One of the most common questions we receive from people in our area is for a list of hiking trails that are dog-friendly. Nearly every weekend, we are seen hiking with Winston and Ivy and we frequent several places to keep it new and interesting. One of the last things you want to worry about is hiking at a place that isn’t safe or prepared for your dog. Here’s a list of dog-friendly places near Evansville, Indiana, Henderson, Kentucky, and surrounding areas!
Audubon State Park Pet Trail
There are more than 12 miles of hiking trails at Audubon State Park, but unfortunately only the Eagle Glenn Pet Trail is dog-friendly. When you enter the park, take a lefttoward the museum and you’ll head toward the back corner of the parking lot. The trail is about a mile long and has sharp inclines and rugged footing.
During the summer, Eagle Glenn can get grown up on the trail’s edges and watch out for fallen trees that haven’t been cleared just yet. The steep climbs are quite a workout for both you and your dog. This trail can be bustling with people during the summer afternoons. Arrive early in the day or on a weekday if you want to skip the crowds. Audubon State Park is located at 3100 US Highway 41 N. in Henderson, Kentucky.
A recent addition to Audubon State Park is Audubon Wetlands, sandwiched between the State Park off of Highway 41 and the Ohio River. Take a right onto Wolf Hills Road, drive about a half mile down the road and you’ll spot a large gravel parking area to the left with a sign for the park. The trail is dog-friendly and has both dirt, gravel, and boardwalk as surfaces. This area can flood very easily, but it’s a nice, remote area that is way under utilized and a good way to mix up where you’re hiking
Canoe Creek Nature Trail
For some major off-leash time and no crowds, our favorite is Canoe Creek Nature Trail. The trail begins with a paved walkway that is great for a short walk with children or even a stroller, but shortly after, the pavement ends and a whole network of trails begins for 2.1 miles. The trail difficulty is moderate with some rolling hills that take you through the woods and fields following a creek perfect for your dog to cool off.
During the winter and spring, the trail can flood and become a muddy mess. During the summer, the trails through field areas can become overgrown and are not well-maintained. But, we feel Canoe Creek is worth it because it’s miles of undisrupted off-leash running perfect for our dogs. To access the Canoe Creek, enter Newman Park Recreational Complex located on Sand Lane. Signage marks the entrance of the trail, which is located at the very back of the parking lot beside the soccer fields.
Sandy Lee Watkins Park
Another favorite of ours without crowds and perfect for a nice, long off-leash run is Sandy Lee Watkins Park.
If you’re looking for miles of paved walking or running trails with easy access to open fields, creeks, and lakes, Sandy Lee is your place. Located at 16040 Zion Road in Henderson, this park is a dog’s paradise. I rarely ever see a car in the parking lot and if so, it’s to use the playground at the start of the trail. It’s another hidden gem that’s rarely used by the community meaning it’s perfect to burn some English Setter energy with off-leash romping.
Henderson River Walk
Henderson’s River Walk is absolutely gorgeous all year long and a perfect place to walk your dog as long as they stay on a leash. The paved walking path is about three miles long and follows the Ohio River. The views of the river, beautiful homes, and the old bridge is worth the visit! There are doggy bag dispensers along the trail and a recently-installed dog water fountain (turned off during the winter and most of spring).
Angel Mounds State Historic Site
Angel Mounds’ hiking trails are a hot spot for dogs and their owners. Rightfully so, because the wide, open wooden trails are a cool getaway along the Ohio River. Dogs areasked to be leashed, but you often see owners with well-trained dogs off leash until they approach another dog because of the vastness of the trails. This area can flood in the winter and spring months. It’s a gorgeous hike through the woods! Avoid the weekends or after work hours to avoid crowds.
Looking for a Longer Trip?
Check out Grapevine Lake Park in Madisonville, Kentucky, Pennyrile State Forest Park, located in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, or Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area for more hiking trails and opportunities to enjoy the outside with your dog!
Need More Ideas?
If your pup still needs some leash work and hiking trails can be a bit stressful – try Henderson’s local, open to the public dog park.
Community Park and Dog Park
On the weekends, head to Community Park dog park to see this area bustling with dogs. The dog park is about one acre of fenced in grassy area for your dogs or puppies to roam and run off-leash. It is well-maintained and mowed regularly. There are two fenced in areas – one for large dogs and one for small dogs or puppies. Dogs can drink from the dog water fountain, but be sure to pack your own water during the cold months (winter and most of spring) when the fountain is shut off. There is a picnic table available for seating and a doggy bag dispenser to clean up after your dog. The dog park is located at Community Park, 1776 Madison St., Henderson, Kentucky. Your GPS can deceive you with this address so pay attention.
Check out the Facebook page I created to meet up with other dog owners to ensure your dog will have a playmate when you arrive.