Chappaqua is a hamlet within the town of New Castle that is primarily a bedroom community about 30 miles north of New York City. In the past, this small town was a farming community that also used the water power of the Saw Mill River and Roaring Brook to power corn-grinding and oil-making mills. When the railroad came to town, residents began making the commute to Manhattan to work. Luckily for the outdoors-loving humans and their doggos, Chappaqua features several natural resources and is surrounded by other communities that do as well.
One such attraction is the North County Trail, a 22-mile paved rail-trail with trailheads in Somers and Mount Pleasant. Accessible for hiking, in-line skating and cycling, the trail is wheelchair-accessible as well. Your fur-pup is welcome to walk it with you on leash and enjoy the woods and meadows you’ll find, along with their resident critters and birds. As the trail moves southward, it connects with the South County Trail which travels to the boundary of the Bronx.Should your fur-pup need medical attention while you’re in the area, there is one veterinary hospital in Chappaqua, and several others in nearby Mt. Kisco and Mount Pleasant, and an emergency animal clinic in Pleasantville as well. They are ready to get your furry bestie well and wagging again!
The Town Center neighborhood of Chappaqua is home to dog-friendly Whippoorwill Park, a 167-acre piece of land that is dotted with rocky outcroppings, mold-covered boulders and old felled trees, but whose trails are well-worn and maintained. The park is wooded, with the trail opening out into clearings from time to time, but mostly coursing through the thick trees. The terrain is somewhat flat with the occasional steep hill that makes the walk interesting, but not over-tiring for you and your 4-legged friend. The trail is marked with informational signs that point out and explain some of the features you’ll come upon, such as a beaver dam, and maybe even a beaver! Arf! The Town Center is also host to 3 restaurants clustered together on King St, all pup-friendly with outside tables. Le Jardin du Roi is, as the name implies, a French bistro that serves breakfast., lunch and dinner with menu items like escargot alongside house-made BBQ! Waka Asian Bistro has casual Asian cuisine covered, and the Bagel Emporium serves bagels and every possible thing that can be made with bagels. With this selection, be sure to drop by one or all three with your best furry buddy!
The Millwood/Glendale neighborhood hosts the Gedney Park Off Leash Dog Area, where fur-pups can romp and cavort without being tethered to their humans during the morning, but on leash other times. There are trails that loop around, interconnecting with each other, but before 10 a.m., dogs that wander can go virtually anywhere they like. Most of the individual trails are short, but it’s easy to connect your walk to several and manage a few miles. Crisscrossing the property are streams that are perfect for Fido to cool off and get a refreshing drink, and a large lake for actual wading and swimming - how pawsome! Gentle hills and varying terrain make this the perfect place fore a bit of exercise in the fresh air!
The Stanwood neighborhood of Chappaqua is where you’ll find the dog-friendly Choate and Pinecliff Audubon Sanctuaries. Choate is 32 acres of forest surrounded by a residential area, with trails that take you past rocky outcroppings and up or around rolling hills. Fido is welcome to join you for a hike on leash around and over old stone walls, and in 4 separate loops that are joined together to total about a mile. The Pinecliff Sanctuary features a wheelchair accessible boardwalk over a swamp inside its 7-acre plot of land. Here, if you’re lucky, you’ll see green herons that come here to hunt frogs and tadpoles, along with many other species of birds that call the sanctuary home or use it as a haven during their migratory travels. In the spring, the peepers make their presence known and you may see snakes as well.
Briarcliff Manor’s Scarborough neighborhood contains the dog-friendly Hardscrabble Wilderness Area Trail, a 3.5-mile path through wooded areas full of wildflowers and accessible year-round. Fido will love the marked loop trail with its small hills and stone walls, while sniffing, listening and watching for birds and small mammals along the way. Besides hiking, he can join you for mountain biking and, in the winter, snowshoeing. Fallen trees and streams provide some interesting features to explore, and the streams provide some splashing and drinking water for those warm summer days. Grab Fido and his leash and heads on over to Hardscrabble for a pawrrific walk!
This neighborhood in Pleasantville, adjacent to Chappaqua, is home to the Graham Hills Park Trail, a 3.6-mile dog-friendly hike through woodlands. Fido must be leashed but that won’t diminish his enjoyment of the sights, smells and sounds he’ll find here. You’ll likely encounter mountain bikers along this trail, along with small mammals and many varieties of birds. The park that hosts the trail conveniently provides waste bags for picking up after your dog, as well as receptacles to put them in. There are streams for swimming, splashing and drinking, and if you’re hungry and thirsty after your walk, check in to Risotto Jack’s Italian Restaurant for some delicioso food and beverages. You can let Fido join you at one of their outside tables and share your meal with him! Mangia!