Doggie Day Trip: No Expenses Necessary

10/22/2010:

Perfect weekend for a dog hike!

Great Outdoors Offers Free Sights, Spaces, and Smells

I wouldn’t call myself a selfish dog owner by any means, but I guess I’m not always listening to what my pooch Oscar wants. Sometimes it takes getting out of the city to realize what really makes him tick. Two weekends ago, I decided Oscar was not completely happy in this beautiful autumn weather just breaking loose for 20 yards in one of Hoboken’s dog parks. In the recent past, he’s gone to events where he can socialize with other dogs on leashes, but that doesn’t seem to do much for his soul either.

Now that the summer is over and Oscar is less lethargic from the heat – and more curious about the new smells of leaves and nuts on the ground – I thought he deserved a real trip to the outdoors.

I decided to take him up to Ringwood State Park, which is just a quick 45-minute drive from Hoboken. After all, in another month, I’m really not going to want to take him anywhere but the dog park. By then, the “real” outdoor trails will be full of puddles, ankle-twisting pitfalls and roots covered with leaves, and maybe even snow.

These factors make October the perfect time to hit the trails, and this weekend in particular (October 23rd-24th) will be ideal because the weather is predicted to be beautiful (especially tomorrow). I suggest you take your dogs out to check out these sights and smells.

Our Ringwood State Park hike was the best decision I made for Oscar all year. For a change, he was off his leash (and overjoyed about it), and got to run off a little into the woods to sniff and explore, and then re-join me to be the “trail-blazer.”

It was great to watch him frolic and enjoy the smells and sounds of the outdoors, which we too often discount as a great human pleasure as well. Just watching Oscar, I appreciated my surroundings much more. At Ringwood, there are lots of streams, so Oscar did his share of splashing around. I prepared myself by bringing a towel, and going with the understanding that the car might need a really good cleaning afterwards. Surprisingly, I never even needed to use the towel – the fresh air seemed to clean Oscar up after a five-minute air-dry.

Finally, the best thing was that Oscar slept like a baby on the way back and all night after that – probably dreaming of squirrels and chipmunks we saw, and other cool odd sounds out in the woods. One other really nice thing about Ringwood was that quite a few massive grassy hills were perfect for playing fetch with a ball – so be sure to bring one.

At the end of the day, you and your dog will be happy and tired. A highly recommended hike.

Detailed Trail maps are available to purchase on-site – or take a look at this preview map for a general idea. Trails.com also offers a 14-day trial if you want to do further research. Finding a trail that leads to a pond is a fun choice. Gallery of photos below:

Enjoy!

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8 Comments on "Doggie Day Trip: No Expenses Necessary"

mooshu
Member
mooshu

Ha ha! Great photos of Oscar (and that Pug at the top)!

Thanks for all of this information, everyone. We’ve taken our amazing pup on hikes in Palisades park. So it’s wonderful to know that there are many more places throughout NJ to share with her!

lhoward222
Member
lhoward222
A) I take Trin-dog to Sandy Hook a lot. We go to Bay side and amount of room to run depends on tide. Check before you go. When tide is high (and b/c I prefer the ocean side) we break the rules and run off-leash on the shore side (on-leash allowed off-season). I’ve been stopped on ocean side by Nat’l Park Ranger and warned, but not ticketed. B) If heading down shore, also consider Mannasquan’s Fisherman’s Park which is a sanctioned off-leash river-side park. Parking lot off of 3rd street or find street parking. It takes about the same amount of time to get to Mannasquan as it does to Sandy Hook, but Sandy Hook has more room ocean-side if you are willing to break rule. Else, no one will hassle you off-leash in Mannasquan’s dog park. They will on Mannasquan’s ocean-side beaches. C) The park on Normal Road in Montclair is a small reserve, “The Mills,” that is popular with dog owners. Trin-dog and I go there often too, early (b4 9am) on weekend mornings b/c it can get crowded in parking lot, though mostly fine on trails. Also not technically off-leash, but many dogs are off-leash. And like in any ol dog park you have to keep an eye on how your dog is behaving when encountering another dog. Only takes us about 30 mins to do the loop, so we do twice. Trin-dog loves running off trail a lot. D) Up in Ringwood, NJ is the park… Read more »
escaped68
Member

The cooler the weather less people but this time of the year it is good especially the bay side is great. There might be one or two dogs but it is a huge area, and you can let your pup of the leash and let him or her run. One word of caution keep the dog away from the brushy areas PIOSON IVY he get it on his coat and your pet him and you got it, i learned the hard way.

escaped68
Member

This time of year a great place to run your dog is sandy hook.Go during the week and use the bay side there usually is no one to bother you.

iforgotmymantra
Member
iforgotmymantra

What’s it like on the weekends?[quote comment=”199105″]This time of year a great place to run your dog is sandy hook.Go during the week and use the bay side there usually is no one to bother you.[/quote]

Stabone130
Member

Montclair also has a great off-the-leash park off Normal Avenue (about 20 mins from Hoboken). Its a giant circle and takes about an hour to walk — gives pooches the opportunity to run around, explore the woods…..a great local park to try out!

iforgotmymantra
Member
iforgotmymantra

Is this park in Montclair full of other dogs? I don’t usually mind, but… in the summer I hauled my dogs all the way out to South Mountain Reservation off-leash park (South Orange) and it was like a convention of very large pitbulls (more than 1 to an owner). We literally got right back in the car and drove home. Just don’t want that to happen again. One pitbull= no problem. 8 pitbulls and 5 owners…sort of a problem IMO![quote comment=”199104″]Montclair also has a great off-the-leash park off Normal Avenue (about 20 mins from Hoboken). Its a giant circle and takes about an hour to walk — gives pooches the opportunity to run around, explore the woods…..a great local park to try out![/quote]

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