Rails, Trails and Puppy Dog Tails
With all the fabulous places to visit across Bruce County, some may wonder where they can take their beloved pooch on a family outing, especially if you’re visiting and unsure where dogs are permitted. Yes, we all know Sauble Beach does not allow pets on both the First Nation side nor the northern Municipal sideYet fear not dear readers, we have compiled a quick list for your pooch walking pleasure.
PS: Watch out for the Poop Patrol!
Number one, a fact is that all service animals are allowed everywhere a human can go, just make sure to have your card and have the animal in the proper jacket. Now, let me give a few options for Sauble Beach visitors right away. My favorite spot nearby is the spectacular Sauble Falls just north of Sauble Beach 10 minutes by car. It's a location you can spend the whole afternoon letting your dog (on a leesh) cool off in the water while basking in the sun together along Sauble River. There's paid parking, canoe and paddle boat rentals and, a great slushi spot at the corner store across the road.
If you’re in the Kincardine area why not mosey on over to the park trails down by the serene Lake Huron. With 28 kms of trail in all, Fido is certain to love breathing in the fresh air, long meandering stroll and spending time with you, while you enjoy the historical sights Kincardine has to offer; the lighthouse, The Walker House and a beautiful palette of flora and fauna. The terrain in mixed, broadwalk, gravel and wood. Take a lunch and stop at one of the picnic areas. There's even a Kincardine Dog Park located off Bruce Avenue, between the Cemetery and the ball diamond in the corner of a soccer field.
Just a 30 minute drive north of Kincardine on Highway 21 is Port Elgin. The expanding town isn’t just for those looking to soak up some sun on its soft sandy beach, or dock their boats at the bustling Marina; no, there’s a bevy of trails ribboned throughout Port Elgin, with two trails bridging the gap between Port Elgin and Southampton - the oldest port in Bruce County and just a 10 minute drive north.
The Map below shows the location of the Saugeen Shores Off the Leesh Dog Park in Port Elgin.
The Saugeen Rail Trail is just that, using the rail bed of a line first built in the 1860’s. There are several starting points for your canine in Port Elgin; the main one is on River St just east of downtown. The Rail Trail is nicely groomed with gravel, has a wide breadth for crossing paths with other pooch families. It’s also great for those with limited mobility. With its relatively flat terrain and strict no motor vehicle rule, The Rail Trail is ideal for young families with independent eager children and those, both dog and person, who move at a relaxed pace.
Another way for your family and Fido to make your way north to Southampton is by way of the newly paved North Shore Rd Trail, also known as The Miramichi Bay Rd Trail. This trail is a road miniaturized. Two designated lanes, complete with chevrons to point you in the right direction, run the length from Port Elgin’s main beach to the edge of Southampton. You can bike, rollerblade, take the chariot or simply walk. This winding and sometimes hilly trail leads the user through a hodgepodge of scenery; rocky shores, marshland, sandy beaches, thick clusters of cedar trees and some pretty desirable real estate.
For the more adventurous, both family and Fido, may find a hike along the Bruce Peninsula Trail for you. Stretching from Wiarton to Tobermory, this trail often includes rugged terrain. Smaller children and those with limited mobility may find this excursion a bit too much. But if you’re up to the task you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking cliff views, crystalline blue waters of Georgian Bay, and flora and fauna that’s not to be missed. The entire trail runs about 170 kms, but you can take one of the smaller sections such as a Bruce Trail side trail at the Spirit Rock Conservation area that leads to ruins of the "Corran" (flickr photo link) and impressive views from the top of the Niagara Escarpment.
As with any venture to the great outdoors safety measures should taken to ensure everyone has a great time. Good sturdy shoes, bottled water, a cell phone (but don’t count on getting any wi-fi), a map of your desired trail, sunscreen and hat for those sunny days and always go with a buddy. Safety first, folks!
Having a dog as part of your family gives you the opportunity to explore and enjoy nature in a unique way. If you’re taking your dog with on your next vacation to Bruce County consider one of these trails in your trip itinerary.