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A town in Franklin Township, Macon County, North Carolina, Franklin is located within the Nantahala National Forest, making the scenery unforgettable. Although the population is rather low, don’t let that dissuade you from bringing your pup to this little slice of paradise! There’s plenty to do in Franklin, and it’s even in relatively close proximity to the hustle and bustle of Asheville.
Although Franklin is mainly known for its gem mining, there are also many dog-friendly activities for you and your best friend to take part in. Just one of these activities is paying a visit to the Big Bear at Little Tennessee River Greenway, a spacious dog park that features two separate areas: one for large dogs and another for smaller breeds. You will need to bring your own fresh drinking water, both for you and Fido, as well as plenty of waste bags. Additionally, no treats or food items are allowed in the dog park itself, so any good behavior will just need to be rewarded with lots of pats on the head. If you’re feeling more like taking the scenic route, keep your dog leashed and explore the four-mile sidewalk running along the river.
Nestled in the midst of Franklin, you’ll find South Franklin, a lovely area that’s smack dab in the Nantahala National Forest. You’d be doggone crazy to miss out on this beautiful area, especially considering the trail winding right down the middle! Rufus Morgan Falls Trail is a low-intensity trail that you and Fido should have no trouble completing in around four minutes, perhaps less if you’re an advanced hiker or have a particularly excitable dog. You’ll need to bring plenty of clean drinking water and some doggy waste bags for your pup, but other than that, just be ready to have fun!
If you’re looking to spend a little more time on a trail, make your way a bit east to South Franklin, where you’ll find the Bartram Trail (Jones Gap to Whiterock Mountain). This trail is relatively easy, but it takes around two and a half hours to complete, and you and Fido will be able to enjoy plenty of scenic mountain views. You’ll need to stay hydrated, so bring plenty of fresh drinking water, as well as some doggy waste bags to clean up any messy mishaps. The only other things you need are your best furry friend and lots of energy!
A ways north, you’ll find yourself comfortably settled in Central Franklin. Motor Company Grill is a no-frills restaurant that serves delicious burgers and even offers a doggie menu. Choose from beef and chicken for your pup, then pick a plate for yourself, and you can both have a tasty meal to recover from your adventures through the mountains. Looking for a different way to relax? You'll also find the Lazy Hiker here, a brewery that offers a welcome reprieve from the loneliness of the mountain trails. With a selection of craft beers, including seasonals and your favorite classics, The Lazy Hiker is the perfect place to stop after a busy day trekking through the hiking trails. Leashed dogs are welcome at the outdoor seating areas of both establishments.
For your final stop, you’ll need to make another short ride, but it’s worth it for a bit of fun, right? Make your way to Central Highlands, and you’ll find just what your pup needs to make your trip complete: a fantastic dog park! Highlands Dog Park is fully fenced, allowing you to let your pup loose for plenty of off-leash fun. There are two separate areas: one for large dogs and another for small, nervous, or elderly pups. There are also plenty of shady spots for both you and Fido to enjoy, and clean drinking water is provided for your pup as well.
If you’re willing to travel a little ways beyond Franklin itself, your dog will go dog wild for Sylva, a short ride away -- your pup loves rides anyway, right? In Sylva, you’ll find yet another hiking trail: the Waterrock Knob Trail. A lot more difficult than the Franklin trails, you and your pup will need to be pretty athletic to finish this 1.2-mile trail. Bring plenty of water to keep hydrated, and be prepared to help your pup along the rocky surfaces if they may need it. You wouldn’t leave your pal behind, would ya?!
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