Wherever you choose to walk, trot, or play fetch, you should always pick up after your pet and carry out the waste. All of these places are connected to the streams, rivers, and groundwater that flow to Buzzards Bay. Dog waste contains bacteria that can contaminate water. Plus, it’s unpleasant for others to see (and smell). Do your part to protect clean water by picking up after your dog and properly disposing of those waste bags in the trash.
You can also do your part to protect your dog and other people on the trails by following each property’s leash rules, which are usually posted at the trailhead. Some places ask that you keep your dog on a leash, whereas other spots allow dogs to walk off-leash if they are under voice control. Voice control means that your dog always responds to your first command, without fail. This takes a lot of training and patience, so leash up if you aren’t sure whether your dog will resist the urge to greet fellow trailgoers, dogs, or wildlife.
With those important notes said, here are 35 places from Westport to Falmouth where you and your dog are welcome for a walk!
- Forge Pond Conservation Area: This Westport Land Conservation Trust (WLCT) property invites hikers and leashed dogs to follow the trails along the north side of Forge Pond and along the beautiful Noquochoke River. For a longer hike, you can continue onto town-owned land that connects on the east side of the trail.
- Headwaters Conservation Area: Leash up your pup for a walk through WLCT’s impressive trail network that meanders through diverse habitats and an old farm field. This forest is the headwaters for a brook that feeds the East Branch of the Westport River – an especially important reminder to pick up after your pet!
- Destruction Brook Woods: This popular Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT) property features a 10-mile network of forest paths and stream crossings. Destruction Brook Woods is well-used by dog-walkers and other trail goers, so be sure to keep your pet close to avoid unwanted interactions. (Check out DNRT’s rules and regulations for more details.)
- Paskamansett Woods & Gidley Woods: For a quick jaunt with your furry friend, explore this 11-acre property owned by DNRT. You’ll cross the historic “Kings Highway” bridge and continue onto trails through privately owned land, so keep your pet under voice control or leashed at all times.
- Smith Farm: This DNRT preserve is a quiet, relatively secluded destination with two miles of trails that you can enjoy with your dog under voice control. Plus, the horseshoe-shaped freshwater pond in the middle of the property is a fun spot for your dog to take a dip!
- Ridge Hill Reserve: DNRT’s 175-acre Ridge Hill Reserve is a great place to spend the day exploring with your dog. There’s a lot of open space for you and your well-behaved dog to roam free, but please be mindful of the wildlife and habitats that flourish here. This property neighbors a rod and gun club, so if your dog doesn’t like loud noises, you may want to pick another place to explore.
- Flora B. Peirce Nature Trail: This city-owned property welcomes you and your leashed dog to explore a natural haven of woods and wetlands right in the North End of New Bedford. Perfect for an afternoon stroll, the loop trail takes about an hour to complete. If you visit in spring, make sure to keep your dog from splashing in the vernal pools – these temporary ponds are a critical habitat for frogs and salamanders.
- Buttonwood Park: Leash up your pup and head to this convenient natural oasis in New Bedford’s West End. You can enjoy nearly two miles of paved, flat trails, and then lounge in the grassy lawn with your four-legged friend. You and your dog can play a game of fetch on the Great Lawn, but dogs are not allowed within 100 feet of the playground if kids are nearby.
- Fort Taber Park: Enjoy panoramic views of Buzzards Bay as you and your leashed dog walk the wide, paved paths that snake through Fort Taber Park in New Bedford’s South End. These paths stretch for about a mile, but you can continue your journey along West Beach or East Beach by hopping on the Saulnier Memorial Bike Trail, which connects with the paths at Fort Taber. This park is popular with families, cyclists, and joggers, so be sure to pick up after your pet and deposit the waste in a nearby trash can.
- LaPalme Farm: Enjoy a mile of trails with your voice-controlled dog at this Coalition-owned property in Acushnet. Follow the path through a large field, and then continue into the forest for a quiet view of the Acushnet River, which flows just beyond the trees.
- The Sawmill: This Coalition-owned park in Acushnet is a great place to take a walk with a small dog along the edge of the Acushnet River. It’s a popular spot for both people and wildlife, which means it’s best to keep your dog on a leash so everyone can safely enjoy this natural space.
- Shaw Farm Trail: Located on the Phoenix Bike Trail/Mattapoisett Rail Trail, Shaw Farm Trail is a convenient location for you and your pet to hop off the paved path and escape into nature. Keep your dog on a leash as you meander this idyllic path that stretches for nearly a mile before it connects with Nasketucket Bay State Reservation.
- West Island Town Beach: In the off-season (post-Labor Day to early June), this Fairhaven town beach is a popular destination to bring dogs for a sandy jaunt down the shore – and a swim in Buzzards Bay! Bring a tennis ball to enjoy hours of fun fetching with your four-legged friend.
- The Bogs: Explore miles of trails with your furry friend at this Coalition-owned property in Mattapoisett, which is a popular place for dog walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts. The 50 acres of cranberry bogs that stretch out in front of the property’s entrance are a great place to let your voice-controlled dog trot alongside you.
- Munn Preserve: If your pup loves to swim in the waves of Buzzards Bay, then bring him to this Mattapoisett Land Trust property to splash around! Walk the short, flat path down to the water with your voice-controlled or leashed dog and discover the beauty and fun that Brandt Island Cove has to offer.
- Brandt Island Cove District: For a longer hike that also peers out over Brandt Island Cove, head to this Mattapoisett Land Trust property. We’re sure that both you and your voice-controlled or leashed dog will enjoy the 1.5 mile out-and-back trail that straddles the woods and the salt marsh.
- Washburn Park: With a network of flat, easy trails and a small dog park, this town-owned park in Marion is a perfect place to get outside with your pup. This is a popular community space, so be sure to keep your dog under control and throw out his waste in one of the park’s trash cans.
- White Eagle: This Sippican Lands Trust property in Marion is a favorite among local dog-walkers. Explore these 248 acres with your leashed or voice-controlled pup to discover forests, swamps, and actively farmed cranberry bogs.
- Peirson Woods: For a quick but quiet hike with your four-legged pal, head to the Sippican Lands Trust’s Peirson Woods in Marion. From the parking area, hike with your leashed or voice-controlled dog to a scenic platform where you can peer out over Blankinship Cove.
- Shoolman Preserve: This Rochester property, co-owned by the Rochester Land Trust and the Mattapoisett Land Trust, offers a gently rolling loop hike that’s sure to please leashed dogs and their humans. Follow the well-marked trail through fields, pine forest, and wetlands. Like everywhere else, be sure to pick up after your dog – keeping this property clean is critical to the health of the Mattapoisett River.
- Delano Memorial Forest: Enjoy this 110-acre Wildlands Trust property by walking a two-mile loop trail with your well-behaved pup. The wide trails and gentle terrain will lead you along the Sippican River and past woodland swamps and vernal pools.
- Rounseville II Preserve: Tucked behind the ballfields at Raynor Gifford Park in Rochester is a quick nature trail to enjoy with your voice-controlled or leashed dog. The wide, looping trail at this Wildlands Trust property takes about a half-hour to complete, making it perfect for an early morning or after-work walk for you and Fido.
- Horseshoe Mill: This Coalition-owned property, along with neighboring town-owned Birch Island Conservation Area, offers dog-walkers over an hour’s worth of hiking trails that wind through woodlands along the Weweantic River, Buzzards Bay’s largest freshwater river.
- Tweedy and Barnes Conservation Area: You’ll find the perfect spot to take a leisurely nature stroll or a quick jog with your voice-controlled or leashed dog unassumingly nestled between Blackmore Pond Road and the Sippican River in Wareham. There is a short loop trail on this Wareham Land Trust-owned property that features historic trail signage and spectacular views of the Sippican River. (The river would appreciate if you carried out your pet’s waste!)
- William Minot Forest: When school isn’t in session, you can explore the nature trail behind Minot Forest Elementary School with your voice-controlled or leashed dog. This town forest is especially convenient for nearby residents, but the maze of trails can be a bit confusing, so bring a trail map and your sense of adventure!
- Westgate Conservation Area: You and your pup can spend over an hour exploring the bogs and forests at this beautiful town-owned property. This is a popular spot for voice-controlled dogs, who can take a few minutes to splash in the fresh waters of the Weweantic River.
- Halfway Pond Conservation Area: You and your well-behaved dog could spend hours exploring the Wildland Trust’s extensive network of well-marked trails around Halfway Pond. The exceptional water quality in the pond supports endangered and rare species, so be sure to remove pet waste to keep it clean.
- Davis-Douglas Conservation Area: You and your voice-controlled or leashed dog can spend all day exploring the six preserves that make up this Wildlands Trust-owned conservation area in Plymouth. Start your journey at the Wildlands Trust headquarters at Davis-Douglas Farm, then cross the street to access the trail system that traverses 230 acres of conservation land.
- Myles Standish State Forest: With over 12,000 acres to discover, you and your leashed pup are in for a treat when you visit this state forest! Choose from 13 miles of hiking trails that traverse fascinating natural landscapes created by glaciers. The trails are used by many different types of explorers, including mountain bikers and horseback riders, so be sure to keep your dog in your sights and move aside for bigger, faster species.
- Carter Beal Conservation Area: Just a skip away from the Cape Cod Canal, this town of Bourne-owned property is a fantastic place to take a scenic walk with your leashed dog. As you trot the mile-and-a-half loop, be mindful that this property protects the Herring River, so do your part to keep the river clean by carrying out your dog’s waste.
- Four Ponds Conservation Area – Bourne Town Forest: This town-owned property in Bourne offers hours of scenic hiking with your leashed dog. You can pick one of four trails that will take you on a quick jaunt or a longer hike that loops through the woods. This is a popular dog-walking destination, so be prepared to encounter fellow Fidos!
- Cape Cod Canal Bikeway: This busy bike path is also a great place for leashed dogs and their humans to get some exercise. Stretching for 7 miles on north side of the canal and 6.5 miles on the south side, you can walk for as long or short as you like. Just keep an eye out for other, faster users like cyclists and joggers.
- Bourne Sisters Woodland: Discover a quiet place to hike with your voice-controlled or leashed dog at this 22-acre Bourne Conservation Trust property. Design your own adventure through the hilly forest on the connected loop trails, making sure to pick up after your pet along the way.
- Wing Pond Woods: Located next to the Shining Sea Bikeway in Falmouth, this town-owned property could be one stop on a full afternoon of hiking with your dog along with neighboring Bourne Farm and Cardoza Farm. Trot two miles of trails through the woods, along Wing Pond, and around a working cranberry bog with your voice-controlled or leashed pup.
- Beebe Woods: Traverse hilly, rocky woods on the maze of trails through Beebe Woods and neighboring Peterson Farm in Falmouth. In an effort to encourage all dog owners to clean up after their pets, the town has installed convenient dog waste bag stations at the trailhead — along with some humorous signs on the trails. Make sure your dog is leashed for this adventure.