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The town of Orleans, Indiana is a quiet community that has been around since the early 1800s. It was once an outpost where travelers could stop and rest. Today, it proudly boasts that it's the "Dogwood Capital of Indiana," a title the town certainly earned. Back in the 1960s, Orleans launched "Operation Dogwood," and citizens planted hundreds of dogwood trees throughout the town.
Considering that it's the Dogwood Capital of Indiana, surprisingly, there's not much for dogs to do in Orleans, but don't fret just yet! The town's proximity to one of the state's largest national forests means you and your furry friend are just a bone's throw away from outdoor adventure! No need to worry about vet care -- there's a veterinary clinic right in town to keep your pooch tip-top.
Orleans does have some furrific green spaces to explore with your pup! First is the Black Vulture bird viewing area. This area is established just so the public can view the nesting area of the Black Vulture. There are other birds that frequent here but none are as big or intimidating as the black vulture. There is a strict policy enforcement here so remember to stay in the marked areas and keep your dog on a leash.
If you drive just five miles to Mitchell, you'll find Mitchell City Park. You will have to park at the Burris Elementary School to access the park. Amenities of the park include a basketball goal, a playground, and a quarter-mile walking trail. The walking trail loops around the back of the school. There are no restrooms but there are water fountains. This park is separated from the schoolyard by a fence. The park is open all year long, but the school will ask you to leave if your pet is disrupting or interacting with the kids as they play. This is an on-leash park.
Spring Mill State Park is just the place to go if you want a getaway spot that is still close to home. Of course, you can ruff it and do some tent camping, but if you prefer glamping, there are dog-friendly rooms at several inns within the state park. There are hiking trails that are marked according to difficulty levels and fishing opportunities. You'll even find a couple of caves to explore! Dogs are allowed everywhere except in the restrooms or on the tour boats. You may want to bring water because there are only two fountains. As the home of the original 19th-century mills, there are some furrific learning opportunities at this state park.
Right in the heart of the small town of Paoli, just under ten miles away, you will find the Paoli Community Park. There is a maze of paths that crisscross through the multiple ball fields, playground, and walking areas. This park is a local favorite with families, including those with furry family members! The concession stands are open all weekend. You can grab a hot dog or some nachos while you watch the kids play. Dogs are not allowed in the picnic area, but they can watch the games. You must keep your dog on a leash. There are doggie waste bags at the entrance, but they often run out, so bring your own.
If you are looking for a trail that the whole family can enjoy, then you should check out Pioneer Mother's Memorial Forest. This is a short-ish trail at only a mile and a half. If you would like something a little bit more secluded, the Maria Radcliff Rest Park is barktastic. It features a quiet sitting area at the end of a moderate trail. It has no amenities, so don't forget the water. There is a small creek next to the picnic area where your pup can splash; just be aware that it is prone to mosquitos, so bring some bug spray.
Cave County Canoe Tours is a barktastic adventure waiting for you in Milltown. It is about twenty miles from Paoli. You will start off at the command post on West Main. From there, you will take a shuttle to the river. Your pet is not allowed in the command post, but they're allowed on the shuttles. When you get to the water's edge, you and your pup will be assigned a canoe. As soon as you get on board, you are welcome to take off Sparky's leash. As you float down the river, your guide will point out the flora and fauna that you pass.
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