Located between fellow shoreline towns Branford and Madison, Guilford is a combination of historical charm and commercial development. In addition to historic sites, Guilford is home to a myriad of hiking trails and natural areas, most of which welcome leashed dogs. Serving the town's furry residents and visitors are three veterinary hospitals.
The East River Preserve is a woofderful place to go hiking and enjoy nature with your four-legged best friend. It contains over seven miles of moderate trails that travel along the East River, through glacial erratics, and over streams. Because it houses critical ecosystems, you and Fido will likely come across wildlife as you explore the preserve.
Outdoorsy dogs will also love Timberlands, a 588.5-acre natural area that is open for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and equestrian use. Since it doesn't get a lot of traffic, this hidden treasure is ideal for getting away from it all. Still, the trails are well-marked and will take you and Fido among mountain laurels, pine groves, and to a stream where he can get his paws wet.
You can bring your pooch with you pretty much anywhere as long as he is on a seven-foot leash, so come experience the rustic individuality of Guilford!
Situated along the mouth of the West River, Chittenden Park is a great spot for Fido to get some exercise. With a boardwalk and lots of open space, there's ample room for your best friend to walk and sniff around at this 14-acre park. If that's not enough, Chittenden Park serves as the southern gateway to the New England National Scenic Trail (NET), a 215-mile hiking trail that travels through 41 communities in Connecticut and Massachusetts. You can also take Fido to check out the saltwater marsh and large boulders at Chaffinch Island Park, which is a short drive away from Chittenden Park.
Fido will surely go nuts with joy at Nut Plains Park, which houses the off-leash Guilford Dog Park. The 1.5-acre dog park is divided into two areas—one for small, shy, or older pooches and another for medium and large canines. Tennis balls, benches, and water are provided, but you need to bring your own dish. Regulars say there's always a good amount of puppers to play with at the Guilford Dog Park, but in case it's empty when you show up, you and Fido can always hit the trails in Nut Plains Park. Make sure your best pal has a valid license and rabies tag before you head down to the dog park.
Located between Long Island Sound and the East River, Grass Island is not really an island, but a beach. Still, it is a tranquil getaway that provides beautiful views of the Guilford shoreline. From Grass Island, you and Fido will be able to see the Guilford Marina, Faulkner's Island, and the town's most iconic landmark, the red shack. Originally a summer cottage built in 1914, the Grass Island shack is often featured in paintings and photographs. Don't forget to take pictures of your pup with this well-known cabin and the furrific shoreline. Parking is available at the East River State Boat Launch.
As the largest recreational area for hiking in Guilford, Westwoods offers plenty of sights and smells for Fido to see and sniff. Located near the center of town, this heavily wooded area comprises 39 miles of trails on a whopping 1,200 acres, so definitely bring a GPS! Maps may also be obtained at the Guilford Town Hall and Community Center. Westwoods' extensive hiking trails will lead you and Fido to an inland tidal lake, rock sculptures, waterfalls, salt and freshwater marshes, cave structures, and other pawsome natural formations. Always remember to stay on marked trails, keep your dog leashed, and pick up after him.