The Westchester Trails to Hike With Your Dog

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A list of fur-friendly Westchester trails, ranked from easiest to most challenging because, hey, not every dog is built for hiking.

Additional reporting by Ryan Noel

Lace up your hiking shoes and grab the leashes! We’re running down Westchester’s best hiking trails for your adventurous pooches, felines, or exceedingly well-behaved goats. (Hey, no judgments here.)

Granite Knolls Park 

Granite Knolls Easy Loop; Yorktown
Length: 4.0 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Characteristics: This hour-and-a-half circuit loop hike in Granite Knolls Park passes many interesting boulders and is the site of small-scale quarry operations. The trail boasts a large glacier erratic known as the Giant Boulder.

 

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Mountain Lakes Park Trail

Mountain Lakes Park; North Salem
Length: 3.9 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Characteristics: This circuit loop set in the most northerly park in Westchester will take about two hours. The park, which features almost 13 miles of trails, woods roads, and five lakes, is the highest point in Westchester County. In the winter season, you can also enjoy cross-country skiing. The park has seven trails that pass through hardwood forests, rock outcrops, and meandering streams.

Bronx River Parkway Reservation

Bronx River Pathway; Valhalla, Bronxville
Length: 11.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Characteristics: This park is one of the first linear parks in the country and, completed in 1925, happens to be Westchester County’s oldest. The entire park is 11.6 miles and extends from Bronxville to the Kensico Dam in Valhalla. The trail runs parallel to the river for much of its length. It begins on the east side of Kensico Dam Plaza, near the steps. It passes The Rising, a memorial to honor Westchester County residents who were killed in 9/11, and travels through park-like meadows, woods, and a railroad underpass.

 

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Teatown Lake Reservation

Teatown Lake Three Lakes Loop; Ossining
Length: 3.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy

Characteristics: This circuit-loop is a popular trail for hiking in the area. The trail outlines three of Teatown’s stunning lakes where you can park yourself on a bench and soak in the surrounding nature. Teatown has nearly 15 miles of trails open year-round from dawn to dusk.

 

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Blue Mountain Reservation

Blue Mountain Reservation Loop; Peekskill
Length: 5 miles
Difficulty: Easy-to-moderate

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Characteristics: This dog-friendly, five-mile hiking loop in Blue Mountain Reservation, which totals 1,583 acres, also allows for mountain biking and cross-country skiing during the winter. Open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk, the park offers picnicking, fishing, archery and shooting ranges, and a playground. It is also nationally known as a mountain biking center. If you’re not into mountain biking and just want to hike with your canine companion, the five-mile loop passes both Mt. Spitzenberg and Blue Mountain. The rolling, boulder-strewn terrain includes ponds, streams, dense forest, and panoramic views of the Hudson River.

 

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Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

Rocks Trail and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation; Cross River
Length: 9.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate-to-strenuous

Characteristics: A step up from the moderate trails, and a few steps up from the easy-to-moderate Loop Hike at Ward Pound Ridge, this more strenuous circuit trail will take about four hours and encompasses the southern end of the reservation, passing several historic features and viewpoints. This trail passes Bear Rock, Spy Rock (which was used to observe the British Troops during the Revolutionary War), a few interesting stone walls, and a yellow-blazed horse trail just a short distance beyond. The trail then descends along a ledge with additional views, and continues down into a gully with impressive cliffs. This dog-friendly hike includes a few steep climbs and crosses a few streams. Towards the end of the trail, about a quarter mile from the high point, you will come to Raven Rocks, a spectacular south-facing overlook from a cliff. Use caution—there’s a sharp drop here. This viewpoint is the best on the hike and is worthy of the strenuous climb.

Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Rockefeller Park Preserve Loop; Pleasantville

Length: 6.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

Characteristics: The Rockefeller State Park Preserve is a runner’s, hiker’s, and dog owner’s dream. With plenty of attractions like the fern garden, Rockwood Hall, and Swan Lake, the expansive land – donated by the Rockefeller family – is ideal for any hiking ability. The dog-friendly hiking trails are crushed stone carriage roads and boast 45 miles of scenic roads for you and your pup.

Hudson Highlands Gateway Park 

Hudson Highlands Gateway Park Loop; Cortlandt
Length: 3.1 miles
Difficulty: Moderate

Characteristics: This park was once home to a Revolutionary War lookout site. Now it’s reserved for hiking, birding, cross-country skiing, fishing, and snowshoeing. The trail for this dog-friendly hike starts along the side of the hill until it enters a forested area and then proceeds steeply uphill. Once you reach the viewpoint at a stone fireplace, you can look out and enjoy the view. The road bridge over Annsville Creek and the Hudson River with the Indian Point nuclear power plant should be visible along the river. As you proceed, the trail descends and then climbs again, a few times, with more views along the way, including streams, cascades, and a vernal pool for which the trail is named.

Related: Where to Dine With Your Dog in Westchester County

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