Top Parks To Walk Your Dog In Connecticut

April 25, 2014 9:00 AM

(Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Beneful)

Dogs, like people, need exercise, and while those fortunate enough to live in the country can usually find open meadows and woodlands for their pets to bound about, they often fear of them running off or getting lost. Fortunately, there are a growing number of dog parks in the state – either fenced-in areas where dogs can run free or trails where as long as animals are kept on their leash, they are welcome to hike alongside their owners. Here are just five great places to walk a dog in Connecticut.

Candlewoof Dog Park
44 Pickett District Road
New Milford, CT 06776

Candlewoof is an all-volunteer staffed, not-for-profit dog park near scenic Candlewood Lake in New Milford. It is actually two parks in one – with one section reserved for small dogs and another for larger animals. Pooper scooper bags are provided and volunteers appreciate it when patrons clean up after themselves as well as their dogs. The park is situated behind Pettibone Elementary School and there is plenty of parking. No phone contacts are listed, but the volunteers have a Facebook page and hold monthly meetings.

Housatonic Rail-Trail
Tait Road
Trumbull, CT 06611
(203) 452-5075

Old railroad right of ways crisscross Connecticut, and while the mighty trains that once rolled on those ribbons of steel are a thing of the past, many of them have since become hiking, jogging, biking and dog-walking trails. The Pequannock Valley Greenway in Trumbull is one such corridor where cuddly puppies frolic along paths where iron horses once ran. Dog walking is not only allowed but also encouraged, but of course people are asked to scoop the poop and take it away lest others along the trail have their day ruined by walking or riding into the mess. The trail begins at Tait Road and follows the scenic Pequannock River. Parts of the main trail are paved with asphalt, but there is a branch that is more rustic with either cinders or crushed stone. The trail continues on for five miles through Trumbull and its Old Mine Park section and well into the neighboring town of Monroe, where it, quite appropriately, passes an animal shelter.

Related: Top Dog Walking Services In Connecticut

Hamden Dog Park
Basset Park
Ridge St. and Waite St.
Hamden, CT 06517
(203) 287-2579

Small dogs rule at Hamden Dog Park. They have their own area with a separate entrance where they can run without being chased by their larger canine cousins. There is plenty of room in that small dogs’ area as well as elsewhere in the park for puppies to play and run without the constraint of leashes and chains. Owners are required to have a leash with them and keep their dogs in view at all times. It is not unusual to see two or three dozen dogs in the park. The Hamden Parks and Recreation Department maintains the property and requires that all pets display their tags and are up to date on their vaccinations.

Pawsitive Park
Estelle Cohn Memorial Dog Park
261 Asylum St.
Norwich, CT 06360
(860) 367-2660

Norwich is a crowded city, but there is at least one place in this urban jungle where things have intentionally gone to the dogs. That place is the Estelle Cohn Memorial Dog Park – or Pawsitive Park as it is less formally known. Walkers must keep their pets on a leash until they enter the fenced-in area, where they can let the dogs slip out of their chains and run about at will. Walkers are required to keep their animals in sight and supervised at all times, and must clean up and scoop their doggie’s business. In warm weather, there is a pool where dogs can play. The park has a website with a complete set of rules – as well as a section on “helpful hints” to making the dog’s day at the park a fun and happy experience for all involved.

Manchester Barks and Rec Dog Park
Mount Nebo Park
Spring St.
Manchester, CT 06045
(860) 647-0119

Barks and Rec Dog Park was made possible largely through the efforts of the Manchester Dog Owners Group. In conjunction with the town and its animal control department, they helped turn an underused acre of shade trees and meadow into a place where dogs can run free off the leash, provided they remain under the supervision of their owners. There are a lot of rules and regulations to abide by, and all dogs must have tags and be up to date on their shots, but all of that has been put in place to ensure that the park is safe both for people and for their pets.

Related: Best Places To Take Your Dog In Hartford

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at

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