If you're part of 32% of Americans who make New Year's Resolutions related to losing weight, and you know that getting more exercise is an important way to achieve that resolution — then you may be looking for some creative ways to get active in 2018. And since more than half of all dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese, it's smart to consider ways that you and your dogs can get active and healthy in the New Year.
There's no reason that increasing exercise has to be dull. Spartanburg and the surrounding areas offer a wide variety of places to get outside for a long walk with your dog — whether you prefer a paved urban stroll or a rough and rugged hike. So set those steps-per-day goals, tie on your new Christmas sneakers, and head for:
The Best Places in Spartanburg to Walk Your Dog
- Mary Black Foundation Rail Trail — For those who prefer walking on asphalt, this popular converted rail line offers almost 2 miles to wander through Spartanburg. As a bonus, the Rail Trail Dog Park is located across from the main entrance to Duncan Park on Union Street. We're partial to this trail as it goes right past Pine Street Animal Hospital, includes water fountains with dog bowls, and is currently being extended (construction now underway). So come by the clinic and then plan to explore the new parts of the trail!
- Barnet Park — This 2-mile paved walking trail takes you past a few sculptures as well as an interactive water fountain (which your dog will enjoy more in warmer months).
- Hub City Connector — You can actually walk 12 miles through Spartanburg on greenways, biking trails and safe, protected sidewalks. The Hub City Connector unites several trails, including the Mary Black Foundation Rail Trail, the Liberty Garden Trail, and the SC School for the Deaf and the Blind Braille Trail. Check out the complete map of the Connector here.
- Edwin M. Griffin Nature Preserve/Cottonwood Trail — In this lovely 115-acre urban greenspace, you and your dog can walk more than 5 miles of trails through wetlands and wild animal habitat. You might enjoy strolling down the raised boardwalk while your dog romps in the river.
- Croft State Park — This expansive 7,000-acre state park offers more than 20 miles of trails, and 2.5 miles of those are reserved just for hiking. And this lovely wooded escape is only 5 miles from downtown Spartanburg.
- Glendale Shoals Preserve — These peaceful 13 acres at the old Glendale Mill include a waterfall over a dam and a variety of plant and animal life. Some dogs will love the opportunity to swim in Lawson’s Fork Creek after a long walk.
Tips for Walking with Dogs on Trails
- Remember that most trails are shared — with other dogs and walkers, and sometimes with bikers and horses. Make sure your dog is socialized and well-behaved enough to handle these distractions. If your dog is scared of horses or barks at bikes, choose trails that don’t allow them.
- Always keep your dog on a leash. Use a fixed length, ideally 6 feet or less, and don’t use retractable leashes, as they can cause issues when encountering other people or animals.
- Clean up after your dog. Even in the wilderness, fellow hikers don’t want to deal with poop on the trail. Also, some trail areas are protected, and the flora can be damaged by too much dog poop.
- Keep your dog well hydrated. Just like you need more water during exercise, so does your dog. Allow your dog access to lakes or creeks, or better yet, bring water and a small, collapsible bowl that he can use to drink.
There you have it — no excuses! Now is the best time to kick off that exercise routine by taking your dog on a beautiful, scenic hike through Spartanburg. You don’t need lots of time or travel to enjoy the beauty of our community and the benefits of a good, long walk with your best friend.