We love to hike and spend time with our dogs, so why not combine the two?
Living in New York City, we sometimes forget just how close we live to beautiful mountains, lakes and hiking trails. A serene destination only 45 minutes away from Manhattan offers dog-friendly hiking trails, several lakes, picnic areas and incredible views. That destination is Ramapo Valley County Reservation in Mahwah, NJ.
We take our dogs on this hike several times a year, however this June, we wanted to extend the invitation to a few of our friends and their dogs to spend the day there. We turned it into a dog meetup-picnic-hike-swim-romp extravaganza and everyone was excited for their first visit to Ramapo Reservation!
For this adventure, you will need:
towels, dog life jackets (if you have), lunch, sneakers and/or water shoes, drinking water, sunscreen and any dog toys you wish to bring
Step 1: Arrive at the Parking Lot:
If you type “Ramapo Reservation” into Google Maps, you will arrive at this address. There is plenty of parking throughout the day, and it’s free! Find your friends/fellow dogs and head to the route. The only bathrooms are by the parking lot, so I suggest you do your business before heading up. Luckily for the dogs, they are able to go wherever they please!
Step 2: Head to the Trail:
The hike from the parking lot to the Upper Lake is approximately 1 mile at a slight incline. This hike is appropriate for people of all ages, children and especially dogs. The entire trail is marked, very wide and self-navigatable.
Step 3: Arrive at the Upper Lake:
You can’t miss it – the views are beautiful and you will most likely see dozens of other dogs already in the water for a swim! Please note: the signs around the lake say “NO SWIMMING” however, everyone still swims in the lake with their dogs without getting in any trouble.
Step 4: Set Up Your Picnic/Lounging Area:
Choose a spot surrounding the lake to set up towels or a blanket where you can safely keep your possessions and snacks while you take a dip. Of course you should expect other dogs to come sniffing if you have food that is left out, so beware!
Step 5: Take a Dip:
Your dogs will thank you later. This lake is the perfect spot for them to get acclimated to the water at their own pace. Plenty of sticks and discarded tennis balls can be found to have a great game of water fetch with your pooch. They will even make friends and want to stay in the water longer than you thought! If your dog has a life jacket, this would be a good spot for them to wear it, as the water can get pretty deep if they swim out far.
Step 6: Have a Picnic:
After swimming and playing, you’re bound to get hungry. Our group brought a potluck picnic to share and enjoyed it on our blankets while the dogs continued to play in the water and surrounding areas. Keep in mind, there are no garbages at the lake, so be sure to take any trash back with you!
Step 7: Time for a Photoshoot!
You can thank me later. The backdrop at Ramapo Reservation is beautiful, so why not have a pawfect photoshoot with your pups before heading home?
The photos in this article feature the following instagram pups:
@puppynamedcharlie, @montydoodledoo, @ralphiethecockapoo, @littlehollysbigworld, @baileydoodle, @teddygramnyc, @kodydoodle, and @runningwithriley