If you are on Nantucket, it is time to break out the walking shoes and hit the trails! Luckily, we have over 12,000 acres of open space to explore. Given my four-legged friend’s love of exploring unique trails, I’ve probably traveled them all.
Here’s a list of my top seven dog-walking trails on Nantucket for our beloved furry friends:
1. Sanford Farm & Ram Pasture
It is no surprise that Sanford Farm is at the top of the list as it is one of the most popular Nantucket Conservation Foundation properties. This spot is especially versatile as you can keep it to a quick 1.7-mile loop, a longer 3.1-mile trek, or if you are feeling extra motivated, a beautiful 6-mile adventure taking you all the way out to the southern shoreline of the island. Highlights of this property are the views of Hummock Pond, the historic barn, and the undeveloped beach if you choose to go the full 6 miles. And, yes, it was once an operating dairy farm!
2. Tupancy Links
Want the views and beauty of Sanford Farm but don’t have time to do 6 miles? Tupancy Links is the perfect compromise. With just one easy-to-follow path adding up to just about 1.5 miles, this is a great place to get your dog some exercise while taking in some amazing views of Nantucket’s north shore. This trail used to be a 9-hole golf course, hence the name, and you can still see some outlines of greens and tee boxes if you look closely.
3. Squam Swamp
While not as popular for dog walking and socializing as Tupancy Links or Sanford Farm, Squam Swap is a hidden gem that should be added to your list. The name says it all, much more dense, enclosed, and wet. Keep in mind it can be easy to get a little lost in here so pay attention to the numbered posts leading your way of this 1.75 mile trail. It may not offer the same ocean vistas as some of the others, but the thousands of green ferns and beautiful bogs are a welcome treat not often seen on the island.
4. Gardner Farm
Gardner Farm is a favorite due to its convenient proximity to my favorite fish market, 167 Market, and the “nowhere else like it”, Cisco Brewery. A perfect afternoon for you and your pup might just be a stroll here, a frosty beer at the brewery, and some fresh fish to grill up when you get home. This path offers a little bit of everything from thick forests to open meadows. There is even a footbridge just begging to be shared on Instagram. Also boasting a nice spot for a little pond fishing, tons of waterfowl, and even a pair of Osprey nesting in the spring and summer. I love that I can keep coming back and always have a different experience.
5. Stump Pond/Windswept Cranberry Bog
This spot is a bit tougher to put a distance on. You could do a quick stroll around one of the bogs in just a few minutes. Or, complete the large loop around Stump Pond and the bogs in around an hour and a half. Marshes, meadows, forests, and ponds make this yet another property with a wide range of views. It is one of very few organically certified cranberry bogs on the east coast! Stump Pond offers the same variety as you continue, most notably beautiful tupelo, sassafras, and the fantastic views of Sankaty.
6. ’Sconset Bluff Walk
This path is not quite as easy to find as the others but it is worth a little wandering to find. Starting off of Front Street near the ’Sconset Market, it takes you along the bluff overlooking the beach. Look to your left and you are walking alongside some of Sconset’s most beautiful waterfront homes. Since you are quite literally in these resident’s backyards, it best to keep your dog on the leash while you admire their perfectly manicured lawns and gardens. Over the years, this walk has been cut short due to erosion; so once the path abruptly stops, it is time to turn back and head home.
7. Long Pond Loop
This trail is a recent addition to my growing list of favorite trails since we bought our first house in Madaket. Since it is just a stone’s throw from our back door, my pup Fletcher loves how often he gets to visit. The first leg of the trail takes you alongside gorgeous views of Long Pond. You’ll often see swans going about their day.
All of these trails are a must see. I could go on for days about the many more acres Nantucket has to offer. The best sources for more information about these trails and other favorite spots are the Nantucket Conservation Foundation and the Nantucket Land Bank.
Get outside and take full advantage of the beauty Nantucket has to offer. Be careful of poison ivy and don’t forget to always check yourself and your furry friend for ticks! If you do happen to find a tick, read this informative guest blog from the Nantucket Cottage Hospital: What to do if you’re bitten by a tick and worried about Lyme Disease.
Nantucket does have a leash law which states that “No person within the confines of the Town shall at any time permit a dog owned or kept by such keeper to run at large beyond the confines of the property of the owner or keeper unless the dog is held firmly on a leash.” That being said, in practice, Nantucket is extremely dog-friendly and many people do choose to walk their dogs off-leash.