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Warwick is a small, somewhat isolated, rural town in north central Massachusetts. It is a town of small, home-based businesses, logging and dairy farms, and lies within a cluster of state forests and wildlife management areas, most prominent of which is the Mount Grace State Forest.
Mount Grace occupies the center of Warwick, with the dog-friendly forested park spreading around it like a skirt. It contains a network of multi-use trails, one of which traverses the mountain’s summit. In warmer weather, hiking and mountain biking are popular; in winter, try snowmobiling or cross-country skiing. Hunting is permitted in the park during open season, so be sure to check before you enter the park, and have blaze orange gear for yourself and your fur-pup. The trails are well-marked and no off-trail exploring is allowed. The park features a picnic area with a shelter for those mid-hike snacks and lunches.
The Mount Grace State Forest Trail is a 3-mile loop and your fur-guy is welcome to accompany you on his leash. It rises 950 feet over its course, so this trail is for the moderately experienced, in-shape hiker and his pup. The views along the way are spectacular, and there is enough wildlife for Fido’s senses to get a workout, along with his legs and heart.
Warwick has so much nature to offer the dog-lover and his furry bestie, so if you are planning to be in the neighborhood, be sure to include a visit! If you already live here, be glad!
Warwick is home to the dog-friendly Warwick State Forest, which contains 7,000 acres and 25 miles of dirt trails. The Metacomet-Monadnock Trail (white blaze) crosses both the Warwick and the Mount Grace Forests. Also enclosed in the Warwick Park is Sheomet Pond that boasts a canoe launch, Richards Mill Pond, and Stevens Swamp. All 3 are boggy wetlands full of amphibians and water-loving mammals for Fido to see and smell. This is also where you'll find the Wagon Wheel Campground, a dog-friendly, full-service campground for both RVs/campers and those who like to sleep in a tent. With planned activities, electricity and all the other amenities expected in a professionally run campground, this is a perfect place for the family and the family pup. It also features hiking trails directly to the state forests, launches for canoes and kayaks and more! It's woofderful!
Just south of Warwick is the town of Orange, host to the North Quabbin Dog Park. This is a huge dog park, about the size of a football field, and divided into 3 sections: large dogs, small/timid dogs, and an agility section for those humans and dogs who want a little structure and discipline in their play, or just want to be away from the crowd. The agility section has a slalom-type running course, jumping bars, obstacles, steps for climbing, and tunnels. The surface throughout the park is sand, and there are separate double safety gates for each section. There’s even a little fenced yard for kiddos so they don’t feel left out when told they can’t go in the doggy yard with their furry pals. Shade umbrellas and picnic tables are provided in the park, but there are no restrooms or water, so plan accordingly. Woof!
This neighborhood in the town of Orange is where you’ll find access to the Orange Wildlife Management Area, which offers many dog-friendly outdoor activities for you and your personal fur-buddy to enjoy. Features include a beaver pond, woodlands, fields, wetlands, and streams. This is a family-friendly area, but be sure to stay aware of the various timing of hunting seasons before you enter, and dress everyone (including Fido) in blaze orange for safety. Of course, he needs to be leashed at all times within the park. This neighborhood is also home to Herrick’s Tavern, where you’ll find eats and beverages to satisfy your post-play hunger and thirst with Fido at your side at one of the outdoor tables. Pub fare such as burgers, steak tips, and nachos means you’ll find something to love, and share. Arf!
Northfield is a town just to the west of Warwick, and is where the Northfield State Forest can be found. Located between and to the west of Mount Grace and Warwick State Parks, it provides a link between the two through its trail system and woodlands. The pup-friendly Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center features trails covering 32 looped miles, plus opportunities for paddling and rowing, and in the winter, snowshoeing and skiing. Pups must be kept on leash and are welcome to join you on walks to view the flowers and birds. At the summit of the mountain, a short side trail leads to the massive reservoir that provides hydroelectric power to most of the region, and is open for fishing and hiking around the area. The view from the top is spectacular, and the reservoir provides a peaceful spot to relax and admire with your furry bestie.
If you and your doggo are staying in the area, the Erving State Forest Campground is a perfect spot to relax in the fresh mountain air while taking time to hike the Mohawk Trail, swim, boat or hike other trails on offer. The beautiful and pristine Laurel Lake provides the water play. With 27 campsites, both RV and tent, the campground welcomes dogs who are leashed when outside the human’s vehicle or tent. All campsites feature a picnic table, grill and fire ring, and there are group restrooms and showers available. Most of the RV sites offer electricity, too. A pawsome place for sure!
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