Like most state parks in New York, dogs are not allowed through the main entrance at Sunken Meadow State Park or on most of the grounds. But this park features a looped, interconnecting trail through the deeply wooded section on the east end of the park where leashed pups are welcome. To get there, bypass the main gate, continuing to the east end via Old Dock Road, to the free parking area just outside the trailhead.
Located on Long Island Sound, Sunken Meadow is a popular destination for folks living on the north shore or visiting. Many come for the golf course, many for the beach, others for the boardwalk. But few seem to know about this almost hidden trail that winds its way through the trees and meadows in the secluded area along the bluffs. You'll find solitude and quiet here, with an occasional encounter with a mountain bike or another hiker, or perhaps some of the wildlife that make the woods their home.
The hilly, shaded dirt trail can be steep and rocky in short sections, providing enough challenge to make this feel like a real hike, and it crosses 2 sunny meadows surrounded by trees for resting or perhaps a picnic lunch with your fur-baby. The trail loops up to the coastline and along the steep cliffs where you'll have a fine view of the Sound as well as access to Sunken Meadow Creek.
Along with ferns and wildflowers, you'll find wild raspberry bushes with berries that are ready for eating in the late summer, so help yourself. The dense trees provide a shady walk, and Kings Park Bluff, adjacent to the northeast end of the trail, is dog friendly and affords more furtastic 180-degree views of the Sound and beach below.
If you're looking for tranquility, solitude and peace away from the crowds in the people-only sections of Sunken Meadow State Park, give this trail a try. Fido will find lots of birds and squirrels to track with his ears, eyes and nose, and you'll find a convenient, quiet getaway.
Dogs are welcome on the trail arising from Old Dock Road in the wooded east end of the park. There is parking nearby. Pups must be leashed. Watch out for poison ivy along the trail.