Poolesville is a town in Montgomery County, Maryland, that is considered a bedroom community because of its relative proximity to Washington, DC and the Dulles International Airport. It lies within the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve, 93,000 acres of land preserving the area’s farmland and wineries, natural spaces and a rural way of life. There are many opportunities for outdoor fun in the Reserve for dog-loving humans and their pups, including hiking, walking, cycling, canoeing and fishing. The Reserve serves as a habitat for many species of animals and flora, and your fur-buddy will love exploring it with you on the 7 miles of trails, which include pedestrian bridges and raised boardwalks over wetlands. Woof-derful!
In the Poolesville region of the Agricultural Reserve, one of the most popular attractions is the C&O Canal National Historic Park, which runs along the Potomac River from Washington, DC to Cumberland, Maryland. This park features canoeing, kayaking, hiking, bird-watching, fishing, climbing and many other activities that are even more fun when shared with your best fur-bud. There are also dog-friendly hiker-biker campsites where Fido is welcome to join you for some camping fun. Each site offers 3-season drinking water, picnic area, firepit and latrine. Drive-in RV and tent campsites are also available on a reserve-ahead basis.
Should your furry pal become sick or injured, there are at least 5 veterinarians and animal hospitals in Poolesville alone, with more in the surrounding areas. They’ll get your fur-baby feeling better and wagging again!
This neighborhood of Poolesville is home to Dr. Dilingham Park, a dog-friendly town park near Poolesville High School that features a playground, skatepark and lots of green space for kids and pups to frolic. Dogs must be on leash throughout Dillingham Park, except while inside the dog park, which is sure to be your pup's favorite part! The 1/3-acre dog park is completely fenced and divided into 2 sections for large and small dogs, each with its own double safety gate entry. The sections share a covered pavilion, but have their own waste stations and benches for the convenience of dog-owners. This neighborhood is also home to EE Halmos Park, a 15-acre recreation area with athletic fields and facilities, a playground and picnic areas. It also features a jogging trail and plenty of lawn for you to play with your furry bestie, on leash. Restrooms and a concession stand provide drinking water for both you and Fido.
Located in Poolesville Center, the LM Stevens Recreation Park consists of 11.5 dog-friendly acres. Equipped with standard athletic fields, it also contains a fishing pond, a trail system, picnic areas and expanses of grassy lawn, all of which will make Fido very happy. A pavilion and many trees around the perimeter of the park provide shelter from the sun or inclement weather, and drinking water is available at the concession stand or restrooms. Bring a picnic lunch and watch a few innings of softball, take a walk or a snooze. Toss a line into one of the ponds while you and your fur-pup laze away the day waiting for a bite. This park has something for everyone. Paw-tastic!
Dog-friendly Dry Seneca Creek Valley State Park is adjacent to and accessed by the Southeast Poolesville neighborhood, and features a 14-mile trail through woodlands and flowering meadows. The trail is considered moderate, so break in those new hiking boots before trying this one and be sure to carry plenty of water. Wildlife sightings are typical of a walk along this trail, so it’s wise to keep a good grip on Fido’s leash. Another dog-friendly park accessed by this neighborhood is the McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area. This 23,000-acre piece of land consists of forests, wooded bottomland, wetlands and fields. Bordered on the south by the C&O Canal Park, it features many outdoor activities such as hiking, bicycling, wildlife viewing, birding and hunting. Specific areas of the park are set aside for dog training, and the network of 11 trails make this a perfect spot for a day of hiking with Fido by your side.
A few miles north of Poolesville in Dickerson is Sugarloaf Mountain. With a vertical rise of 800 ft, this is a relatively small mountain. The summit features rugged cliffs for rock-climbing and a fantastic vista, while a network of 4 trails provide scenic views and easy to moderate hiking. The Yellow Trail, which circles the base of the mountain and is also known as the Saddleback Horse Trail, is open to bicycles and horses from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Dogs are permitted on the mountain on leash. While on your hike, you may encounter white tailed deer, wild turkeys, flying squirrels and hawks. Be aware that the mountain is a natural habitat of the timber rattlesnake and copperhead snake. Again, a firm hand on your fur-pup’s leash would be a good idea.
Brightwell Crossing is home to the dog-friendly Elgin Park, a 6-acre multi-use area featuring a playground for the human kiddies, athletic facilities for the older humans, and a pavilion with picnic tables. Restrooms and drinking water are also available. The park connects with 50 acres of woodland surrounding Dry Seneca Creek, perfect for walking and biking, and viewing the wildlife there. Marked trails crisscross the wooded areas, and a large expanse of lawn surrounds the pavilion and contains what is called the Village Green area of the park. Romp or relax with your fur-pup on the grass, share a picnic lunch with her at the Pavilion, and a stroll through the woods. Paw-rrific!