Harpersville is less than 30 miles from Birmingham, but this community keeps its small-town charm in a peaceful spot among woods and pasture near the Coosa River. If your dog-paddlers are eager for a day on the water, you can canoe or kayak from the Hollywood public boat launch down the road in Childersburg.
Or, stay dry and mountain-top high in the Talladega National Forest. This massive preserve is almost 400,000 acres in size, but the trails of the Talladega Ranger District are less than 30 miles from Harpersville. The Chinnabee Silent Trail has vista views as you trek past waterfalls and up Talladega Mountain on this 6-mile hike. The trail is well-marked thanks to a dog-loving Scout troop, but rugged and infrequently used: be sure you carry water and other supplies you’ll need. Somewhat less daunting is Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, just 27 miles from Harpersville. With a well-marked trail system and emergency assistance on call, the park’s five trails are more suited to novice hikers.
Harpersville has plenty of creature comforts to offer. An animal clinic is right next door to Dr. Becky’s Pet Supply Emporium on Hwy 280 in Harpersville. Other vets are located in Westover and Childersburg, the adjacent towns, and emergency vets and specialists are available in Birmingham. As long as we're barking about Birmingham, that metropolis offers several dog parks, fantastic trails, and more than 120 restaurants that will welcome your fur family on an outdoor patio.
The Birmingham suburb of Leeds, a 23-mile trip from Harpersville, has everything you and your doggos need. You can window shop at the open-air Outlet Shops of Grand River. The highlight of your trip will be dinner and a movie at the Coyote Drive-In Theater and Cantina. This dog-friendly establishment invites you to bring your canine companions and enjoy Hollywood’s finest in the great outdoors. If you like your outdoors film-free, though, there’s a walking trail along the Little Cahaba River in Leeds Memorial Park, along with picnic facilities and friendly neighbors. On-leash dogs are welcome, but please remember the waste bags.
If your pack likes parks, a visit to Alabaster (26 miles southeast of Westover) is definitely in order. You can access the Buck Creek Trail in Buck Creek Park and follow it alongside the creek for a mile to Alabaster Municipal Park, with benches and pet waste stations located along the route. A little bit south is Veterans Park, where you can challenge Spot to some Frisbee on the disc golf course. There’s a place just for him at Veterans Park, though: the Beneful Dream Dog Park, designed by a DIY Network celebrity in 2012 as part of a corporate-funded makeover. This epic dog park has splash pads, a tunnel, and plenty of off-leash play space for your pups to enjoy.
The Birmingham suburb of Mountain Brook is 27 miles west of Harpersville and overflowing with options for your pup. The Irondale Furnace is a local landmark reached via a trailhead on Stone River Road; the dog-friendly trail is a 2.7-mile round trip. The site preserves ruins of the 1860s pig iron factory that produced much of the firepower for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Just a mile west is the dog-friendly Crestline Park with lots of grassy lawn for lying in the sun, if that’s more your pup’s speed. Just over 3 miles south is the Jemison Park Nature Trail, a well-tended three-mile loop integrated with the city sidewalk system — convenient if you want to visit one of Mountain Brook’s 9 dog-friendly restaurants.
Red Mountain Park is in Birmingham, but you’ll forget that as you explore the shaded 15 miles of dog-friendly hiking trails — that is, until you reach one of the two scenic overlooks with a view of the skyline. For off-leash play, head to Remy’s Dog Park, a six-acre expanse inside of Red Mountain Park and currently the largest dog park in Alabama. It even has a special needs area that is separate from the small- and large-dog areas, perfect for your anxious or fragile pups who are not quite ready for a full-on frolic. Though Red Mountain Park is 35 miles from Harpersville, it’s well worth the car ride. (And, really, who doesn’t love car rides?)
Cheaha State Park in Delta, Alabama is 49 miles from Harpersville, but this landmark is worth sniffing out in spite of the distance. The park features the highest point in the entire state! You’ll do most of the mountain-climbing in your car, but don’t miss out on the 6 hiking trails and incomparable views atop Cheaha Moutain. They range from the mild 0.3-mile Bald Rock Trail to the winding 1.4-mile Mountain Laurel Trail to the goofy half-mile LNT Bigfoot Trail, complete with Bigfoot silhouettes for you to spot with Spot. The park is pet-friendly (leashes, please), including the campsite and cabins, so your whole family is welcome to extend their stay.