Nassau, in upstate New York’s Rensselaer County, has the small town feel that many humans and dogs enjoy. Only 12 miles from both Albany and Poughkeepsie, it is an oasis within the urban areas. What the town lacks in malls and fancy restaurants, it more than makes up for in natural features like parks and trails.
One of these is the Mud Pond Preserve in Central Nassau. Mud Pond is a peat bog, surrounded by almost 700 acres of forest. The Preserve also features a trail system with 3 loops. Mud Pond Loop is a 0.75 mile trail, Overlook Trail Loop is 0.3 miles where you and your canine companion can view the pond and multiple species of birds, and the Casey Farm Loop.
Nassau is also one of the towns located on the Rensselaer Plateau, a geological formation covering 105,000 acres with numerous trails, forested lands and lakes. Leashed pets are welcome in most of the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance towns. There is a lot to see and sniff here. Nearby, in Dunham Hollow, is dog-friendly Alps Family Campground. Dogs must be leashed or tied, but they will enjoy sitting by a crackling campfire and sleeping outdoors or in tents with their humans.
Schodack Town Park is in East Schodack, a neighborhood of the Town of Nassau. This woofer-friendly park features trails, open spaces, and a covered pavilion equipped with picnic tables, a large grill, restrooms and some access to electricity. Stroll with your leashed fur-buddy on trails that run alongside streams, over bridges, and through meadows full of wildflowers and wildlife. There are 5 trails under a mile each, along with a 1 ½ mile perimeter trail to explore. The landscape here is dotted with picnic areas, and the Purple Trail affords the hiker and his dog-buddy views of the lower areas of the park. In the southeast corner of the park is a playground for little humans and playing fields for the bigger ones. Dogs are welcome to watch the goings-on in these areas with their human mates, but can’t venture there.
East Nassau boasts 2 dog-friendly areas. The 50 acres of the Robert Ingalls Preserve is forested land, with the Black Brook flowing through a picturesque ravine. Fishing at the Brook is a treat from a bench alongside it, or from the bridge spanning it. The preserve features fishing, hiking, birding, and in winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Woofers welcome! Also in this area is the Kinderhook Creek Preserve, which is 85 acres of timberland surrounding the Kinderhook Creek. This preserve features 5 miles of dog-friendly public trails that follow a stone wall, a steep ridge, or down gentle slopes. People and their pups can engage in hikes and rock exploring, along with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter.
The Village of Nassau is in the southwest corner of the Town of Nassau. A favorite outdoor gathering place for residents and visitors is its Village Commons Park, a small green area with plenty of room for special events like children’s carnivals and concerts. It is also a fine spot for a leashed Fido to spend time outdoors with his humans, on the grass or in the gazebo. Just up the street, close enough for an easy stroll with your canine buddy, is Smile’s Soft Serve Ice Cream with its dog-friendly shaded outdoor picnic area. The list of toppings seems never-ending, but don’t forget to get a bowl of vanilla for your pup!
About 3 miles from the center of Nassau, in the small town of New Lebanon, lies the Hand Hollow Conservation Area which consists of 433 acres of woodlands, wetlands, 2 ponds, meadows, and a lake. This dog-friendly park contains numerous wildlife, including beaver and herons in their home habitats. Dogs must be leashed to protect these sensitive rookeries and dams, as well as the other flora and fauna found there. Three trails offer walking or hiking for almost 3 miles, during which you might see white-tailed deer, bobcat, wild turkey and other birds. In the wetlands and ponds, Fido’s nose may detect traces of otters and great blue herons.
East Greenbush is about 8 miles from the center of Nassau, and hosts the East Greenbush Dog Park, which lies inside the East Greenbush Town Park. It is a small fenced area where your fur-baby can run free. Dogs must have NY State tags designating state residency, along with the usual license and rabies tags. Dogs can also roam anywhere within the 120 acres of the Town Park with their human companions if they are leashed and wearing Usage Permit tags from the state. There is plenty of open lawn with picnic tables, a covered pavilion and restrooms. Also featured are 3 hiking trails that will take you through wooded lanes, by a waterfall, around a pond and over a wooden bridge. You and your pup will love it.