Dog Friendly Hiking Trails around Lyme CT

Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve

Hiking Trails around Lyme CT

There is an abundance of beautiful, dog friendly, hiking trails around Lyme, East Lyme and Old Lyme CT.  Whether it’s the dog days of summer and you are looking for  water for the dogs to cool off or you want to throw your snow shoes on for some winter fun, dog friendly trails in the area are abundant!

Some things to remember when hiking with your dog(s)

  • Hiking with your dogs is about so much more than just exercise, they are actively engaging their brains as they sniff everything from fallen leaves to rabbit poop, which takes just as much energy as the hike itself.  Be sure to give them plenty of time to sniff and explore in this ever changing environment.
  • Be aware of the leash rules!  Many hiking spots require dogs to remain on leash, and many people with dog-reactive dogs will bring their pups to these locations because they are able to ensure no contact with other dogs.  If you have your dog off leash, you are doing it at your risk, and you absolutely need to have 100% recall in any situation. Saying “she’s friendly” as your dog approaches another dog is not OK, choose a location that allows off leash dogs if your dog does not ALWAYS come back at your first command.  Dog reactive dogs, and their humans, deserve to hike without the stress of an off leash dog approaching them.
  • Don’t forget water and poop bags!  Always clean up after your dog, it’s the right thing to do.
  • Apply a tick repellent to yourself and your dogs. Keep your pet shopping local and purchase tick repellent from Niantic’s favorite locally owned pet store Paw Print Pantry
  • You are a visitor in our local wildlife’s home, be respectful. Carry in what you carry out (and pick up garbage you see). Don’t allow your dogs to chase any animals or tromp through obvious wildlife home. Stay on the trail, your feet damage precious native plants and mosses that are part of the experience of hiking in beautiful locations.
  • Be aware of your surroundings!  Again, you are in the wildlife’s home.

Dog-Friendly Hiking in the Lyme area

Mackenzie and Wyatt are two pups Barks and Recreation takes on hiking adventures in the Lyme area often, so they will be showing you around!  If you want your dogs to experience these places give us a call, we would love to take them!

Upper Three Mile River Preserve – Old Lyme

Upper Three Mile River Preserve hiking in old lyme ct

One of my favorite places to bring dogs, especially those well trained in off leash recall, is Upper Three Mile River Preserve.  This beautiful 2.7 mile hike provides all the goods – water, elevation, beautiful scenery.  With a 262 foot elevation gain it is a great spot for those steady on their feet to experience some difficulty, but nothing the average person couldn’t handle.  Wyatt especially loves this preserve because there are multiple spots for him to dunk his whole body in the water (he does this summer and winter, labs love the water!).

Some things to know:Wyatt taking a dip at Upper Three Mile Preserve
  • Location: 106 Four Mile River Road, Old Lyme CT
  • Parking at the commuter lot or directly in front of the trail head. Entrance is across the street from the Transfer Station
  • There is one primary loop, well marked.
  • Off leash is allowed, dogs must remain under voice control at all times
  • There are many wet spots and you’ll be crossing streams by stepping on rocks. Wear appropriate shoes

Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve – East Lyme

Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve viewsAnother gem tucked away in Niantic, Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve is the perfect spot to get in quick 20 minute adventure or spend a couple hours.  The trails are marked clearly with maps posted throughout, even lettered cross sections so that if emergency help is needed it’s easy to identify where you are, a bonus that not many locations can claim.  Become a member of the Friends of Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve and you’ll be supporting the maintenance of this gorgeous local resource.

Some things to know:
  • Enter the Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve via Veterans Memorial Park by turning onto Memorial Park Drive off of Rte. 161.
  • Dog must remain ON leash
  • It has Hill in the name, but I’ve seen plenty of families with young kids hiking there so check it out before dismissing it if hills aren’t your thing
  • It can be a pretty busy spot depending on the time of day and weather


The Goodwin Trail – East Lyme

Goodwin hiking Trail

The Richard Goodwin Trail is a 13 mile point to point trail, East Lyme to Haddam.  We like to get on in East Lyme and do an out and back walk where the length we go is solely dependent on the amount of time we have.  The time of year and weather will determine how busy it is.  

Some Things to Know:

  • Dogs can be off leash as long as they are under voice control
  • East Lyme Darrow Pond entrance, which you can find off Mostomy Rd. in East Lyme, has plenty of parking. Go to the right to enter the trail



Rocky Neck State Park – Niantic

Hatchetts Hill Preserve – Old Lyme

  • 29-1 Hatchets Hill Road. Parking area for 3-4 cars is set back from the road
  • Part of the Old Lyme Land Trust
  • 44 acres

McCulloch Family Open Space – Old Lyme

The red trail is great for those looking to hike in a group, or with young children, since the trails are nice and wide and mostly flat and even.  Check out their website for more info.

  • Three trails, with different parking depending on which on you are doingMcCulloch Family Open Space hiking in lyme ct
  • “Tree in the Gap” trail:  This trail is accessed from Whippoorwill Road
  • Red trail: A second trail begins from Flat Rock Hill Road. Parking is permitted on the road cul-de-sac.  Please respect homeowners’ property as the trail briefly runs alongside a private driveway.
  • Yellow trailParking is not yet available at this trail head, which is accessible only by pedestrian and bicycle access.  Vehicle parking on the entryway from Whippoorwill Road to the trailhead is prohibited.
  • Dogs can be off leash as long as they are under voice control

Hiking in lyme ctBeebe Preserve – Lyme

  • The parking area is on Old Grassy Hill Road near the East Lyme town line.
  • About a 1 mile loop, good for all ages as its relatively level

Mount Archer Woods -Lyme

  • Parking off Mt. Archer Road

In Conclusion

With this being a small list, there is no shortage of hiking trails around Lyme. With plenty of stunning places to get out and enjoy nature with (or without) your four legged companions there’s no reason to stay home this weekend.

Leave a comment and let me know which places are your favorites and if I’ve missed anywhere that would make this a more complete list!

See you on the trail!