Make no bones about it, if you and your pooch are looking for a challenge, you’re sure to find one on the trails at Table Rock State Park! Most of the trails here are rated from moderate to strenuous, but the views from the top might make you think the workout was worth it. You can leave your car at the parking lot by Pinnacle Lake just inside the western entrance to the park, but there is a $5 fee. Some hikes in the park can easily be done in an afternoon, but if you want to explore the full extent of what Table Rock has to offer, you and your pooch can pitch your tent at the campsite by the Foothills Trail trailhead. Be sure to make your reservation first!
The most challenging trail is the Pinnacle Mountain Trail, a punishing 4.2-mile out-and-back trek that sure to give even four-legged fitness freaks "paws"! Hiking poles are strongly recommended for the steep inclines that take you past gently burbling streams, small waterfalls, and mountain pools, and the sweeping vistas from Bald Knob have to be seen to be believed! Slightly less strenuous (though not by much) is the Table Rock Trail itself, which runs through natural forest and boasts fantastic views of Table Rock Lake and Slicking Falls. Avid birders will be glad to know that this area is home to a whole host of raptors and other feathered friends.
If you’re out of breath just thinking about it, don’t fret yet -- Table Rock State Park does have a couple of easier trails to choose from. Laid-back lap dogs should have little trouble on the Carrick Creek Loop, a lovely 2-mile stroll through oak-hickory forest and past cascades.
Apart from a quarter-mile paved stretch along the creek at the beginning of the Pinnacle Mountain Trail, Table Rock State Park isn’t particularly accessible to older furry friends or those with serious mobility issues. Even the Carrick Creek Loop has some inclines, so a certain level of athleticism is definitely required! In terms of facilities, there are restrooms and drinking water available. Remember to bring bags for your buddy, and have a pawesome time at the park!