Everyone knows dogs make great running companions. It’s good for them and it’s good for you. However, sometimes it can be hard to find dog-friendly running trails in Raleigh. Not all runners, or walkers for that matter, are happy to see energized tail waggers on the trail. Avoid unfriendly glances and too-narrow trails at a dog-friendly trail instead. Here’s the great news – there are many to choose from! Need some help narrowing down that list?
Here are the top 5 dog-friendly running trails in Raleigh according to local dog-owners like yourself. Check out one, two, or the whole list and find your favorites. What are you waiting for? Lace up your trainers, grab the leash, and go!
William B Umstead State Park
A clean, beautiful park, Umstead State Park is perfect for a run with your dog. Clearly marked, engaging trails await you, and the ample tree canopy offers lots of shade. Not too buggy, nice wide trails, and picturesque natural beauty make a short 1.5-mile walk or a 7-mile run a joy. There’s also plenty of parking, picnic tables, and other amenities you’d expect.
Dorothea Dix Park
The beautiful views in the heart of downtown Raleigh are just one of the reasons to do your next run at Dorothea Dix Park. In addition to tall sunflowers, cultural exhibits, and being a perfect picnic spot, they’ve also made a space for dogs. Take your dog down one of the many trails on-leash and enjoy the view. Be sure to pack water for you and your best friend. While the park does have portable potties, there’s no running water.
Shelley Lake Sertoma Park
This park is ideal for every kind of runner , jogger, or walker. There’s also a two-mile paved greenway that’s not too challenging for beginners or on rest days. The trail is well maintained and is positioned around a lake. These trails are so dog friendly there’s even a cute dog fountain to make a rest stop with your furry friend. One word of warning, there have been lots of sightings of other furry and not-so-furry friends like bald eagles, turtles, deer, ducklings, and frogs. If your dog is anxious to make other animal buddies, be sure to use a strong leash!
Lake Benson Park
This park hosts hiking and running trails that connect to White Deer Park so you can take a short or long run easily while enjoying the best Raleigh has to offer. Many runners remark that they feel safe running these trails because they are open and not wooded. In addition to dog-friendly trails, Lake Benson Park also has a dog park, pond, and small playground. Don’t be surprised if you see the same dogs and their owners if you stop in for a run, it’s a popular place for dog-walking (and running) regulars who love the well-maintained trails and open spaces.
Neuse River Greenway Trail
The Neuse River Greenway Trail is 28 miles long and has a generous 10-foot wide asphalt path that’s perfect for walking or running with your favorite furry friend. There are lots of trails to choose from for every ability and type of runner, providing great mileage options. There are plenty of doggie waste cans and bags installed along these dog-friendly trails. There’s also plenty of space in the woods for a little discovery and a cool jog in the river if your pet overheats from your run. One thing to consider: the trails are frequented by bicyclists who tend to zoom by fast so keep your pup on a shorter leash.
These five are just a few of the great options available in dog-friendly Raleigh. Remember, not only do you need 10,000 steps per day on average, but your dog needs anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours of exercise each day (depending on the breed). Keep both of you healthy by visiting a trail today!