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Wallingford is a town in the Otter Creek Valley that lies between the Taconic and Green Mountain Ranges, close to Rutland. It is the epitome of small-town living with a New England village feel. Surrounded as it is by mountains and other natural resources, there is a lot to do for outdoors-loving folks and their pups. And if your fur-baby becomes ill or injured, rest assured that help is nearby, with one veterinarian in the neighboring town of Mount Holly, and at least four more in Rutland.
The Elfin Lake Recreation Area consists of 2 separate, but connected areas: the recreation area off Meadow Street that features ballfields, a playground and other fun things for humans; and Stone Meadow Park on the opposite side of Otter Creek, with a connecting pedestrian bridge, which features walking trails and nature areas. The bridge is part of the Stone Meadow Beach Trail that connects the beach on the lake to the athletic fields, and you’ll find parking and an information kiosk at both ends. The trails take you through the woods around the lake, around the edge of a bog, and around and across a large meadow, where there is a natural birding area and lots of small mammals for Fido to track with his senses. A canoe and kayak launch at the lake makes a pawsome paddle on the lake with your furry friend easy. A picnic area near the beach is a pawrfect spot for a lunch or snack!
Whether you are a resident of the Wallingford area or just visiting, you’ll find lots to do here with your fur-baby!
Wallingford is home to part of the White Rocks National Recreation Area, with an entrance off of Route 140. This 36,000-acre park features pup-friendly trails and picnic areas, along with trailside camping. The White Rock Picnic Area trail travels from the entrance parking lot for about a mile and has a moderate climb in spots. Perfect for families with kids and dogs, this short walk passes some rock cairns and upward to a cliff overlooking Bully Brook and its cascading waterfall. At the bottom of the rise is a boulder field where the ice gets trapped in the winter and is often still present in the warm months, making a very efficient natural air conditioner, pawrfect for cooling off before the trek back to the car. Woofderful! After your hike, satisfy your need for a meal or snack at Sal’s South, where you’ll find a dog-friendly patio and classic Italian fare and pizza Mangia!
Mount Holly is a town adjacent to Wallingford, and it’s where you’ll find a portion of the 7,500-acre pup-friendly Okemo State Forest, which it shares with three other towns. The area can be accessed via Buttermilk Falls Road or Station Road, both off State Road 103, with parking at both entrances. The Healdville Trail begins at the Station Road entrance and climbs to the summit of Okemo Mountain where there is a refurbished observation tower with pawsome views! Along the way, you and your pup will discover a refreshing cold mountain stream and two scenic overlooks. The Okemo Mountain Road is a paved road accessible by foot, car, and bicycle and is an alternate route to the summit. In winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular, and the summit becomes a downhill ski resort! Furtastic!
This neighborhood in the city of Rutland is home to Pine Hill Park, where you and your fur-baby can hike on 16.5 miles of interlocking trails of easy, moderate or expert difficulty and varying lengths. The trailhead and parking are off the Oak Street Extension near East Creek, and from there, the options are seemingly endless. The 300 acres of this park consists of marked single dirt trails and carriage trails for hiking and biking through forest and around Rocky and Muddy Ponds. As in any woodland, this one is teeming with wildlife to keep Fido on his toes, and several suspension bridges cross creeks and brooks, so be sure to look for frogs and other amphibians. Arf!
Mendon is a town to the northeast of Wallingford, and it’s host to dog-friendly Aitken State Forest, which boasts the furtastic, looped Bald Mountain Trail on its 900 acres. This popular 3.5-mile trail offers scenic vistas at rocky outcroppings along the trail to the summit of Bald Mountain. The park also features primitive campsites that are available year-round, but be aware that parking lots and access roads are not plowed in the winter, so you will need to ski or snowshoe into the camp area. Mendon is also where you’ll find five trails of varying lengths and levels of difficulty. The shortest is the Deer Leap Overlook Trail, a 1-mile out-and-back that is pawrfect for a short walk with your fur-baby. The longest is the 7-mile Bucklin Trail that starts flat but rises quickly after about 2 miles. Regardless of your hiking experience, you’re sure to find a trail here that will suit you and your four-legged pal!
is a nearby town that is home to the Tinmouth
Channel Wildlife Management Area in the Taconic Mountains. Its 1,260 acres
covers a combination of upland forests and wetlands with an especially large
wetland at its center. There are no established trails in the WMA, but your
furry bestie is welcome to join you for a backcountry hike, canoe or kayak
trip, or snowshoeing in the winter. The wild, remote nature of the area is what
attracts many to explore it. Because of the distinct wetland and upland forest
areas, wildlife is not only abundant but also varied. Everything from
amphibians in the brooks and marshes, to the nesting songbirds and soaring raptors
greet you and Fido as you walk. Deer and rare wildflowers co-exist here as
well, providing ample opportunity for viewing, dog-sniffing, and photo-taking!
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