Dog-Walking Near Atlanta
Parks and Recreation Areas
W. H. Reynolds Nature Preserve
Welcome to one of the best parks in the Atlanta areaand it seems to be our little secret for now. Every time I visit, I wonder why so few people have discovered this gem, which boasts four delightful small lakes, lush gardens, and cool, winding trails through the woods.
You'll find two areas to park at the preserve. Leave the lot by the Nature Center for non-hiking visitors and park by the trailhead.
Take the path from the parking lots across the creek, where waterloving dogs like Bandit are in heaven. The path meets up with the 1.5-mile Brookside Trail, which winds around all of the lakes. Numerous side trails of varying lengths can round out a full afternoon. The park is heavily wooded but still gets pretty muggy in the summer, so I tend to go in the spring and fall. If you and your pup get really hot, cool off in the air-conditioned building at the Nature Center. You can also park in the shade, so you won't be returning to an overheated car.
One of the side trails off the Brookside Trail goes over Black Mountain, the second highest point in Clayton County. Take the Brookside Trail to the right at the entrance for a more gradual climb up to Black Mountain. Laddie doesn't like uphill hikes, and he didn't complain until we backtracked once and took Black Mountain from the other direction. Leashes are required.
Hours are daily from 8:30 A.M. to dusk. From Atlanta, take Interstate 75 south to the Forest Parkway exit (Highway 331), south of Interstate 285. Turn left onto Forest Parkway. Turn right on Dixie Road/U.S. 41, then left on Pineridge Road, which becomes Reynolds Road. The park is on your right.
Shopping in Morrow
Petsmart: Besides offering a wide assortment of pet food and supplies, Petsmart sponsors training classes you and your pooch can attend to pick up basic commands that will make both of you easier to live with. Petsmart has stores all over the city.
1986 Mount Zion Road, Morrow, GA 30260; (770) 478-0860.
Places to Stay
Red Roof Inn South: Room rates are $40 per night, with no extra charge for your pooch.
1348 South Lake Plaza Drive, Morrow, GA 30260; (770) 968-1483.
Parks and Recreation Areas
Rex Horse Ring Park
A myriad of horsey smells are sure to be the main attraction for your leashed pooch at this equestrian park. Just watch where she steps! Treat the horses with the same respect you would accord an 18-wheeler when you're driving a Volkswagen, because your dog will lose any confrontation. Be sure to bring plenty of water for you and your pooch, since it can get very hot and dusty as you walk around the horse rings and in the grassy fields. The park is surrounded by very large trees, but they're all located on the perimeter and provide no shade in the fields.
All the signs at the park claim that it's open daily from 9 A.M. to dusk, but you'll find the gate locked except during scheduled horse shows. It's much more interesting for your dog when the horses are around anyway. From the south side of Interstate 285, take Interstate 675 south toward Macon to exit 3 (Ellenwood, Panola Road, and Forest Parkway). Turn left off the interstate onto Panola Road. Turn right at the four-way stop onto Stagecoach Road. Turn left onto Rex Road, then right onto Wilkerson Road. The park is half a mile down on the left.
Walter Estes Rex Park
Any park with a name this grand had better be good, and sure enough, Bandit thinks he's found doggy heaven whenever we pay a visit to Walter Estes Rex Park. The park has two creeks, with fine water access at both. The creek at the back of this large park is more private, and you'll probably be the only ones there as your pooch splashes about. If your dog doesn't like water, take her on a walk in one of the fields or through the wooded area. Your leashed pooch might get lucky and find a stray ball behind the tennis courts, and will certainly enjoy sniffing the trees near the creek. Amenities for the two-legged set include baseball fields, a children's playground, and picnic pavilions and tables.
The park is open daily from 9 A.M. to 11 P.M. From the south side of Interstate 285, take Interstate 675 south toward Macon to exit 3 (Ellenwood, Panola Road, and Forest Parkway). Turn right off the interstate onto Forest Parkway. Turn left onto U.S. 23/Highway 42. After two miles, turn left onto Rex Road. The park is one mile down on the right.
Parks and Recreation Areas
Flat Shoals Park
There's something for every pooch here, whether she likes to play in the water, sniff in the woods, or run in the fields. As you drive into the park, lower your windows enough for your pup to get a good sniff while you pass through the lovely wooded area. Even Laddie, my wake-me-when-we-get-there dog, sticks his head out and breathes deeply, tail wagging. As you drive past fields and more woods, the road winds to a creek, which leads through the woods to a picnic area, past more fields, and finally to another creek at the end. Watch out for the speed bumps. They're the highest I've seen, and I heard every one of them scrape against the bottom of my Honda. If your car is built lower than average, park your car along the road and walk in. Leashes are required. Also at the park are volleyball nets, lots of baseball fields, football and soccer fields, basketball courts, and picnic areas.
Hours are daily from 8 A.M. to 11 P.M. From Atlanta, take Interstate 85 south past Interstate 285 and exit onto Flat Shoals Road, turning left. The park is on the left, between Highway 27g and Highway 314.
This small park doesn't get much use, but it has a lot to offer both you and your leashed pooch, including the Lamar Hutcheson Fitness Trail. The half-mile track offers some shade, but Bandit's black coat heats up quickly whenever he gets any sun. Carry water for your dog and he'll be more comfortable. The picnic area is heavily wooded and stays relatively cool even in the summer. Best of all for Bandit is the small creek in the back of the picnic area, which is deep enough for him to cool his pads. Unlike many park creeks, where getting your dog down to the water means taking a bath yourself, this creek has easy access for your pooch. Your human companions can enjoy several baseball fields, a football field, tennis courts, picnic pavilions, and a playground.
Park hours are daily from 8 A.M. to 11 P.M. From Atlanta, take Interstate 75 south of Interstate 285 to the Highway 85 exit. Turn right on Highway 85 and drive into Riverdale. Turn right on Bethsaida Road, and left onto Church Street. The park will be on your right.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication