If you are looking for new places to exercise your dog in Grays Harbor, look no further than here. This list has eight incredible local places to walk that will satisfy your dog’s need for roaming, while giving you lovely scenery to gaze upon.

Don’t forget to bring your leash, your dog needs to be leashed on some of these trails, a bowl and water bowl for when you get back to the car (drinking from open water can give your dog bacteria, including e. coli), and of course, bags to pick up after your dog. This last one is so important. Keeping these trails clean will help ensure our dogs are welcome back for years to come.

#1 – Lake Swano Trail

Lake Swano Trail at Grays Harbor College is an easy, scenic loop trail around a quiet lake through a magnificent second-growth forest. At just 1.5 miles round trip, it’s perfect for those looking for a short walk. The Lake Swano Trail is also a gateway to other trails through the forest, including the Poggie Trail, Coastal Forest Trail, Nice Creek Trail, and Alder Creek Trail. The trail and wooden bridges and observation decks may be slick in wet weather, so watch your step.

Park in the lower lot of the campus near the Bishop Center.

#2 –  Johns River Wildlife Area

Grays Harbor Dog Friendly Walks
Kristine with her dog, Kimber, enjoying a quiet hike along the Cemetery Trail, Johns River Wildlife Area. Photo courtesy: Kristine Lowder

Johns River Wildlife Area covers more than 6,700 acres. A Discover Pass is required.  The local portion is 12 miles southwest of Aberdeen off Highway 105. It includes two hiking sites a few miles past Aberdeen: the River Dike Trail and the Cemetery Trail.

The Johns River Dike Trail is an easy, paved trail of about .57 miles one-way. It’s just off Highway 105 and Game Farm Road.

The Cemetery Trail is about four miles round trip. Head out of Aberdeen toward Westport on Highway 105. The undeveloped parking area at the trail head is on the left, just past the sign for Markham. If you hit the Ocean Spray plant, you’ve gone too far.

#3 – Elton-Bennet Nature Trail

The Elton-Bennet Nature Trail is located in Hoquiam’s only nature park on Grand Avenue and Sunset. You can cover it start to finish in less than thirty minutes. A nice place to get off the road with Fido if you’re heading to Sunset Memorial Park, Sunset Loop, and a good cardio workout. (I don’t recommend this site during the summer, as it sits smack in the middle of a mosquito farm.)

 #4 “Dog Marsh”

Grays Harbor Dog Friendly Walks
Kimber loves a brisk walk along Hoquiam’s “dog marsh.” Photo credit: Kristine Lowder

A favorite with local dog owners, “Dog Marsh” in Hoquiam is a graveled, short trail with a marsh in the middle. It’s also likely to host flocks of Canada geese and other waterfowl, so stick to the perimeter trail. Located on 8th Street, next to the Anderson-Middleton facility

This easy walk is within city limits but doesn’t feel like it. My good dog loves this place! (Pro tip: If you start near 8th Street and head east around the loop, you’re walking face-first into a sometimes biting wind off the water. Dress accordingly.)

#5 – Quinault Area Trails

Grays Harbor Dog Friendly Walks
Kimber enjoying a game of Frisbee on a Quinault trail. Photo credit: Kristine Lowder

Quinault as many trails, but be careful on this one. It’s easy to get confused. Leashed dogs are allowed on some Quinault area trails. It comes down to whether the trail is inside the national forest or the national park.

Leashed dogs are allowed on national forest trails – e.g., south shore side, like Falls Creek, Willaby Creek, and the Lakeshore Trails. Watch for fallen logs and other debris on the Lakeshore Trail. Also note that boardwalks on south shore trails are slick as glass when wet. Use caution.

Bark alert – dogs are not allowed on trails inside the national park, e.g., north shore trails like Irely Lake, Wolf Bar, Three Lakes, and Ellip Creek. Maybe that’s just as well, as these trails are more remote, rockier, and more challenging than south shore trails.

#6  – Bottle Beach

Grays Harbor Dog Friendly Walks
Dogs have miles to explore at Bottle Beach. Photo credit: Kristine Lowder

Bottle Beach in Westport is a wonderful place to explore with your dog. Seventy-five acres hugging 6,000 feet of shoreline and open tide flats. Again, watch those boardwalks in wet weather. Leashed dogs allowed only during hunting season, from November through February. Discover Pass required.

#7 – Makarenko Park

Makarenko Park in Cosmopolis is wonderful because it has mileage markers. So you know exactly how far you’ve walked. The one-mile loop is pretty, forested, and well-shaded. Cool on a warm day. And usually uncrowded. A great outdoor walk.

#8 – Lake Sylvia State Park

Lake Sylvia State Park in Montesano has five main hiking trails, 15,000 feet of freshwater shoreline, and all the cool scents your fur ball could ever want to sniff out. The park is quiet, restful, and thickly forested. A great place for you and Fido to explore. A Discover Pass is required


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