Living close to Central Park definitely has it perks, especially when you are a dog parent. When the weather is good, my pug Hugo and I like to explore the many tucked-away trails and paths throughout the park that make you feel like you’re in the middle of a forest far, far away from the metropolis of Manhattan. Pugs have a reputation for being homebodies without much sense of adventure, but Hugo is far from that. Yes, he enjoys cuddles and lap naps from time to time, but once he’s outside, his wild side comes out and he’s ready to explore. Here’s a run-down of my pup’s favorite things about Central Park!
Ruffin’ it in the Ramble
A fun and somewhat secluded area to take your pup is inside the Ramble, a 36-acre area in the park that feels wild and secluded even though it’s easy to get from most parts of the park. Every year more than 42 million people visit Central Park so it’s nice to find hidden areas that feel like you have them all to yourself! I love the Ramble because of the dirt paths lined with trees and streams that feel like I’m doing serious hiking with Hugo. The Ramble is located north of 74th St. and south of 79th St. Dogs must be on leash at all times in the Ramble.
The North Woods
Go North Young Pug! When Hugo and I are really ambitious and the weather is good, we’ll head to the North Woods, located in Central Park’s northwest corner above 100th St. It is here where we feel the most secluded and at peace in the park. With fewer crowds than most anywhere else, walking along the trails in the North Woods really feels like you’ve been transported outside of the city, especially when walking through the Ravine where there’s even a waterfall! Dogs must be on leash at all times in the North Woods.
Posing for Pics at Summit Rock and Turtle Pond
If venturing out to remote places of the park is not your idea of fun, head to more accessible areas that are also great for taking photos like Turtle Pond or Summit Rock. These places are less remote, but great for photo ops. Both are a short walk from the W. 81st St entrance to the park. In the warmer months, you might even see a few turtles swimming around at Turtle Pond. There’s also a great view of Belvedere Castle from the pond.
Head to Summit Rock to catch a view of wooded slopes to the east while sitting and relaxing on the amphitheater-like stone steps. I like taking Hugo there during off-leash hours in the morning where he loves to play fetch. In the warmer months, there’s a water fountain that’s convenient for frequent water breaks when he needs to take a breather from chasing the ball around in the heat.
Slowing Down to Relax Completely
If you’re taking your dog out for a long walk in the summer months, make sure that your pup has plenty of water and rests often. When I go out with Hugo, I bring his bottle of water with a water dish attached. A number of water fountains are situated throughout the park, but bring water just in case you cannot find one near where you are walking. Also, there are many opportunities to just sit and relax underneath the shade of a tree or on a cool grassy area.
Central Park is Great Any Time of Year
No matter the season, your pup is sure to enjoy hiking around the park. From the snowy paths in winter, through the cherry blossoms in spring and the humidity of summer through the brilliant foliage in the fall, there’s lots of adventure to be had on two or four feet. Always check the weather before you go so that you and your pup can be prepared for anything.
A Final Tip from Hugo about Central Park
Central Park offers many dog-friendly areas for well-behaved pooches that have an NYC license tag and valid rabies tag. Please clean up after your dog, including hair that is brushed off in the park. Dogs must be on-leash at all times from 9am to 9pm. That said, they are allowed off-leash from the park’s opening at 6am until 9am, and again after 9pm until 1am when the park closes. Even during off-leash hours, some areas of the park require dogs be on leash at all times. For more information please visit the Central Parks website.