Dog Friendly Hiking Trails in Flint

December 13th, 2021 by

The Flint area has several opportunities for pet-friendly recreation. Most Michigan state parks and state-designated trails are pet-friendly. Pets are not allowed in areas that are protected for endangered species or in designated swimming areas. Signage is typically posted in park areas that are not pet-friendly. Any time you’re taking Fido along to a park, remember that most areas require pets to be on a six-foot leash at all times. Owners should always come prepared with waste bags to clean up after their pets.

If you’re ready to hit the trail with your pet for anything from a pleasant stroll to a challenging hike, we have some suggestions for you.

Flint River Trail

The Flint River Trail runs from the University of Michigan-Flint to Mott Lake. The trail also features a segment that veers off to Stepping Stones Falls, from which you can follow the road and pick up the Flint River Trail again going north to Genesee village. The Flint River Trail runs along the Flint River with portions on both sides of the picturesque waterway.

This is a very urban hiking experience, as the trail meanders through neighborhoods and city parks. From Gilkey Creek, you can take a path through Kearsley Park to Mott College. The trial also extends from the University of Michigan west into Carriage Town. The Flint River Trail is particularly popular among cyclists, but it is open to walkers and leashed pets as well.

Kelly Lake Park

Kelly Lake Park features a 1-mile trail that’s perfect for taking an easy stroll with your dog. It’s a popular loop for running or walking, so you can easily take the paved path at the pace that works best for you. The trail circles a lake that’s also popular for boating and fishing. A nearby hill provides the perfect spot for sledding in winter, making this a great trail for people-watching.

Holly Recreation Area

If you’re interested in a more rugged hiking experience, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for an adventure with your pet in the Holly Recreation Area. This area encompasses over 8,000 acres of woodlands and fields as well as three lakes. The trails in this park include:

  • Holly-Lakeshore Trail: 2.4 miles with trailheads at the Overlook Shelter and Lakeshore Trailhead parking lot. Includes opportunities for shoreline fishing.
  • Holly-McGinnis Lake Nature Trail: A short 0.25-mile trail, this moderate hike features interpretive signage highlighting historical and natural features.
  • Holly-Whispering Pines Nature Trail: This trail spans 0.75 miles and includes historical and natural interpretive signage.
  • Holly-Wilderness Trail: Ideal for a long hike, this 7-mile route covers wetlands, prairies, pine forests, and woodlands. It is often frequented by skiers and mountain bikers.

The Holly Recreation Area also features a pet-friendly shoreline south of the swimming beach on Heron Lake. Pets are allowed as long as they are kept on a six-foot leash at all times and kept out of designated bathing/swimming areas.

With two conveniently located campgrounds, this is a great destination when you want to take a weekend away with your pet.

Ortonville Recreation Area

The Ortonville Recreation Area covers 5,400 acres that are primarily covered in wooded hills. The recreation area features three trails. This includes a 2.5-mile cross-country skiing trail and a 6.5-mile equestrian and snowmobiling trail. For your dog-friendly hike, the best option is the 2.5-mile hiking and mountain biking trail. This trail is located in Bloomer #3, accessible from State Park Road.

The park offers an equestrian campground that’s available on a first-come, first-serve basis. For day use, you can find 300 parking spaces near Big Fish Lake with easy access to picnic areas, horseshoe pits, a playground, and restrooms.

Rose Oaks County Park

Rose Oaks County Park offers 640 acres of wooded uplands, spacious meadows, and beautiful glacial lakes. Nearly a third of the landscape is marshlands with nearly a dozen lakes and ponds dotting the park. The trails here include the 1.67-miles Richardson Loop and 1.69-mile Esler Loop. Expect a great deal of equestrian traffic in this area, and come prepared with the proper footwear for getting muddy.

Geocachers will find a few treasure hunts that they can pursue in the park as they explore these trails. The park also features a vault toilet. There are several picnic tables both at the entrance to the park and scattered along the trails. This is the perfect destination for taking your dog along for a scenic stroll and an alfresco lunch enjoying the scenery.

Sleepy Hollow State Park

You have more than 2,600 acres to explore in Sleepy Hollow State Park. This includes a 410-acre lake. There is a dog-friendly area along Lake Ovid that’s about 100 yards north of the swimming beach where you can stroll with leashed pets.

The park has 16 miles of hiking and biking trails. The park also has 6.5 miles of trails for horseback riding and dog sledding, giving you a unique opportunity for winter fun with your pet. Other activities in the park include camping, fishing, disc golf, metal detecting, and boating. If you’re looking for a pet-friendly destination that can accommodate a variety of family-friendly activities, Sleepy Hollow State Park is a great choice near Flint, Michigan.

Southern Links Trailway

The Southern Links Trailway covers 10.2 miles, offering plenty of length for you to cover with your pet. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy supports this among its network of 1,600 rail-trails around the nation in an effort to form a nationwide walking path comprised of former rail lines with connecting corridors. The surface includes both an asphalt pathway and some areas of woodchips. You can access this path at:

  • Water Street and First Street in Columbiaville.
  • Milling Community Schools at Cardinal Drive and Cleason Street in Millington.

Did we include your favorite pet-friendly hiking trails around Flint, Michigan, on our list? If we missed out on a great spot, contact our team at Applegate Chevrolet and let us know! We love keeping up with the latest local recommendations so we can pass them along to our customers when they’re driving off the lot.

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