North Haven is a town that is known as a center for education because it hosts Quinnipiac College with its several graduate degree programs. It is also a place where outdoor-loving pups and their humans can find lots to explore and enjoy. Its location less than 10 miles from the Long Island Sound which provides many opportunities for water recreation, but there are parks nearby as well that offer walks and hikes for you and your fur-pup! And remember that if your pooch becomes ill or injured while in the area, there are at least 12 veterinarians in North Haven ready to get her on her feet and wagging again! Woof!
The Quinnipiac River State Park covers 323 acres of Quinnipiac River floodplains along 6 miles of the river, east of the Wilbur Cross Parkway. This is a hiking and walking treasure with remarkable wildlife in residence here, and 4 miles of the Quinnipiac Trail passing through the park. You and Fido may see deer and wild turkey, along with waterfowl and small mammals like otter. Be aware that because most of the park is in the river’s active floodplain, sometimes the trail is muddy. And don’t forget Fido’s leash. Parking is provided at the trailhead on Banton St.
Whatever your reason for being in the North Haven area, you will find lots of pawsome things to do year-round, all dog-friendly!
The Town Center is home to the Wharton Brook State Park, which it shares with the nearby town of Wallingford. The park’s 96-acre expanse includes Allen Brook Pond in its center. Originally one of the state’s “Wayside Parks” designed to be stopping places on the highway, Wharton Brook now features foot paths for walking, plus swimming, picnicking and fishing. Leashed pups are welcome to join their humans for any of these activities in addition to lolling about on the wooded, sandy beach surrounding the pond. Parking is free, and there are several drinking water stations and picnic areas near the lots. This is a peaceful spot to spend an hour or an afternoon. The park opens at 8 am and closes at sunset. Pawrrific!
In this neighborhood, the North Haven Town Green, also known as Pierpont Park, is a popular destination for leisurely walks on the paved paths. Stop for a sit at one of the benches along the way, or hang about in the gazebo out of the sun or inclement weather. Fido is welcome to join you, on leash, as you explore this small park which also features picnic tables and grills for those casual meals away from home. In the summer, the Green hosts concerts, so bring a blanket and your pup for some music under the stars!
This neighborhood of North Haven is home to Peter’s Rock Park, which features a rock peak with lovely scenic views and unusual plant life. Take your fur-baby for a walk on one of the hiking trails maintained within the park, including a steep one that climbs to the peak for a 360° view of Long Island Sound, New Haven and the Metacomet Ridge. On the way you’ll find a fresh-water spring and pass the ruins of an old hunting lodge – what fun to explore! Take a picnic to enjoy at the summit, while you and your pooch watch birds soaring on the thermals above and below you. This neighborhood also hosts the Julius M Hansen Park which offers hiking trails and picnic tables along with benches for momentary rest and nature watching along the way. A pawsome way to spend the afternoon!
This neighborhood in nearby Hamden shares dog-friendly East Rock Park with New Haven. Another feature of the Metacomet Ridge, East Rock is a popular recreation area with impressive cliffs and trails that are open year-round for walking and hiking, or snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The very steep Giant Steps Trail climbs to the summit of East Rock from the active recreational park and Trowbridge Environmental Center at the foot of the mountain. The view from the top, however, may be worth the hard climb as you are able to see Long Island Sound and Long Island from a vantage point like no other. Picnic areas and benches dot the landscape and wildlife abounds! This is a great place to walk your fur-baby and have an adventure!
Hamden’s State St/ Ridge Rd neighborhood is where you’ll find the Quinnipiac River Marsh Wildlife Area. This 900-acre area is a major birdwatching and conservation preserve where tidal marshes provide a habitat for many birds such as blackbirds and bald eagles, along with small animals like muskrat, in spite of its bordering on a large urban and industrial area. Stone bridges, open water and the nearby cliffs of East Rock provide scenic views as you and Fido walk along the paved paths built here by the Audubon Society. If you’re inclined, bring him with you as you fish among the marsh reeds alongside Great and Snowy Egrets. This is truly a bird-lover’s and dog-walker’s pawradisde.