Pemberwick Park

Corner of Pemberwick Road & Moshier Street
Greenwich, CT 06830

Website: https://www.greenwichct.gov/facilities/facility/details/Pemberwick-Park-21

Activities: Walking, Hiking, Dog Socializing, Off Leash

Last Visit: 2020

Notes: A parking lot off Pemberwick Rd. was recently added. The meadow in the back is used by many local residents as an “unofficial off-leash area,” but this is not technically allowed and the field is not fenced.

Pemberwick park is our “home park.” We live a short walk away visit it frequently. The main portion of the park is comprised of a large baseball and soccer field adjacent to an enclosed basketball and tennis courts.

The charm of this park are its less visited trails and large meadow. As mentioned in the notes, the meadow located in the back of the park, past the playground along Pemberwick Road, is the local unofficial off-leash dog park. Many nearby residents take their dogs their early in the morning for a quick run. It’s important to note however that the only fence is along the busy road and it is in very poor shape with many breaks. If you intend to let your dog run here, please be sure you have it under good voice control and it’s common courtesy to use a leash if other people are present.

There are trails that run behind the fields and all the way to Weaver Street where there is a second small park. Despite the modest size (around 8 acres), this little wood is very lovely and quiet with a babbling brook running through the middle.

Taylor Farm Dog Park (Calf Pasture Beach)

Calf Pasture Beach Rd
Norwalk, CT 06855

Website: ???

Activities: Walking, off leash, dog swimming

Last Visit: 2015

Notes: On our last visit the off leash area was mostly unfenced and uncomfortably close to traffic.

Admittedly it has been a long time since we visited here, but we had a negative experience and never returned. The off leash area is large and beautiful – with a big pond at one end dogs could swim in, a rolling meadow in the middle and some woods along the north side.

Unfortunately, the lack of fencing and surrounding busy streets lead to some issues (the day we were there even the streets through the park were busy and traffic tended to move uncomfortably fast through them).

The final issue was the adjacent picnic area – some unfortunate young souls tried to have a bbq which every dog in the vicinity immediately swarmed as soon as the meat hit the grill.

All told, it was not a very relaxing off leash dog experience. We left fairly quickly and made the trip to Cranbury Park which was much more enjoyable for us.

I will make it a point to re-vist this location in the near future to see if conditions have improved.

Greenwich Dog Park & Grass Island

Grass Island Road
Greenwich, CT 06830

Website: https://www.greenwichct.gov/facilities/facility/details/Grass-Island-Dog-Park-12
https://www.greenwichct.gov/facilities/facility/details/Grass-Island-13

Activities: Off leash, dog socializing, dog swimming, walking

Last Visit: 2019

Notes: Please review Dog Park rules here. Keep an eye on your dog – both to pickup waste and to make sure he or she doesn’t start digging. The park is built on top of an artificial berm that was made with construction rubble and trash in the mid-20th Century. Dogs that dig may turn up broken glass, porcelain or re-bar.

The Greenwich Dog Park at Grass Island was our first dog park experience and we have many happy memories here.

Yes, the dog park is dirty.
Yes, the dog park is too small.
Yes, it’s built on top of a literal hill of 50 year old garbage.
Yes, it overlooks the sewage treatment plant (though it rarely smells too bad…)

But this dog park has heart! Most people you meet here are super friendly and sociable. There is also a dedicated group of volunteers that spruces the place up and lobbies the towns for improvements.

There is a large dog and a small dog side. Bags are provided, as is water in the summer (a spigot is located by the front gate) and usually an assortment of balls and toys. There are several benches to sit on inside the dog run.

Behind the dog park are some trails leading down to the water by the boat club. You can walk all the way around the loop that takes you to a scenic point at the tip of the marina. Be careful of fishermen.

Many people take their dogs for a quick dip (to cool off or wash off) after a visit to the dog park. You can either do this in the park area by the boat club or at the boat-launch in the marina.

PS. Remember to bring bug spray in the summer!

PPS. Here’s a tip… can’t get tickets to the Greenwich Town Party? You can get great views from both the Grass Island Marina and the Dog Park!

Greenwich Point Park (Tod’s Point) *RECOMMENDED*

Tods Driftway
Old Greenwich, CT

Website: https://www.greenwichct.gov/facilities/facility/details/Greenwich-Point-Park-69

Activities: Walking, dog swimming, dog socializing, off leash

Last Visit: 2019

Notes: Open to dogs Dec 1 – March 31. Leash required inside the park except on the beach (up to high-water mark). *PARK CLOSED TO DOGS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE 2019-2020 DOG SEASON DUE TO RACCOON-BASED DISTEMPER OUTBREAK!*

Greenwich Point Park is considered the crown jewel of Greenwich’s parks. 147 acres of beautiful park land with a large beach at one end and walking a path with spectacular views of New York City at the other.

Leash-laws are a controversial issue at the park. There is no question that you must leash your dog inside the park, in the parking lots and on the walking paths, as with any other park in Greenwich. It is not uncommon to see the town’s ACO there, so please be a responsible owner and use a leash anywhere off the beach. On the beach itself is less clear. The town posts signs implying leashes are required, but even when the ACO is there very few people leash their dogs on the sand (below the high-tide mark) and there doesn’t seem to be any enforcement.

One thing to note: on unusually warm weekend days you should expect a large crowd, which can mean running into lots of pups that have been exposed to varying levels of socialization and a similar mix of owners. It’s important to maintain your situational awareness on days like that and don’t expect other dog owners to be monitoring their puppers as closely as maybe they should be. Full disclosure: our dog was bitten there and the owner made great haste to leave the scene, sticking us with a $650 emergency vet bill. That said – we still regularly return!

Lake Mohegan Open Space *RECOMMENDED*

960 Morehouse Hwy
Fairfield, CT

Website: https://www.fairfieldct.org/openspace/lakemohegan
https://www.facebook.com/groups/207768065991175/

Activities: Dog swimming, hiking, dog socializing, walking, off leash

Last Visit: 2019

Notes: Off leash dogs permitted on trails and in the lake outside of the “100-foot” zones surrounding the parking lots.

This is truly a gem worth the trip. 170 acres of trails surround a brook that flows through a scenic cascade into a beautiful man-made lake. Easily accessible off the Meritt Parkway, you can park at either end of the lake though I recommend the paved lot close to the main beach (dogs not allowed but they do let you use their bathrooms). From there you can access easy paths to the popular dog-spots on the East side of the lake.

There are a few hazards to be aware of. First, the lake gets very deep very quickly (it is an old gravel pit) so be careful where you step. Second, there is a bit of a current – not so much it will sweep a dog away, but I have lost some toys to it. Finally, be careful of surly fishermen (unfortunately I ran into one once) and cut-lures with hooks they sometimes leave behind.

Cranbury Park

300 Grumman Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06851

Website: https://www.norwalkct.org/Facilities/Facility/Details/1

Activities: Walking, dog socializing, hiking, off leash

Last Visit: 2020

Notes: *There is now a $10 fee for parking.* There is a small off-leash area for dogs but it is unfenced.

This is a lovely park situated right on the Norwalk-Wilton border. It is a fairly big property (220+ acres of trails) surrounding a mansion. The grounds include a disc-golf course, a large lawn and a large network of paths through the surrounding woods.

New Canaan Land Trust: Watson-Symington Preserve

Between Wellesley Drive and West Road
New Canaan, CT

Website: https://newcanaanlandtrust.org/watson-symington/

Activities: Hiking, off leash

Last Visit: 2019

Notes: (From website) Off-leash dogs, under voice control, are allowed only between dawn and noon. Leashed dogs are welcome from dawn until dusk.

Unlike Greenwich, New Canaan Land Trust has most of their properties open to visitors. We attended a small Adopt-a-Dog event here in 2019 and took the opportunity to tour their preserve. It is not very large (42 acres) but there are nice trails throughout. The day we were there they were being improved and expanded by local scouts. It was a nice wooded area with some hilly terrain and a small brook flowing through a pond. Worth spending around an hour exploring if you are in the neighborhood.