For many reasons, West Hartford (WeHa) is an ideal place to own a dog. Reason being? Its abundance of wonderful dog walking places.
Here, dogs can experience all types of walks. In and around WeHa there are places that can make your wagging friend feel like a city, suburban, or a even a country dog!
The Results Are In:
A List of West Hartford’s Best Dog Walking Places
The famous 14,000+ member Facebook group called Neighbors and Friends in West Hartford was asked where their favorite places were to walk their dog. We polled our staff and did some research too. Now we are pleased to provide you with our list of West Hartford’s favorite places to walk your dog.
Throughout the article, we added three superlatives for fun: Staff’s Pick, WeHa’s Most Popular, and Honorable Mention.
Trail and Access to the Reservoir via the Intersection of Hunter Drive and Canal Road
When we polled our staff, our favorite walking route is this secluded trail that eventually leads to the Reservoir. It starts as a paved path, possibly a half mile or so. Once you’ve reached the end of the initial path, you’ll arrive at a fence. Go through the fence, walk a bit more and on your right will be a small foot-made path that leads you directly to the paved road loop. This loops around the entire Reservoir #5. It’s breathtaking.
Here’s a map of the trail’s starting point:
The trail is the unmarked white line that looks like a road and travels parallel to Squirell Hill Rd. toward the Reservoir.
Go down the main path, then through a gate that brings you to the Reservoir’s property. At that point, walk a little further, then turn right down a little path toward Reservoir #5 and it’s paved path.
Our Staff Pick favorite walking trail offers more than you’d think. Extra trails, beautiful wildlife, etc. The more you frequent this dog walk destination, the more you’ll discover each time you’re there.
Wolcott Park in West Hartford is a great place to walk your dog. When we asked, the Facebook group their favorite places to walk a dog, this came up more times than we expected it to.
Erin Buckmiller of West Hartford told us, “Our puppy loves the few trails behind Wolcott Park!” .
Trout Brook Trail
The Trout Brook Trail, a half mile long path, follows along the Trout Brook from South Quaker lane to New Park Avenue. The town’s website notes that “A convenient place to start the trail is at S. Quaker Lane (across the street from the Beachland House in Beachland Park.)
You can park at Beachland Park, and cross South Quaker Lane (using the crosswalk) and gain access to the trail just south of the bridge. A trail marker identifies the entry point” (“Trout Brook Trail,” 2015).”
Here’s an image of the Beachland Park access point
And here it is from the street view:
Walking Path Along Trout Brook From Farmington Ave. to Fern Street
This is a very local trail. It’s “off the books.” No pavement; created by the people. West Hartford Resident, Tanya Feliciano-DeMattia told us that it’s “a pretty well-developed dirt path that starts behind Young Israel and goes to Farmington Ave.”
She said the town is turning it into a bike path, which she supports, but isn’t too upset about a recent postponement to construction. While she feels bad for the cyclists, Feliciano-DeMattia will take all the last moments she can get. She tells us that she “loves having that little nature preserve behind our house!”
Penwood State Park:
There is public parking right attached to the park’s entrance. The main attraction, a 3-mile path begins in the parking lot. You can also take the Metacomet Trail instead of the main loop, which will provide you with more of a forested and secluded walk through Penwood Park. To access the start of this trail section, as you approach the 3-mile loop take a right and follow the path for a moment. You’ll quickly find a path that cuts off into the middle of the loop on the right. Take that path and it will bring you to the opposite end of the loop. It takes around 20-30 minutes (more or less) depending on your speed.
At the end of this section, you’ll arrive to the ~halfway point of the trail on the other end. You now have four options. You can go back the way you came, take a left, or take a right to get back to the parking lot. Your fourth option is to continue straight on the Metacomet Trail which will take you to Southern New Hampshire. Don’t forget to bring the water and doggy treats for that hike!
Going left on the trail, you can look for some paths that will lead you to magnificent views and depending on where you look, you’ll see neighboring Hublein Tower (south-west). In the map image above the trails will be on the yellow marked trail. It may take a few times to get used to the park, but eventually you and and your four legged friend will find the best views and little trails.
Talcott Mountain State Park:
Around these parts, Talcott Mountain State park is synonymous with Hublein Tower; we use it interchangeably. Generally, the dog hike’s goal is to climb Talcott Mountain and Reach the top – where you’ll find Hublein Tower. Below we will tell you a few things about this park including parking, different trails, etc.
For starters, there are two main routes to reach the goal of this dog walk, which is to get up to the Hublein Tower. We’ve broken it up into smaller sections below:
Talcott Mountain via the Main Trail:
Most likely, you’ll take the local trail which starts right in the Hublein Tower’s parking lot. About half the way up the trail you’ll find magnificent views. West Hartford Resident Jennifer Ann particularly loves this hike. When asked about what she loves about the hike, she said the, “Beautiful views first and foremost.” She adds that it’s “easily accessible from West Hartford, and surrounding towns. I also think it’s a great workout for all ages – dogs included!”
Talcott Mountain via The Metacomet Trail:
If your dog is highly athletic and extremely well behaved around dangerous roads, this might be the dog walk for you. This way of trekking up the mountain is for adventure seekers who are looking for a killer workout and have 2-4 hours to kill.
Here is a map of Talcott Mountain to help you traverse this hike:
The start of this trail section is located across the street (Route 185 AKA Simsbury Avenue) from Penwood State Park’s parking lot. There are two places you can park:
- The very beginning of the Hublein Parking Lot’s Driveway is the safest option. Then you’d walk down a little way to access the trail across from Penwood.
- The less safe option (a little more direct) is parking in Penwood’s lot and crossing the street. If you select this option, please do so at your own risk. The road is windy, dangerous, and before you reach grass on the other side of the road, there’s a road barrier you’ll both have to step over.
Using the Matacomet Trail to hike to the tower is a wonderful experience. You and your pup will still get a nice view, it’ll just take a little longer to get to it compared to the Main Trail.
Doggy Wilderness Safety Tips
Taking a hike such as the Metacomet Trail poses some health and safety risks due to its remote and wildlife nature.
- Be sure to follow the blue diamond markings on the trees all the way up to the Tower.
- If you are going to let your dog off leash, bring a small leash just in case. En route to Hublein there may be dangerous cliffs and atop the mountain you may encounter children, misbehaving dogs, etc! Please be advised David’s Pet Services does not recommend you go offleash as it is dangerous and may be illegal (steep fines). Proceed at your own risk!
- Before you embark on this hike tell someone to expect to hear from once you’re back to your car, safe and sound.
- Take a fully charged cell phone to help you in case you get lost.
- There are bears who live in this area, so please check this blog post from REI to read more about bear safety. Backpacking in Bear Country
West Hartford Reservoirs (#s 1,2,6)
West Hartford residents are so grateful for their Reservoirs. The MDC website says that the West Hartford Reservoirs and Reservoir 6 have five reservoirs and over 3,000 acres containing “some of the most beautiful woodlands and trails in the region”(“West Hartford Reservoirs and Reservoir 6″, 2014).
Meghan Cranouski, a West Hartford resident, said that the reservoir has It has many options for trails (paved or dirt)-(long or short) and nice scenery along the way.” About the trails, she said that they, “Seem seem to be wide enough for others passing by with dogs. Has trash cans, baggies, and can be quiet in some places. It’s a nice change from walking along the roads.”
Reservoir #1 and Reservoir #5
The main public access to these Reservoirs is off Route 4 (AKA Farmington Avenue) near the border of West Hartford and Farmington. Here you’ll find free public parking then you can walk to the Red Road Loop, approximately 3.4 miles, or the Yellow Loop, which is approximately 2.0 miles. Reservoir #5 is technically the main attraction here; the Red and Yellow loops go around it.
WeHa’s Most Popular:
This reservoir was everyone’s favorite when we asked our West Hartford friends on Facebook. You can access the reservoir by parking in the lot located off of Route 44 (AKA Avon Mountain & Albany Avenue) in West Hartford. Going toward Avon, it’ll be on your right. If you went over the Avon Mountain, you’ve gone too far – turn around!
Here, you can park and access the Red Loop, approximately 3.6 miles long or the Yellow Paved Portion, which is a trail 1.4 miles one way (2.8 miles back and forth).
Further, from the Red Loop you can access the Metacomet Trail that, as touched on earlier, is a 114 mile trail that goes from Southern CT to Southern New Hampshire.
once in while to compare to the normal suburban street walkin’.
Blue Back Square
If you want your dog to feel like a city dog, this is the best place for you to take her! Lots of hustle and bustle can always be found in this area. You’ll fine lots of crosswalks, friendly people, and other friendly dogs to walk by.
You don’t have to walk too far to find places for your four legged friend to go potty either. Also, for the humans, it’s nice to feel like you’re in a city once in while to compare to the normal suburban street walkin’.
Get Out There!
There you have it, a list of 10 different West Hartford dog walking routes that will really mix it up for your pup. With each journey, you can find a different experience each time. So what are you waiting for? Get out there! Woof woof!
“Trout Brook Trails.” Walking Trails. West Hartford Leisure Services, 2015, https://www.westhartfordct.gov/gov/departments/leisure/trails/trout_brook.asp
“West Hartford Reservoirs and Reservoir 6.” Reservoirs. MDC, 2014, https://themdc.org/recreation-areas/reservoirs
“Talcott Mountain State Park.” State Parks and Forests Maps. Bureau of Outdoor Recreation – State Parks Division Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, 2018, https://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325272&deepNav_GID=1650
“Penwood State Park” State Parks and Forests Maps. Bureau of Outdoor Recreation – State Parks Division – Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, 2018, https://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325248&deepNav_GID=1650