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8 Best Pet Friendly Hiking Spots in RTP

The weather is getting warmer, and we are all itching to get out and about. We sniffed out the best fur baby friendly hikes in the Research Triangle Park area, so you didn't have to. Check out what's below to see where your next outdoor adventure may be!

Lake Johnson Park

The Lake Johnson Park trails are the perfect place for a short outing with your furry friend! You can choose to walk along a 2.8-mile paved pathway on the east side of the Lake Johnson River, or you can get closer to nature on their natural surface trails.

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Walnut Creek Greenway Trail

If you’re looking for a longer journey, then the Walnut Creek Greenway Trail suits you! Starting at Lake Johnson and ending at the Neuse River Trail, Walnut Creek Greenway Trail takes you on a 15 mile journey through southern Raleigh. What’s so great about this trail is that it connects to the Centennial Bikeway Connector, the Rocky Branch Trail, the Little Rock Trail, and the Neuse River Trail.

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Piney Mountain Trail

Piney Mountain Trail is located just outside of Durham, North Carolina, with a beautiful forest and a river. The trail is 3.5 miles long, accessible year round, and dog friendly! The estimated time to complete the hike is 1.5 hours, so it’s the perfect break for anyone!

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Al Buehler Cross Country Trail

Located on the Duke University Golf Course, the Al Buehler trail is a 2.9 mile trail meant for easy hiking and walking. Not only do you have access to the trail itself, you can also take your pup for a tour around Duke University and witness the beautiful architecture!

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Falls Lake Trail

The Falls Lake Trail in its entirety is 50 miles long with a variety of features to keep everyone on the hike engaged! Some of the highlighted features include the Neuse River shore, the Falls Lake Dam, the Eno River, a connecting portion of the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea State Trail, recreational areas, and camping stops.

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Occoneechee Mountain State Park

This area is located more than 350 feet above the Eno, and the Occoneechee Mountain summit is the highest point in Orange County. Hikers have three miles of trails to explore which run through forests, ponds, and elevated bluffs… all of which are perfect to snap some pics of your pup! There are different trails depending on your desired difficulty, or you can fish on the Eno River, take a picnic, or even go on a program led by a ranger!

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Johnston Mill Nature Preserve

The Johnston Mill Nature Preserve boasts 300-acres of land, 3.5 miles of walking and hiking paths, and is just a short drive from downtown Chapel Hill. During your trip, you will get a blast from the past through different landmarks such as the Johnston family farm, what is left of two old gristmills, and trees that date back to 150 years ago.

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Poet’s Walk

Poet’s Walk is a great little adventure for anyone who enjoys the outdoors (like your dog) and loves history! Poet’s Walk features a rich history as it is located on the property of Ayr Mount, which was a Federal-era planation house built in 1815. It is a one-mile walking trails that snakes through the woodlands and pastures on the banks of the Eno River. The trail also has attractions like the Kirkland Family Cemetery, the Old Tavern Foundation, and Hillsborough’s Old Indian Trading Path.

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We are so glad that everything has begun to open up, but we still need to take measures to keep ourselves and our fur babies feeling well. Even if you're vaccinated, make sure to wear a mask when inside or in close contact with others. If you or your pet isn't feeling well, stay home! It's also important make sure you come prepared for every adventure: water for you and your furry friend, sunscreen, proper attire depending on the weather and location, and any other special equipment needed for each individual adventure; your safety is always a priority! Spring is finally turning into summer, and we can all take a moment to stop and smell the roses... literally!


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