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The Blue Ridge Mountains provides an amazing backdrop for
travellers looking to experience some of nature’s finest scenery and enjoy many
incredible pet-friendly walking trails. The city of Buena Vista is a great place from which to base yourself for a bit of
exploring in this region.
For your first walk together, check out the dog-friendly Chessie Nature Trail which runs through Buena Vista and northwest up to Lexington. The trail follows the route of the old Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad through beautiful contrasting farmland and forest, and is one of the 1600 nation-wide rail-trails preserved for historical significance and now recreation. Your pup will love walking this trail with you, but keep him on a lead as there are many species of wildlife that call this area home, including cows!
Glen Maury Park in Buena Vista is a 315-acre recreation site worth a wander with your pup. There are wooded trails, playgrounds and picnic areas dotted throughout the park and often special events such as concerts are held here.
If you are looking for a pup-friendly place to stay, Glen Maury Park has a campground where pets are welcome provided they are controlled, leashed and cleaned up after. If camping is not for you, the Budget Inn in Buena Vista allows dogs as well.
There are many more beautiful places around here to check out, so – what are you waiting for?!
Boxerwood Nature Center and Woodland Garden in Lexington is nine miles northwest of Buena Vista, and a lovely place to take your pup for a day out. The 15-acre park is home to a nature centre with beautifully manicured gardens that boast a huge array of plants, wildlife and art to admire as you pass through. There are two short trail walks through Pioneer Forest, plus a fun Children’s Play Trail for the little ones. Other highlights include the Fairy Forest and the Big Chair, perfect spots for a family photo! Leashed dogs are welcome throughout the garden.
Sixteen miles southwest of Buena Vista is
Natural Bridge, where you will find The Natural Bridge State Park with six
miles of trails around the impressive 15-foot tall naturally formed limestone
bridge. The Cedar Creek Trail is one of the best, at two miles long this trail
offers an easy walk with views of a waterfall as a reward. There is a small
admission fee to the park, but on site there are restrooms, a gift shop, a
living history museum and beautiful areas to stop for a packed lunch. Dogs are
permitted here but must remain leashed. Always clean up after your pet when out
and about. If you are looking for a place to eat with your pet by your side,
there are three restaurants at the Natural Bridge Hotel and Conference Centre
that allow your dog to sit by you at one of the outdoor tables; The Red Fox
Tavern, The Colonial Dining Room and the Archway Deli.
For something a little different, why not take your pup to the movies? Head up to Lexington’s Hull’s Drive In and relax in the comfort of your own car while you and Fido kick back and enjoy the latest blockbuster. A concession stand sells all your favourite movie snacks, plus a range of hot food such as hamburgers, corn dogs and toasted sandwiches. Hull’s loves dogs and will even give your buddy a treat at the gate! After your movie, head to nearby Lexington Coffee Roasters for a hot cuppa and delicious sweet treat to round off your day. Your dog is welcome to join you at one of the outside tables.
Lake A. Willis Robertson Recreation Area is 19
miles east of Buena Vista in Lexington and a great place to bring your pup for a walk, spend
a day out fishing in the lake or stop for a picnic in the forest. There are
eight miles of trails, including an easy 1.6-mile walk around the 26-acre lake.
You can also camp here for a few days with your dog if you would like to stay a
little longer. Pets are welcome, but need to stay controlled and leashed.
Whether visiting for the day or camping, come prepared with plenty of food,
water for you both, a bowl for pup, clean up bags and bug spray.
In neighboring Amherst, the extensive Appalachian
Trail winds its way through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and provides a
solid trail experience for you and your dog. Long Mountain Wayside is a great
place to park up and is just 10 miles east of Buena Vista, and from here you
can walk as far as you like either north or south while enjoying the mountain
views and lush forest. Trail maps and extensive planning advice is available
through the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, so it is worth checking out the
information before heading off. Dogs are permitted in this section of the trail
but need to remain leashed and you must bury your dog’s waste or take it with
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