Jul 13, 2022 - Things to Do

Editor's pick: My dog's favorite DMV walking trails

Kirby, a red merle Australian Shepherd, sits on a wooded forest trail.
Kirby the Australian Shepherd loves to spend time in nature. Where should we hike next? Photo: Kayla Sharpe/Axios

My Australian Shepherd Kirby recently got neutered, so after two weeks of bed rest (and the cone of shame), we're ready to make up for lost adventure time.

I'm a huge fan of dog-friendly local hikes that don't require a ton of skill or gear. Here are my favorite spots to visit with Kirby:

Seneca Regional Park in Great Falls is a great walking spot along the Potomac. Stick to the gravel road if you want the easiest route down to the river. If you want a more adventurous route, veer off onto one of the marked trails.

Pro tips: There are several benches by the river. Take some time to rest and reflect.

  • Be sure to download or print a copy of the trail map so you don't get lost.
  • The park's gravel parking lot can fill up pretty quickly so arrive early on weekends and consider carpooling if you visit with a friend.
  • Visit: 101 Seneca Road, Great Falls

Walker Nature Center in Reston is situated amid several wooded walking trails. During our hour-long adventure, Kirby and I saw foxes and deer and even stopped to read some signs about native Virginia plant species. This is a great spot to spend time in nature while knowing that you're only a mile or so from a main road or residential area if you get lost.

Pro tips: The nature center has water fountains out back so bring a water bottle and portable dog bowl to fill up.

  • Visit: 11450 Glade Drive, Reston

Where should Kirby and I venture next? I'm sure there are other fantastic walking spots in the Washington area. Reply to this email to tell us which nearby dog-friendly trails we should explore.

  • Bonus: Send us a photo of you and your dog (or cat, or horse, or bird…) out enjoying nature and we might share it in an upcoming newsletter.
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