A few weeks into Covid-19 quarantine, my girls and I decided a walk with our dog somewhere outside of our Westchester town’s radius was in order. We needed a change of scenery, and an adventure. So, we all hopped in our car and headed to a nearby conservancy – a beautiful portion of land overlooking the Long Island Sound that would take our stay-at-home blues away. We excitedly pulled into the entrance – but whoops – NO DOGS ALLOWED!
Ugh. I was so frustrated, but quickly re-routed our plans to a dog-friendly trail nearby. Since then, I’ve always checked a place’s rules first, and have been on a quest to find dog-friendly trails in Westchester. There is so much green, woods, and outdoor space to be discovered in this leafy county outside of New York, but not all areas allow pets. Below is a list of dog-friendly trails and walks in Westchester. If you have any to add, please leave them in the comments below.
This 100-acre nature preserve has 15 miles of walking and hiking trails. Located in the lower Hudson Valley, in Ossining, and as its name suggests, there’s a large lake with woods and trails in the surrounding area. If this is your first time, I would suggest a walk on the trail that loops around the lake. It’s a really peaceful area, and the perfect length walk for a dog. It took us about an hour with our Yorkie. There’s a bunch of more trails to explore if you want to spend more time.
1600 Spring Valley Road, Ossining, NY, 10562
Croton Gorge Park (New Croton Dam)
If you have a dog and little kids, then this might be the perfect spot for your family to venture. It’s known for its large waterfall, a place the littles love to visit. But there’s much more beyond the waterfall – in addition to the pathway that goes above the dramatic waterfall, Croton Gorge Park has 97 acres of fields and woods to explore. Bring a picnic if you want to make a day trip out of it.
35 Yorktown Road, Cortlandt, NY 10520
You may also enjoy: The Best of Westchester’s Outdoor Space: Parks, Nature Preserves and More
Sheldrake Environmental Center
Sheldrake is my local spot and one that I return to again and again, specifically because my dog loves it. It’s his local too. Located in Larchmont, this 60-acre preserve has woods, trails, a pond, and Sheldrake Lake. We enjoy walking around the pond, and then up the hill to the lake. On a sunny day, the views around the lake are especially pretty.
685 Weaver Street, Larchmont, NY 10538
Westchester’s largest park, Ward Pound Ridge has 4,135 acres and is vast and beautiful. It truly is a gem in Westchester. With miles and miles of trails, you can traverse meadows, woods, streams, fields and more. There are many different and varied landscapes and terrains to be discovered. Note there is a parking fee – $5 with Park Pass and $10 without Park Pass.
6 Reservation Road, Pound Ridge, NY 10576
Part of the Westchester Land Trust, Otter Creek is a sweet little preserve that runs along the Long Island Sound in Mamaroneck. Comprised of 35 acres and 3 miles long, it’s an important spot in the world of nature as it has 90% of Westchester’s salt marches. There are wetlands, coastal waters, a marsh, and vernal pool, making it a true seaside preserve. In part of the preserve there is a boardwalk – just watch your dog’s feet as my dog’s paw got stuck a couple of times!
Taylors Lane, Mamaroneck, 10543
We went here on Mother’s Day, and I loved this preservation because it had a real “get-away” feel to it. Located in Peekskill, this 1600-acre park has 20 miles worth of trails and really feels like you’re out in nature. There weren’t as many people as, say, in Teatown, but that said, it’s much more woodsy and not with the water views you have at some of the other preserves. If woods is your thing, then you and your dog will enjoy it. Note there is a parking fee of $5 with Park Pass and $10 without Park Pass.
435 Welcher Avenue, Peekskill, NY 10566
Rockefeller State Park Preserve
The Rockefeller State Park is the former estate and gift of the Rockefeller family. With over 140,000 acres of land, there’s much to explore, including valleys, hills, fields and streams. A serene escape in the heart of Westchester, it is also known for its wide carriage roads, perfect for walking, jogging and driving. These roads make it easy for children as well to navigate the area. Note there is a $6 parking fee.
125 Phelps Way, Pleasantville, NY 10570
Bronx River Parkway Reservation
The Bronx River Parkway Reservation is Westchester’s oldest park. It’s an 807-acre linear paved park that runs from the New York City line to the Kensico Dam in Valhalla. It’s 13 miles long and popular for walks, runs and biking. Please note it does get very crowded, but for a reason.
A good place to start the Bronx River Parkway path above is the Kensico Dam Plaza. There’s parking, and it’s quite a site! At 307 feet high and 1,843 feet long, it’s massive and forms the Kensico reservoir. If you don’t want to walk the Bronx River Parkway path, you can walk up to the top of the dam through two trails on either side through the woods. From there you can walk across the dam and catch views of the reservoir and surrounding area.
1 Bronx River Parkway, Valhalla, NY 10595
This 167 acre park with a walking trail comes recommended by Cindy from Cindy By Nature. It is located in Chappaqua. I haven’t been, but Cindy is a great resource so I’m sure it is worth a visit!
If you have any other trails to add, please leave them in the comments below and I will include them.
Thanks for these suggestions — I have gone to some of these places but during the day they are packed with people so I will try some of your suggestions after 7 pm because now it stays light until after 8 pm. I have been on a quest for weeks to find some places to go with my dog where I don’t feel like it’s the subway at rush hour. FYI: The park fees are now waived and on a nice day most of these places are packed — I hope when you went they were not. For example, the Rockefeller reservation on the Hudson and the riverfront in Tarrytown: Lots of people, many in groups, and not all wearing masks, sometimes less than half. Most on bikes do not have masks and there are many bikers on the paths. Not sure why people are so against wearing masks – if we all work to end this horror then we can walk our dogs without fear of getting sick. Thanks again!
Hi Mika, apologies for the late reply. I agree! It’s just not that big of a deal to wear a mask! Thanks for your input – as for the park fees, it must depend on the place. On Mother’s Day we went to Blue Mountain Preservation and there was a parking fee. Things are ever-changing, so that’s why I included the links for each park because what goes now may be different tomorrow. And yes, now we get light until 8:00 – hallelujah!!