Grafton is a bedroom/commuter town near Manchester and Concord, the state’s capital. Once a mining town, many remnants of the metal and granite industries remain, along with the subsistence farms that once dominated the area. Ringed by natural resources, the town is a welcome place for outdoors-loving pups and their human companions. The area is also well-prepared for your pet’s medical needs: at least 6 veterinary hospitals are located near Grafton, in Concord, Plymouth and other nearby towns.
Grafton is home to the Grafton Pond Reservation, a 930-acre park surrounding Grafton Pond, a popular destination for boaters (non-motorized) and fishermen. The dog-friendly and family-oriented park is a home for loons, which can be heard at dawn and dusk, and occasionally spotted across the water of the Pond. You may also see moose here on a quiet morning or evening. The trail in the park is less than a mile round-trip, so it offers an easy, relaxed walk that ends at the Pond’s shoreline, with its views of the islands and a furbulous view of Cardigan Mountain. Grab a picnic lunch and your canoe or kayak and paddle with Fido out to one of the flat rocks where you can sit in the sun and enjoy your meal, watching the waterfowl for dessert! Woofderful!
The Grafton area is a quiet gem of a place offering opportunities for fun in the outdoors! You’re sure to find something furbulous for you and Fido to do!
Grafton is home to the Grafton County portion of the Northern Rail-Trail, which has 2 parking areas for access to the trail at the Williams Recreation Field and on Route 4 a short distance away. Surfaced with cinders, this piece of the trail features furtastic views of lakes and streams near Grafton, along with wildlife and birds. A leashed Fido is welcome on the trail, and he will have a ball sniffing and listening for wildlife. Grafton is also where you’ll find Welton Falls State Park, which features a magnificent waterfall, along with a 2.5-mile trail, views of the Fowler River and a pawsome gorge. The falls are especially magnificent in the spring, and your fur-puppy will love splashing and drinking at the lower part where it passes through the gorge. In the summer, the small pools formed by the falling water are great for swimming, too!
The town of Orange is where you’ll find the dog-friendly Cardigan Mountain State Park. This lush park covers over 5,000 acres, and features mountain roads and trails that lead to the summit, where you will have amazing views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. The entrance to the West Ridge Trail has a covered shelter and picnic tables for your before- or after-hike snack or meal. Utilizing log-stairs and wooden bridges, the trail climbs steadily through the forest to the top where there is a fire tower and a grotto cave waiting for you and Fido to explore. Remember to leash your pup for his safety and bring water for both of you. There is a restroom at the base parking lot as well. Pawtastic!
The dog-friendly Gile State Forest is located in Springfield, a town adjacent to Grafton. The forest features a half-mile out-and-back trail to Butterfield Pond, with its population of ducks. Along the way, as you cross wetlands and streams, you may see other residents of the park, such as moose (depending on the time of day), or coyotes, bears or rabbits. Birds are in abundance, especially songbirds like thrushes and warblers. Your fur-pup will have a ball detecting all the wildlife, so be sure to keep him firmly leashed to keep him out of trouble! This short, but sweet walk will be a lovely way to spend an hour or so!
This town near Grafton is home to the Danbury Bog Wildlife Management Area, with almost 250 acres of open marsh and wooded boundaries. This area, controlled with a small dam to keep water levels optimal for waterfowl, is home to ducks, herons, beavers, and other water-loving mammals. You may also see deer or moose, and coyotes. A veritable smorgasbord of sensory delight for your pup! The town also hosts the William H. Thomas State Forest, which features hiking and camping on its 1700-acre site. Most of the park is undeveloped with only rudimentary trails and tracks so be sure to bring a compass and water for your walk with Fido! Arf!
The town of Enfield sits just to the northwest of Grafton, and is host to the Shaker Field Dog Park, a large fenced area for doggos wanting to run, play and socialize with other un-leashed pups. Equipped with separate areas for large and small dogs, plus a training enclosure, the park also features play structures such as tunnels, rocks and tires. The humans can sit on the provided benches while they watch their fur-babies cavort. The park also provides convenient waste bags and receptacles, as well as a portable toilet for the humans. This is a great park for play and exercise for Fido! Pawtastic!