Top 5 Local Dog Friendly Hiking Trails

Written by

Chris Tipton

Written by

Chris Tipton

Chirs began working with Canine Revolution to help his dog's anxiety. It was through this training that Chris developed a passion for dog training and a desire to help other dog owners overcome similar obstacles.

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Today we are going to talk about our top 5 hiking trails in our local area.  

We enjoy visiting local hiking trails for distraction work and socialization.  I have been hiking since I was a child, and have always enjoyed hitting the trails.  There is something about being out in nature away from the busyness of the city.  I have always found peace and tranquility being outdoors and naturally like spending time outdoors with my dogs.  There are literally hundreds of hiking trails and walking paths in the area for our enjoyment. 

# 5: Sawmill Branch Trail in Summerville

The first trail making our list is the Sawmill Branch Trail in Summerville.  This trail is approximately 13.2 miles along the Sawbranch Canal.  The great thing about this trail is there are several entry points throughout Summerville to include multiple entrances from many Summerville neighborhoods. 

You can park at many of these entrances and walk whatever distance you want or walk the full thing.  The entire trail is paved and level, and we would consider this a low level difficulty in the hiking world.  We also would consider this a low to mid level distraction, depending on the time of day.  You can usually encounter other hikers, runners, bikers, and dogs.  This is a great starting point if you are just getting into hiking or long distance walks with your pup.

Learn more about Sawmill Branch Trail on Traillink.

Get Directions To Sawmill Branch Trail

# 4: Rosebrock Park in Summerville

The next trail on the list is Rosebrock Park in Summerville.  This trail is approximately 1.5 miles.  The entry to this park is located on Beech Hill Road.  There is a nice gravel parking lot with picnic tables and a restroom.  The trail itself would be considered low to moderate level difficulty. 

This trail is a trail through the woods, so it is not paved and there are elevation changes as well as uneven terrain.  This park is on about 70 acres of wetlands and takes you along the banks of the Ashley River.  This is also a low level distraction trail.  You may encounter runners, other hikers, and dogs, but encounters are usually slim.  I have gone many times and had the trail to myself.  I personally enjoy this trail because you can enjoy nature and scenery without having to drive too far from the city.

Get Directions To Rosebrock Park

# 3: North Charleston Wannamaker County Park

The next trail on the list is the North Charleston Wannamaker County Park.  This park also made the list for our top 5 dog parks.  We love this park because of the variety of distractions available.  As for the trails, there are about 2 miles of walking trails available, most of them are paved, but there is a side trail available through the woods that is not paved. 

This park is a mid to high level distraction depending on the time of day.  You can encounter walkers, runners, bikers, children, dogs, and a good bit of wildlife.  This trail is a low level difficulty trail.  Wannamaker provides you with the best options when it comes to distractions. 

I like to start at the dog park and work on dog distractions, then follow the trail to the playground, which is typically packed with kids and people running around.  From there I will walk the 1-mile loop.  Once you come out of the loop you can come out near the splash zone, where there is another good distraction opportunity.  This park is a great option to enjoy nature and get in some great distraction work.

Get Directions To North Charleston Wannamaker County Park

# 2: Wannamaker North Trails

The next trail on the list is the Wannamaker North Trails.  This trail is located in the Crowfield area of Goose Creek but is still a Charleston County Park.  Wannamaker North Trail offers a multitude of different trails totaling around 15 miles of trails.  I would consider these trails moderate to difficult depending on your experience.  This would be a low level distraction environment. 

It is very popular for local bikers so you may encounter the occasional mountain biker.  I am sure people bring their dogs to these trails but I typically run into very few.  There are plenty of wildlife distractions from squirrels, frogs, turtles, birds, and even snakes.  This is one of my favorite locations, providing you with a nice and peaceful walk in the woods, feeling truly removed from the hustle and bustle of the city.  This location is also great because it provides you with a lot of options. 

There are multiple trails varying in length but they all connect to each other.  The shortest is 1.75 miles and the longest is 8 miles.  You can pick and choose depending on your skill level and the time you have available.

Get Directions To Wannamker North Trail

# 1: John’s Island County Park

The trail that made number one on the list would be John’s Island County Park.  This is a park located on 738 acres and offers around 20 miles of hiking trails.  This park is an equestrian park so you can expect to encounter some horses as part of your distraction work.  This trail is easy to moderate in difficulty.  It is mostly level ground through the woods. 

This park is absolutely beautiful and is a joy to walk if you enjoy being out in nature.  And if you feel removed from the city here, it is because you are.  You can expect to run into other people, dogs, horses, and wildlife as far as distractions go.  There are also multiple trails available at this park offering varying distances.  There is also a 3D archery course available in this park that you can make pit stops at as you hike.  Based on the scenery, and seclusion from the city, this park takes the number one spot.  

Get Directions To John’s Island County Park

Hiking Safety & Preparedness

One thing I do want to shortly mention is safety and preparedness.  If you are new to hiking be sure to make preparations to set yourself up for success. Some of these trails like Wannamaker County Park and the Sawbranch Trail are pretty close to civilization.  Wannamaker also has amenities such as bathrooms and water fountains.  Many hiking trails and parks do not have amenities. 

You should always thoroughly research new locations you decide to go to.  I always look at the trail maps, calculate the distances, and take note of any landmarks along my planned route.  Be sure to begin hydrating and stay hydrated.  And don’t forget to include your dog when you are planning how much water to carry. 

I always try to carry a backpack with some water, food, cell phone charger, first aid kit, just to name a few things.  Some places are very remote and if you sprain an ankle or have an injury or even get lost, you want to make sure you have a plan ahead of time.  Also, understand how to read trails.  Most trails are marked by colored or shaped markers, which will be usually placed on trees every 100 feet or so.  Be sure not to zone out, as this can lead you to make a wrong turn or lead yourself off of your initially planned trail.  Do your research and set yourself up for success.

Conclusion

There are hundreds of trails for us to enjoy in our area.  Hiking with your dog is a great way to get in some distraction work but to also strengthen your bond.  These are my top 5 hiking trail list as it sits right now, but to be honest, this list always changes as new trails are discovered. 

If you like walking your dog and spending time outdoors in nature, I encourage you to try some of these trails, you won’t be disappointed.

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