bagging your pupper’s poop every time, if there is not a trash barrel in the vicinity you must take it with you. All of the trails described above have designated waste barrels. They may not be right where you are when your pup does his duty but keep your eyes peeled and you are bound to run across one before getting back to your vehicle.
In addition to poop duty it is important to remember that not all dogs are alike. Some do not do well being approached on leash or at all. Be respectful of other owners and their dogs by verbalizing if it is okay for your pup to approach them for a greeting. Respect their answer and remember we are all out there just doing the best we can for our dogs and their health.
Have you been convinced to get out there with your pup and start exploring? Are you feeling reinvigorated to try a new trail in Plymouth? Comment below with your favorite trails, comments or questions about the trails we talked about today, and let us know if you visit one of them. Stay tuned because we will be sharing 5 more fabulous trails in another blog very soon!
Just Around the Corner offers daily Dog Walking , Dog Hiking, and Pet Sitting in Plymouth, MA. To learn more about how Just Around the Corner can help, check out our Services Page. You can also Contact Us for more information. Be sure to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Instagram!
www.alltrails.com Excellent app for finding and using trails all over the country. Read reviews for each trail and download a detailed map of each route.
Plymouth-Trail-Maps Local Trail information from the Town of Plymouth