4 Easy Hikes in Maryland for You and Your Pup
Passionate pupper parents be aware: we live in a beautiful state and we have a plethora of fantastic trails to explore with our fur babies!
See this girl? This is my BFF, YiaYia (pronounced Ya-Ya). She is a ten-year old pittie with a type of cancer called Mast Cell. She is my whole world, and since her diagnosis, I have made it a point to get her out and explore the world with her. Her favorite activity is exploring nearby (and not-so nearby) hiking trails. I swear, she would walk until her little leggies fell off if I let her (and she’s already had one knee re-constructed!) Below I have outlined some YiaYia-approved trails that we are sure you and your puppers will love.
1. Calvert Cliffs State Park – Lusby, MD.
Calvert Cliffs State Park is by far my favorite park that we’ve visited thus far. The $4 entrance fee was definitely worth it, as the shortest trail (3.6 miles to the beach and back) was absolutely gorgeous! Starting from the parking lot, the path leads over a pond, and then through some partially shaded woods. Eventually you will reach a boardwalk that leads you past a large lake, and eventually you will reach the beach! There are many shaded places to stop and rest along the way. However, be sure to bring an adequate supply of poop-bags and water in portable bowls like these, as there is not a place to dispose of waste or fill up with water. We went early in the spring, so the vegetation was lacking, but this trail would be stunning later in the season! Also, this beach is a popular spot for fossil/shark tooth hunting!
Standing water in the lake could pose a problem come summer, as I would imagine the mosquitoes would be viscous and plentiful. Be sure to keep everyone in your entourage protected!
The beach is somewhat small, but considering it is open to dogs year-round, it’s really not a huge deal.
The trails are narrow in places, so be sure to have a good-quality leash and a good grip on your pooch if they are not a fan of canine company on the trails. Always be on the lookout for other groups and be sure to either allow space, or call out if need be to alert others of your presence.
2. Downs Park – Pasadena, MD.
This park is popular for many reasons, but most notably for it’s exclusive dog beach! With a fenced area of beach, dogs can romp in and out of the water and make friends with other water-loving pooches. Aside from the dog beach, this scenic park is a great place to just relax and walk the fairly easy waterfront path or hang out on a bayside bench with a canine that may need an easier form of exercise.
As one of the most popular parks in Anne Arundel County, this park sees some very crowded days in the spring and summer. Also, with an entrance fee of $6, make sure you plan to spend a good chunk of time there to get your moneys worth.
3. Sandy Point State Park – Annapolis, MD
Sandy Point State Park is such a good option for a short trek, that it had to make the list! Head to the North Beach for a secluded getaway, as most people stick to the main beach near the parking lot. A wood-chip trail will easily get you back to your car when it’s time to leave!
Dogs are only allowed between October 1st and April 30th, so any chance you get, head to the beach! At least the entrance fee is cheaper during the off season!
Be aware of biting flies! They can be quite pesky, even when the temps cool down.
4. Piney Orchard Nature Preserve – Odenton/Crofton, MD.
The reserve is so close to our home, so it is one of our most frequented spots. There are many different paths and trails to take, and many different “starting points” to choose from. There is also an abundance of wildlife, and a path that takes you to a large lake with beavers! Go in the fall for the most spectacular color show.
In some places, the trails come PRETTTTTY close to nearby homes, as the reserve is surrounded by developments on one side. Not to worry though, as it remains pretty quiet.
If you don’t know where you are going, it can be pretty tricky to find parking designated for the trail, as in it doesn’t really exist. Luckily there are plenty of places where the trail intersects with some roadways, so you can certainly park there. Be sure to remember which direction you came from, otherwise you could walk for a very long time in the opposite direction from your car!