Lake Johnson Park is a pawsome lakefront park in Raleigh where you and your dog can immerse yourselves in the sights and smells of nature. The 150-acre lake is a popular spot for boating and fishing, while the 300-acre forest around it attracts trail runners, cyclists, dog walkers, and birders. In the park's indoor spaces, people can take fitness classes or learn about local flora and fauna. The waterfront building in Lake Johnson Park can be rented for wedding ceremonies and receptions.
The park's trails are great for long, scenic walks with your dog. Two miles of trails are unpaved, while three miles are paved. The main trail is a little less than five miles long and circles the lake. If you want a shorter hike, you can take the three-mile East Loop or the two-mile West Loop. The trails are split by a scenic 700-foot-long wooden pedestrian bridge across the lake. Cyclists aren't allowed on an environmentally sensitive section of the West Loop, but the trails are otherwise multi-use. The East Loop is hilly and more popular with runners. It connects with the Walnut Creek Trail, a 15-mile-long multi-use greenway.
Lake Johnson Park is a great place to watch birds and other wildlife, especially along the quieter West Loop. Great crested flycatchers, summer tanagers, wood thrushes, eastern kingbirds, and prothonotary warblers are among the birds you might spot in the forest, while lesser scaup, ruddy ducks, and American coots visit the lake in the winter.
As you and your pup trot along the lake, you'll pass some nicely placed picnic shelters where you can stop to take a break. People can reserve the shelters for special events, but when they're not reserved, they're free to use for a spontaneous rest.
Leashed dogs are welcome throughout Lake Johnson Park's outdoor spaces. You'll need to bring your own water bowl and waste bags.
Whenever you want to spend a beautiful day walking by the water with your dog, you can't go wrong with Lake Johnson Park, one of the gems of Raleigh's park system.