Montpelier is a small city in central Vermont that is the state capital. The small population swells daily with the influx of suburban government workers, but it manages to maintain its small city quality. Once a primarily manufacturing and iron foundry city, its major industries now are government and insurance. The great news for dogs and their humans is that it’s also a dog-friendly city and is surrounded by natural resources.Should your pup require medical attention while here, there are 3 animal hospitals in Montpelier.
Montpelier is home to Hubbard Park, whose 194 acres of land feature about 7 miles of hiking and skiing trails along with picnic areas, a sledding hill, and 7 stone fireplaces for campers and hikers to cook on. In addition, the 54-foot Hubbard Tower is an observation tower with pawrrific views of Montpelier and the surrounding areas. The trails in this park loop and intersect, with one trail ending at the State Capitol Building. A winter trail is groomed for cross-country skiing with your furry bestie, who can remain off-leash if he is under your voice control. With 3 parking areas and 4 restrooms, this park is an ideal spot to spend a couple hours or all day with Fido by your side!
Whatever your reason for being in the Montpelier area, you’re sure to find plenty of activities and adventures to suit you and your furry bestie! Arf!
This Montpelier neighborhood is where you’ll find the North Branch Nature Center, a 28-acre reserve along the Winooski River, and a short walk across a bridge to the North Branch Nature Park with its numerous trails. The Nature Center has its own trail system, which ambles through the grounds of trees and meadow, along the river, and even connects with the East Montpelier Trail network. The options are boundless, and speaking of bounding, your energetic fur-pup must remain leashed in this park. Several times a week, the center organizes and conducts adult bird watching treks, so get out there and don’t forget your binoculars and camera! Woof!
Should hunger strike you and your fur-baby, you’ll find 2 pup-friendly restaurants that will suit, both with outdoor seating to accommodate him and you! The Skinny Pancake on Main Street has a large patio with umbrellas for shade, and features French-Canadian inspired fare, including main dish and dessert crepes, fried cheese curds and poutine. Bone appetit! A bit down Main Street, you’ll find Bagitos Café, which features bagels and burritos, plus bowls of water for the fur-pup! The menu also offers sandwiches, salads and soups, so there’s sure to be something that will please you both! Furlicious!
The North Branch River Park features 193 acres that extend along almost 3 quarters of a mile of river, wetlands and streams. Beavers have transformed some of the wetlands into a series of ponds. The main hiking trail in the park loops and intersects many times, leading at one point to an area in a bend in the river that's perfect for viewing the furbulous water fowl and wildlife found here. Totaling 5 miles, the trails pass through a variety of terrain, including along some sharp ridges. Your fur-pup is welcome here on leash, but be sure to bring along waste bags. There are no receptacles within the park itself, so plan to carry everything out.
Montpelier’s next-door neighbor, East Montpelier, is home to the East Montpelier Trails, a grassroots effort to establish and maintain a network of trails in this town. Currently, there are 6 pup-friendly trails that vary in length from 1 to 3.5 miles with variable terrain. The longest, Sparrow Farm-Montpelier Trail, is flat at the upper end near Sparrow Farm, and contains a boardwalk across wetlands, with a steep section lower down as it meanders through a hemlock forest. The Town Forest-County Road-Peck Farm Trail winds along rolling fields with woodlands, a beaver pond, farm lanes and a memorial bench for resting and taking in the lovely view. The shortest trail at 1 mile has a .5-mile loop branching off, and it leads to spectacular views of the White Mountains. All trails feature opportunities for birding and wildlife sightings (woof!) and are friendly to leashed doggos. Furtastic!
Groton lies to the east of Montpelier, and is where you’ll find the Groton State Forest, which in turn contains several state parks, each of which has its own rules regarding pets. One of the doggo-friendly parks is Molly’s Falls Pond State Park, located on the reservoir after which it’s named. This park consists of over 1,000 acres and features pawsome swimming, boating and camping along the shores. Dogs are happily allowed off-leash except at the boat launch. There are 10 campsites near the lake, all of them undeveloped and without water or electricity, along with 4 remote picnic sites, but if you just want to make an hour or a day of it, you and Fido are welcome to throw down a blanket on the beach and share a casual lunch by the pond. Bone appetit!