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Best Trails for Dog Walking in Chicago

Best location for night time dog walks

Living in the city of Chicago, when it comes to dog walking, your usual routes are strolling around the blocks near your home or packing up and heading to the dog park. But for many dog owners, that’s not quite satisfying. Lots of dogs have a lot of pent up energy that needs to be burned off, and many of those dogs’ owners love hitting the trails for a longer hike or walk. If that sounds like you, you might already know about some of these trails that are great for longer walks, but chances are you haven’t yet visited all of them. Here are our favorite trails in Chicago for dog walking. Caldwell Woods The Caldwell Woods branch of the Cook County Forest Preserves is located to the northwest of Albany Park, and offers both paved and unpaved trails that connect to the North Branch Trail System, and are easily accessible by car. Enter on Milwaukee and Devon Avenues, then follow the trails through wooded areas and along the Chicago River. Dogs must remain leashed on this trail, but it’s a popular destination for dog lovers who want to leave the city behind. North Branch Trail This trail is an 18-mile length that runs along the North Branch of the Chicago River and the Skokie Lagoons, with access to a variety of picnic groves and other parks along the way. Take this trail far enough north and you’ll wind up at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. It’s a perfect trip for you and your dog, and is accessible via the Caldwell Woods, Linne Woods, Harms Woods, and other spots—check out the map of this trail here. The 606 An elevated trail that spans from Ridgeway to Ashland and the Kennedy Expressway along Bloomingdale Ave., The 606—formerly known as the Bloomingdale Trail—is a paved, well-lit trail. Its 2.7-mile length makes it one of the shorter options, but at Cruisin’ Canines, we love it because it’s in the heart of our service area, so we’re very familiar with the surrounding neighborhoods, including Logan Square,Wicker Park, and Bucktown. Palos Trail System The Palos Preserves are located in southwest Cook County, and are easily accessible via the Maple Lake East Mountain Bike Staging Area, Buffalo Woods, and the Red Gate Woods.  Some of the area’s best quality natural areas are located in the Palos Trail System, which spans 38.9 miles of unpaved trail. Because cyclists, mountain bikers, and horseback riders often share these trails, you’ll want to keep your dog leashed for everyone’s safety. LaBagh Woods Finally, LaBagh Woods makes our list due to its natural beauty. Patrons include dog-walkers like you, as well as bikers, runners, picnic groups and families. Wooded riverbanks and hills along the river keep things interesting, and Cooper’s hawks are known to swoop over the area’s treetops. Trails here are unpaved, and you’ll want to keep your dog leashed as the area is not fenced in, but if you’re looking for a trail that’s close to home but feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this is it. What are your favorite city getaways for hiking or dog walking?

Staying Visible and Safe During Nighttime Dog Walks

for longer dog walks, try these Chicago trails

With Daylight Saving Time upon us, it’s essential to find ways to ensure that you stay safe when you’re walking your dog when it’s already dark at 4:30 in the afternoon. When the sun sets earlier and earlier, we become less visible to cars as well as other pedestrians, making nighttime dog walks somewhat precarious. Thankfully, there are solutions—aside from strapping a headlamp on, that is. We’ve rounded up five of the best products for dogs (and humans!) out there right now that will keep you safe this fall and winter. 1) A Reflective Harness Many harnesses for dogs have some reflective material on them, but this one takes it to the next level, putting a strip of reflective fabric on each surface of the harness. It’s available in red, black, and royal blue, and the reflective strips ensure that your pup will be unmistakably illuminated when light shines on them. 2) A Dog Collar Light Similar to how many cyclists use headlights and taillights when biking in the dark, this collar light ensures other people see your pooch. Versatile and lightweight,,  this collar light is available in yellow or red—use one on your pet’s collar or alternate a few different lights for additional visibility. It’s an easy way to make sure that people see your dog. 3) An LED Leash If one little light on your dog’s collar is not bright enough for you, you’ll love the Dog-e Glow LED collar and leash. Visible for up to 1,000 feet, LED tubes are sewn right into the durable fabric leash, which has a fun dog-bone print. This leash is six feet long, perfect for small or big dogs.  This is ideal for keeping not just your dog visible, but you as well—since the leash connects you to the dog, the bigger lit-up presence will be easier to spot. 4) LED Shoe Lights Perfect for runners or walkers, this product is more geared toward the owner than the dog. These LED lights are water resistant and easy to attach to your shoelaces, and twist to turn on and off. Use them on dog walks or your own jogging routes—they’re lightweight and non-invasive, and are available in red or green. 5) Reflective Vests for People Many nighttime runners invest in reflective vests or suspenders that can be easily worn over clothing and are not obtrusive. This vest/harness is available in orange or yellow, clips on very easily, and featured two strips of reflective fabric on each surface. This product is ideal if you like to go jogging with your dog, as its reflective material is more at eye-level with drivers than a collar light might be. In other words, you’ll be easier to spot since it’s a bigger reflective area. Another way to stay safer during dog walks is to simply schedule them earlier in the day if you can. Find a dog walker to come over before the sun sets, and that can be your pup’s longer walk for the day—then you can simply take them out one quick last time before bed, so you won’t have to be outside in the dark for too long. What do you use to make yourself and your dog visible during these dark autumn and winter nights?

Our NOVEMBER Dog of the Month is

Dozer!   Breed: charcoal Labrador Age: 6 Where I Live: Lincoln park Joys in Life: pure laziness, shredding toys, breakfast, breakfast, breakfast and walks with dan and sleepovers at cruisin canines Cruisin’ Dog Walker: Dan (yay Dan!)

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