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Crystal Falls, MI is home to what might well be the most famous fungus in the world. The growth is so large that the scientists who discovered it had to assure their colleagues that their findings were not an April Fool’s joke -- the growth, Amarilla gallica, extends for thirty whole acres through the soil of a forest near the town. The Humungous Fungus, as it is known, even has its own festival -- you and your pooch are welcome to watch the Tube Float down the river, or join in the fun at the Fungus Fest Parade!
A marvelous mycelium isn’t all Crystal Falls has to offer, though. The town sits on the banks of the picturesque Paint River, and between the charming historic downtown, friendly small-town vibe, and proximity to outdoor recreation, it’s impossible to spend much time here without letting Crystal Falls grow on you!
There’s no designated dog park in Crystal Falls, but that doesn’t mean that you and your buddy have to be "spored"! You’ll find a couple of pawesome community parks here that are ideal for leashed walks, and given the spectacular natural surroundings, it should come as no surprise that the town is close by some fantastically fur-friendly hiking options. You might need to drive a little to get the best for your buddy, but you’ll find plenty of off-leash adventure opportunities fur-ther afield!
Looking for a place to picnic with your pooch? Why not check out Runkle Lake Park? Situated on the edge of the city in Western Location, Runkle Lake Park might not have the longest walking trail, but it’s a lovely spot for a leashed stroll nonetheless. Your pooch is allowed on the beach, too, but unfortunately, they won’t be allowed in the water. You two can still gaze out over the lake, though, and join the families picnicking on the sand. Since Crystal Falls is widely held to be home to the best smoked bratwurst in the state, consider picking up a sandwich for take-out from the furrific Curious Pig on the way.
At 315 acres, Bewabic State Park might not be the largest in the area, but since it sits right on the eastern edge of Crystal Falls, you two would be barking mad not to go! The park is part wilderness and part well-maintained green space -- a two-mile nature trail brings you through wooded wonderland to the wide and serene Fortune Lake, but at the other end of the park, you’ll find manicured lawns, fire pits, and even a tennis court. Non-furry family members might also appreciate the playground. Don’t forget to bring waste bags and water!
Crystal Fall’s Paint River Boardwalk is a pawfect place for you and your pooch to stretch all six of your legs! Beginning at the town’s Lincoln Park, the boardwalk runs along the river, past wildflowers on one side and water lilies on the other, and there are two separate fishing piers along the route. The riverwalk has also become something of a focal point for the town’s social and cultural events -- on any given day, you might pass a local band giving a free concert, or newlyweds taking advantage of the scenery for wedding photographs. Careful, though -- there’s no barrier between the boardwalk and the river, so keep away from the edge!
If you and your doggo are looking for a longer walk, why not head up to Iron River and hike a stretch of the State Line Trail? At 107 miles, this converted railway line is Michigan’s longest hiking trail, but that’s not its only distinction -- due to the rusted iron ore in the area, the trail surface is a striking, dusky red color, and the river views along the way are breathtaking. While you’re in Iron River, consider stopping in at Scott’s Subs and Pizza! This pawesome pizza place does a mean thin crust, and they cater to canines outside.
You’ll need to cross the state line into Wisconsin to get to somewhere your buddy can lose the leash, but make no bones about it, a trip to Florence Bark Park is sure to leave them one happy hound! Located right next to the Florence Visitor’s Center on Forestry Drive, there’s enough room in this one-acre park for even the most rambunctious of furballs to blow off a little steam. Bags and water are provided, so just bring your pup and prepare to play! You’ll also find a one-mile trail through the woods right outside the dog run, as well as a swingset for two-legged members of the family.
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