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10 Dog Friendly Hiking Trails in Connecticut (2024 Guide)

Written by: Grant Piper

Last Updated on April 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

10 Dog Friendly Hiking Trails in Connecticut (2024 Guide)

Connecticut has a surprisingly large number of public spaces that are dog friendly. From a bevy of incredible state parks to old nature preserves, there are numerous public spaces to explore with your dog. There are parks in every corner of the state that can be reached from almost anywhere in the area. Here are 10 of the best dog-friendly hiking trails to explore in Connecticut. These trails include everything from soaring cliffs to sandy beaches, ancient ruins to industrial infrastructure.

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The 10 Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Connecticut

1. Babcock Preserve

️ Address: North Street, Greenwich, CT 06831
Open Times: Sunrise – Sunset
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: Yes
  • Located 15 minutes north of Greenwich, CT
  • The preserve loop trail is 4 miles long
  • Trail features plenty of birds and flowering plants to enjoy
  • Dogs can be let off leash if they are under voice command
  • Babcock Preserve is popular during peak seasons, so you are likely to run into other people

2. Bear Mountain Reservation

️ Address: 17 Bear Mountain Rd, Danbury, CT 06811
Open Times: 6 AM – 6 PM
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: No
  • Located on 140 acres of dog friendly land
  • An overlook gives views of nearby Candlewood Lake
  • There are numerous trails to explore, from short quarter mile jaunts to trails that stretch over a mile (Trail map)
  • The best times to visit are spring and autumn to avoid the most extreme Connecticut weather
  • Check out some of the local eateries located on the banks of the nearby lake

3. Bluff Point State Park

️ Address: 55 Depot Rd, Groton, CT 06340
Open Times: 7 AM – 7 PM
Cost: Free for residents
Off-Leash: No
  • Trails offer a glimpse of multiple types of terrain, including beaches, woods, rocks, and grassy fields
  • Various multi-mile trails to explore are perfect for repeat visits
  • Take in the views of the Atlantic Ocean, Poquonnock River, and Mumford Cove
  • Dogs are allowed on all trails, but they are not allowed on the beach
  • Located near the cute tourist town of Mystic

4. McCook Point Park & Beach

️ Address: 8 Atlantic St, Niantic, CT 06357
Open Times: 8 AM – 8 PM Labor Day – Memorial Day
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: No
  • Dogs are not allowed in the park during the summer season
  • The park offers free Wi-Fi so you can pump up your favorite jams
  • Connects to Hole In The Wall Beach, a dog friendly beach that your dog can enjoy
  • Walk along sandy bluffs, on the beach, or across old lawns for summer homes
  • Visit nearby Niantic, a cute waterfront town with plenty to see and do

5. Bigelow Hollow State Park

️ Address: 298 Bigelow Hollow Rd, Union, CT 06076
Open Times: 8 AM – 7 PM
Cost: Free (Seasonal parking fee for non-residents)
Off-Leash: No
  • Massive park includes 9,000 acres of state forest and miles of trails
  • Multiple beautiful lakes and ponds to explore with your dog
  • Plenty of amenities on site and year-round activities (hunting, snowboarding, etc.)
  • Park is fairly remote, so bring everything you need for a full day of activities
  • Dogs must remain on leash while in the park

6. Nod Brook Wildlife Management Area

️ Address: Weatogue, CT 06089, USA
Open Times: Sunrise – Sunset
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: Yes
  • Area specifically designed for off leash dogs
  • Many dogs come here to learn how to swim, hunt and behave off leash
  • Located along the banks of the Farmington River
  • Plenty of food and amenities in nearby Avon, so stock up
  • Please follow the rules for off leash dogs while you are in the park

7. Lovers Leap State Park

️ Address: 178 Short Woods Rd, New Milford, CT 06776
Open Times: 7 AM – 8 PM
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: No
  • 160 acres of beautiful wooded land to enjoy with your pup
  • Check out the amazing restored 1895 lenticular truss iron bridge
  • Take time to soak in the beauty of the Housatonic River and Lover’s Leap Gorge
  • Plenty of restaurants and stores in nearby New Milford
  • There are tons of ruins and old infrastructure to explore on the property

8. Sleeping Giant State Park

️ Address: 200 Mt Carmel Ave, Hamden, CT 06518
Open Times: 8 AM – 6 PM
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: No
  • A classic 1 ½ mile trail leads to the peak of Mt. Carmel
  • The peak has an old stone observation tower at the summit that is awesome to explore
  • The rugged mountain looks like a Sleeping Giant on the Connecticut skyline
  • Go during the fall for some amazing views of the New England leaves
  • Bring your camera for some incredible photo opportunities

9. Farmington River Trail

️ Address: 256-292 Canton Rd, Burlington, CT 06013
Open Times: 24/7
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: No
  • An 18 mile loop along the Farmington River and the Canal Line Railroad
  • Spend a day, or multiple days, exploring this multi-use trail
  • There are multiple parking areas and entrances to the trail
  • Be sure to respect the trails mandate of Leave No Trace
  • The trail is extremely popular, especially during good weather, so you will be surrounded by other recreational people

10. White Memorial Conservation Center

️ Address: 80 Whitehall Rd, Litchfield, CT 06759
Open Times: Sunrise – Sunset
Cost: Free
Off-Leash: No
  • Over 40 miles of public dog-friendly trails (Trail map)
  • Over 50 entrances to the trail system with various different types of terrain to explore
  • Plenty of amenities on site, including a museum, a gift shop, and campgrounds
  • Activities to do year-round include fishing, hiking, snowshoeing, and even cross-country skiing
  • Located in a rural portion of northwestern Connecticut with quaint towns and roads leading to the conservation center

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Conclusion

Connecticut might not be a large state, but it is chock full of trails to explore with your dog. From long trails that meander through multiple towns to short trails to bluffs and beaches, there are amazing options to check out. There are trails all over the state, from the rural northern parts of Connecticut to the Atlantic coastline in the southern parts. There are trails of every shape, size, and stripe for dog owners of all kinds.


Featured Image Credit: Ann Lillie, Shutterstock

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