11 Great Parks and Trails Around Western MA for Dogs
Western Massachusetts is well known for its scenery filled with rolling hills and many forests. Thanks to this, its communities have lots of wonderful parks and trails to bring your dog. Or better yet, friends and family and their dogs too!
We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite parks and trails that are great for some outdoor adventures. Many parks have shorter trails that are great for low energy or older dogs like to stop to sniff the flowers. Larger parks and state reservations have many trails for people and dogs of all energy levels, and they usually have fantastic views, too. We recommend visiting your favorite spots many times and have a different experience with each trip.
1. Forest Park, Springfield
Photo by Giuseppe Liquori
This is often the first place people think of when they're looking for outdoor activities in Springfield. The park is well known for Bright Nights, the baseball fields, and other amenities. But Forest Park also has great trails that through the forest and provide a wonderful view of Porter Lake. You might even see a deer, just like one of our handlers did on their recent visit. Forest Park is home to lots of wildlife. There are many signs posted around the park with information about the birds and wetland critters that live in the park. There are also maps posted across the park in case you need them to find your way around. View the the Forest Park map here.
2. Robinson State Park, Feeding Hills, Agawam
Robinson State Park has plenty of trails and amenities that make it a great place to visit for groups of all ages and activities levels. There are typical park facilities like paved bike trails, restrooms, a pavilion, and grills for cooking. Dogs are more than welcome and we’re sure many pups would love to explore the many miles of trails that wind through the 800 acres of park. As an added benefit, off road vehicles are prohibited from using the trails, keeping the trail safer for pedestrians and their pets. Bicycles are still allowed on the trails, however, so you’ll still need to keep an eye out. Horses are also allowed on the trails, but are much less common.
View the Robinson State Park map here.
3. Heritage Park, East Longmeadow
Heritage Park is not far from Daragan’s Dog Care. It is a bit small compared to the other entries on this list, but it more than makes up for it with its neighborhood charm. This park is popular with families thanks to its playground, sports fields, and a pond filled with small fish and geese. It’s also popular with dog owners because there is a trail around the pond for your dog to explore and there's a fenced-in dog park.
There’s no map available for Heritage Park, likely because of its size, but you can see the whole park on Google Maps.
4. Mittineague Park, West Springfield
Mittineague Park in West Springfield is another park nestled in a neighborhood across the river from Robinson State Park. There are park amenities, but dog owners will love the three mile long nature trail. It features rocky creeks, a stone bridge, and 23 interpretive sites. By downloading the self-guided nature trail, you can learn about the history and natural landmarks of the park at these 23 sites. The first acorn on this trail is the Aschenbach Farm, a 62-acre farm dating back to before the American Revolution. The trail leads you through a meadow that was once the farm’s pasture. You can also learn about the local wildlife, plants, and other landmarks as you explore with your pooch.
5. Chicopee Memorial State Park, Chicopee
Commonly used for high school cross-country meets, Chicopee Memorial State Park has over 20 miles of trails and over 500 acres of land in total - plenty of land to explore with your pup! The trails here are also popular with mountain bikers, who typically stick to the bike trails, but you should always be aware that they might be around. There is also a healthy heart trail, Snake Boot Trail, which is designated by the state as an easy trail perfect for hikers and dogs of all ages and energy levels. Of course, our high energy pups will also love the other trails winding their way through the sand pits along Cooley Brook.
You can download a trail map and find more information here.
6. Hampden Memorial Park, Hampden
Hampden Memorial Park is a popular option for those that know about it. The park itself is great for families, thanks to the Spray Park and playground. Dogs are also very much welcome here and they’ll love the trails that wind their way through the woods. There are two trails that are great for dogs. The first is Westbrook Trail, which is just under a mile long and considered an easier hike. The Goat Rock Trail is much longer and can also be accessed via Gerrish Park. Goat Rock Trail is over two miles long and also includes great view points that overlook the surrounding area. There’s Lookout Point in the east and the trail’s namesake Goat Rock, in the west. Another bonus is that motorized vehicles are banned, making the trails safer for hikers.
There are trail maps posted at the park for reference.
7. Stanley Park, Westfield
Stanley Park in Westfield is a private park run by a non-profit organization and is a fantastic destination for the whole family. Dogs are welcome at the park, of course, but they must be leashed and aren’t allowed in certain areas. Despite this, it is still absolutely worth it to bring your pup. There are 300 acres of forested areas filled with wildlife and ponds to explore. The park’s Wildlife Sanctuary makes up 229 acres of the park and includes managed trails along the Little River, which you can see on their map here. There are also many ponds and even dinosaur tracks to discover, which kids will love if you bring them along too! The Colonial Era Village is also a great place to experience some local history and provides some great photoshoot opportunities!
8. Mount Tom State Reservation, Holyoke
This list would be incomplete without Mount Tom in Holyoke. Local folklore says that the mountain was named after Rowland Thomas, a surveyor working for Springfield in the 17th century. His colleague, Elizur Holyoke, gave his name to the nearby Mount Holyoke.
Mount Tom is a fantastic option for those looking for trails ranging from easy to difficult. There are 2,000 acres of parkland and plenty of fantastic views to discover. Arguably the best attraction on Mount Tom is the Eyrie House Ruins, which sits at the top of Mount Nonotuck. There are also many lookout towers to find along other trails that provide their own amazing views. Like Chicopee State Park, there is a designated Healthy Heart Trail. The one here is the Bray Loop Trail, which is rated as “easy” and is 1.6 miles long.
Mountain bikes and motorized vehicles are prohibited from the trails, making them safer for you and your pups. You can find a trail map and recommended trails here.
9. Mount Holyoke Range State Park, Amherst
Fans of Robert Frost will certainly want to visit Mount Holyoke Range State Park. The legendary American poet taught at nearby Amherst College for two decades and loved spending time outdoors. Frost was inspired by New England’s natural beauty and the “Through the Eyes of Robert Frost” self-guided trail is dedicated to his legacy. The trail is about 4 miles and will likely take over an hour to complete.
This state park is over 3,000 acres that also covers 7 miles of mountain ridge line that extends into Skinner State Park in Hadley. If you visit, you should be aware that mountain biking and hunting are all allowed, so wear bright colored clothing, and dogs must remain on leash. However, there are over 30 miles of trails for you and your dogs to explore and definitely worth a trip. Find the trail map and self guided hiking opportunities here.
10. Skinner State Park, Hadley
Mt. Holyoke Range State Park is contiguous to Skinner State Park and could almost be a single entry on this list. What makes Skinner State Park stand out, however, is that it was once the home of a prestigious hotel, known as the Summit House, that is now used for a summer concert series. The Summit House is unfortunately closed during the summer of 2022 for inspection purposes, but we look forward to it being reopened! The views it provides are gorgeous.
The park itself offers over 40 miles of hiking trails, which includes a self-guided geology tour for those interested in natural history. And like Mount Tom and Mount Holyoke, there are plenty of scenic vistas to find and soak in the natural beauty of Western Massachusetts and get some Instagram worthy pics of your dogs!
11. Minnechaug Mountain, Hampden
Minnechaug Mountain is a conservation area owned by the Town of Hampden, with events and programs facilitated by the Minnechaug Land Trust. In total, the conservation area encompasses 273 acres and is home to 8 marked trails that cross the area and intersect with each other. The Goat Rock Trail is also protected by the same land trust. Each trail provides their own unique experience and you can choose one that’s right for you and your dog or cross over to another trail to create your own experience. For example, the Old Coach Trail is the flattest trail, but also the longest, and intersects the Wood Trail, Algonquin Trail, and Bob’s Trail. The Billy Goat trail, on the other hand, is short and steep for those that are looking for great views. You can read more about all of the trails and view a map here.
We hope you and your dogs enjoy the places on this list! If you're interested in our daycare and boarding services, please get in touch.