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Family & Pets

Top Dog Walking Trails In Philadelphia

September 3, 2013 8:00 AM

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(Credit: DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

(Credit: DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s easy to get into a rut with your daily dog-walking routine. Pets and owners need the daily exercise, but nothing spells b-o-r-i-n-g more than walking the same hot city streets with your pooch day after day. Put a smile on both of your faces by discovering new, unexplored walking trails. Pets can chase butterflies, dash and dive into bushes and let off some steam during these bonding excursions. Whether you want a short walk or an all-day outing, the Philadelphia area has just the right walking trail to keep you and your canine content.

Schuylkill River Trail
40 College Drive
Pottstown, PA 19464
(484) 945-0200
www.schulykillriver.org

Philadelphia’s most popular trail follows the Schuylkill River from Center City to Oaks for approximately 27 miles, eventually connecting to Valley Forge, where additional trails spider off. Terrain varies along the route, but it’s mostly flat and practically all paved. An eight-mile stretch, referred to as “the loop,” begins and ends behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art, winds along both banks of the river and crosses the East Falls Bridge. It’s a Philadelphia ordinance that pets be on leashes, but exercise additional caution when walking Fido on this trail, as it can get crowded with children, cyclists and joggers, especially on weekends.

Related: Benefits Of Dog Ownership

Pennypack Park Trail
8500 Pine Road
Philadelphia, PA 19111
www.friendsofpennypackpark.org

Pennypack Trail features an almost 2.5-mile rail-trail that connects to the main, double-wide, 10-mile paved path along Pennypack Creek. You and your canine companion can take this route all the way to the Delaware River waterfront. An additional pet-friendly, single-wide trail veers off into twisty paths that meander through rolling hills, woodlands and meadows. Both trails are a scenic delight, but beware — the single-wide trail can get confusing.

Related: Summer Safety Tips For Your Dog

Forbidden Trail
Wissahickon Valley Park
8708 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118
(215) 247-0417
www.fow.org

Wissahickon Valley Park Trail, the spine of the huge park’s trail network otherwise known as Forbidden Drive, follows a sinuous creek that flows through the entire length of the park. While Forbidden Drive has a menacing moniker, it’s a safe and scenic seven-mile piece of heaven for man and beast alike. So named in the 1920s because cars were banned from using it, the asphalt and gravel trail is today open to cyclists, pedestrians, equestrians and and four-legged friends. Access is available at Ridge Avenue and Valley Green Inn, among other points. For the protection of bike and horse riders, just be sure to walk your pooch on a leash.

Harford Park

260 Gulph Creek Road
Wayne, PA
 19087
(610) 688-5600

www.radnor.com

Harford Park in Wayne features a spacious, designated off-leash park area just for canines. Stop and socialize a while, then let your pooch run around the park’s wide open fields before taking the short, wooded nature trail. Both man and beast will enjoy the beautiful foliage and the sound of birds chirping in the trees. As a post-walk cool down, allow your frisky friend to dash down the embankment for a playful splash in the creek.

Lloyd Park
703 N. Lloyd Ave.
Downingtown, PA 19335
(610) 384-0600
www.calntownship.org

Thirty-acre Lloyd Park in Downingtown not only gets get fours paws up for its doggy area and large canine swimming creek, but also for its interesting trail. Stop at the park entrance for dog dropping bags, then head for an adventure. A natural wall of golden forsythia fences the dog park from the people area, where a trail head begins leading to old abandoned barns. You can walk your furry friend unleashed, allowing Fido plenty of investigative sniffing time at the derelict structures. After the invigorating walk, reward your canine with a cool dip in the creek and a little playtime with bow-wow buddies.

Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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