Explore, Socialize, and Exercise with your Pup
If you were to be honest, do you get out with your dog as much as you would like to? Chances are it’s a quick walk in the morning and another quick walk in the evening. Sure it’s better than nothing, but our four-legged family members crave adventure just as much as you do!
Fortunately, there are a bunch of places around Billings that you can take your pets to socialize, exercise, and discover new areas. Here are 5 of them; check them out this spring and summer and discover which works best for you (or discover another area just for you!). Keep in mind: every park requires that you clean up the doggy doo, so bring a bag and be a good dog owner.
Norm Schoenthal Island
Norm’s Island is one of the original “dog parks” in Billings. Technically, it’s not even a dog park, but it has been dog friendly since inception. Donated to the Yellowstone River Parks Association by Norm himself, the island sports over 2 miles of trails where you can run, walk, bike, jog, or otherwise get some exercise while exploring the natural ecosystem we have nearby called the Yellowstone River. As the weather warms, throw on a short sleeve shirt and go for a jog in the shade of the giant cottonwood trees.
High Sierra Dog Park
High Sierra Dog Park is a great place to let your dog run and get to know other dogs. With 7.5 acres of land dedicated just to dogs, there’s something for every canine. Some of the area is maintained, some is left to have a more natural feel to it. A section is dedicated just for small dogs, but small dogs can always join the “big dogs” for playtime. Here it’s important to remember that if your dog doesn’t play well with others, keep them on the leash or far from those that may get hurt. By the way, it’s windy at the far end of Wicks Lane; bring the world’s best hoodie to stay warm.
Two Moon Park
Two Moon Park is sort of a hidden wonder. It’s right in the middle of town (more or less) but it makes you feel like you’re lost in the woods along the banks of the Yellowstone River. There’s a grand loop that wraps through the park’s 150+ acres, but numerous smaller trails crisscross the area. If you’re into fishing, there are plenty of places to drop a line into the river. If you’re into swimming there’s a tree on the banks that often has a rope swing hooked up to it. If you’re into a leisurely walk, don’t go when it’s wet; this place takes a while to dry out and the paths are all dirt so they turn to mud!
If it’s a view you’re looking for, then you’re looking for Zimmerman Park. Located at the top of Zimmerman Trail, this park covers a big swath of area that ranges from prairie grass fields, to sheer cliffs. There are trails going all over the park that are great for running or biking with your dog. If you’re into rock climbing there are loads of routes, many which are bolted, to climb on. Don’t forget to pause and admire the views when you take fido out for a walk, and remember to wear a hat. Much is exposed to the sun’s rays and you’re going to get a bit toasty without one.
Just like Zimmerman Park is great for hiking with dogs and rock climbing, so is Phipps Park! Come for the folf, stay for the climbing and trail hiking. You can stay down low and walk around the Rimrocks, all the way into the Copper Ridge Subdivision, or you can head up to the top and cruise around the top of the cliffs. There are a few miles of trails in this 350 acre park, and a lot of sights to see on this far west end park. Of course if you want to get out with your dog in the winter, it makes for a great sledding area too. As a word of caution with both Zimmerman and Phipps: as the weather warms the snakes will come out.
Bonus: Lake Elmo
One of the newest areas dedicated just to dogs is Lake Elmo. Not the whole lake, most is still supposed to be dog free (like the beach area that’s a popular swimming destination when the temps soar), or at least your dog has to be on a leash. Along the west side of the lake there’s a designated 200-square foot fenced area for dogs to play. That doesn’t seem like much, and it isn’t. But the real reason you’d come here is to help your dog adapt to the water. Throw a ball or stick and watch them splash in to cool down. The rules are you can bring 2 pups, and they have to be at least 4 months old.
Show that You Love Your Dog with Aspinwall Mountain Wear
Aspinwall is all about the outdoor lifestyle, and that usually includes our four-legged family members too. I mean, just look at Bridger waiting till he can get outside?