Seven Fido-Friendly Walks In Grays Harbor

Baby, it’s cold outside, but you and Fido need some outdoor exercise. Don’t let cold weather keep you or your dog cooped up during the winter months. Bundle up and explore these seven “Fido Friendly” trails in southwest Washington’s Grays Harbor County. Leashed dogs are welcome at all of these sites.

Kimber and Kristine at John's River Wildlife, Six 'Fido Friendly' Walks in Grays Harbor


1. Johns River Wildlife Area 

There’s plenty of room to roam in the Johns River Wildlife Area. It covers more than 6,700 acres and includes two access sites nestled between Markham and Ocosta. The cemetery trail is located on the east side of the river, just before the Ocean Spray plant.

Fringed with alders and evergreens, the trail is wide and well-shaded. It leads to an old pioneer cemetery atop a lonely, green-garbed hillside overlooking Johns River. It’s about four miles round trip.

John's River, Six 'Fido Friendly' Walks in Grays Harbor

Head out of Aberdeen toward Westport on Highway 105. The unpaved parking area at the trailhead is on the left. Keep a sharp eye out as it’s easy to miss. When you see the sign for Markham you’re getting close. If you hit the Ocean Spray plant, you’ve gone too far.

A Discover Pass is required.

Vance Creek Pond, Six 'Fido Friendly' Walks in Grays Harbor


2. Vance Creek County Park

135 Wenzel Slough Rd, Elma

A paved walking trail necklaces a pond with some of the best family-friendly fishing in the county. With plenty of trees, picnic shelters and a small beach area, this park is also a great place to explore with your dog. It’s delightful on a perfect afternoon when the wind nips tree hems and the fish are biting under a flawless cyan sky.

The park is named after Joseph Alexander Vance. He founded the Vance Lumber Company in the late 1800s. 

Vance Creek County Park is located adjacent to Highway 12, near the Elma Municipal Airport.

Kristine standing by Lake Quigg at Friends Landing, Six 'Fido Friendly' Walks in Grays Harbor


3. Friends Landing

300 Katon Road

Friends Landing is an outdoor waterfront access facility owned and operated by the Port of Grays Harbor. It offers 152 acres of recreation opportunities on the Chehalis River just outside Montesano. Leash up your four-legged companion and take a turn around the 1.7 mile lake trail. It’s a quiet, easy stroll around Lake Quigg. The paved, bridged trail meanders through wetland marsh, woods, meadow and more. Be aware that high tides in Grays Harbor can put sections of the trail under water.

Kimber at Lake Sylvia, Six 'Fido Friendly' Walks in Grays Harbor

4. Lake Sylvia State Park

1813 Lake Sylvia Road

A Discover Pass is required.

Nestled between Olympia and the coast, Lake Sylvia State Park offers a 5-mile loop trail through a rustic campground, over wetlands and through a small covered bridge. Park trails connect to hiking and biking trails in the 5,000-acre Montesano City Forest surrounding the park. There are lots of rustic sights and smells for you and your furball to enjoy! Open year-round.

Kimber and Kristine at Grayland Beach, Six 'Fido Friendly' Walks in Grays Harbor


5. Grayland Beach State Park

Highway 105

A Discover Pass is required.

This 412-acre park offers beautiful ocean frontage with lots of little beach trails. Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach and at the campgrounds. It is often less crowded than Westport-area beaches. This park is located 5 miles south of Westport. It’s open year-round for camping and day use. It closes at 5:00 p.m. in winter.

Elton Bennett Park sign, Six 'Fido Friendly' Walks in Grays Harbor


6. Elton Bennett Park

Grand Avenue, Hoquiam

This small park is named after local artist Elton Bennett, whose work depicted the feral beauty of the Pacific Northwest coast. Hoquiam’s only nature park, it includes a short interpretive trail that meanders over a creek through dense foliage. The trail switchbacks up to Sunset Memorial Park and is just under half a mile long. This is a nice place to get off the road with Fido.

Kimber at Makarenko Park, Six 'Fido Friendly' Walks in Grays Harbor


7. Makarenko Park

A former equestrian center, this off-the-beaten path park features a 1-mile trail that encircles the park’s perimeter. Its 39 acres include a couple of large open soccer fields in the middle. There are great places to toss a frisbee with your furry friend! 

The loop trail is quiet and well-shaded. Mileage markers are posted at every one-tenth of a mile, so you know exactly how far you’ve walked. Please note that a Discover Pass is required at state parks. Kindly comply with leash laws and remember to clean up after your dog in any outdoor venue. Don’t forget water and a bowl for Fido.

There’s no reason to stay cooped up inside during inclement weather. With a little advance planning, you and your dog can get outside and enjoy some exercise and fresh air. You’ll both feel better after spending some time in the great outdoors!

Marenko Park Trail Sign, Six 'Fido Friendly' Walks in Grays Harbor
Lake Sylvia, Six 'Fido Friendly' Walks in Grays Harbor
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Kristine Lowder

An avid hiker and third generation Rainieraholic, Kristine Lowder is also a voracious reader and multi-published author. When not out on the trails, Kristine writes book reviews for several media outlets. Her idea of "paradise" is a sun-soaked day atop Mazama Ridge with her husband, Chris, or hiking most anywhere with her Border Collie mix, Kimber the Magnificent. Follow Kristine on Instagram: @mtnaerie You can read her blog Pages & Paws or find her on Facebook at Kristine Lowder, Writer

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