Here in Hendricks County, Indiana, we love our dogs. We also love our parks and trails. So where, you might ask, are some good parks and trails for dogs?

To answer this question, they brought me in. I have a dog. I also work for Hendricks County Parks & Recreation. Seems like a good fit, right?

Let's see what's out there.

Paved Trails 

Dogs relaxing at Hummel Park.

Paved trails are nice. Smooth surfaces, no muddy paws or shoes, and you can jog or walk with your dog in any weather. We've got paved trail loops in parks as well as paved linear trails.

Here are some of my suggestions for paved trails for your pups. This is not even close to being an all-inclusive list, and I'll simply list my picks in alphabetical order so that my parks colleagues around Hendricks County don't hunt me down for declaring favorites.

Paved Trails in Parks

  • Arbuckle Acres Park in Brownsburg. This 52-acre park that includes mature woods and White Lick Creek has 1.3 miles of paved trail that offer natural beauty for humans, lots of smells for dogs and trail loops of varying lengths for the walk or run length of your choice.
  • Avon Town Hall Park in Avon. Avon Town Hall Park weighs in at 83 acres and boasts 2 miles of paved trail around a 9-acre lake and 3-acre lake. It's common to see wildlife in the park while walking or running.
  • Hummel Park in Plainfield. At 205 acres in size, Hummel Park is home to a lot of different amenities for visitors, including 3 miles of paved trail that takes dogs and their owners through a variety of different scenery.

Paved Linear Trails

  • B&O Trail in Brownsburg. Following the course of the former B&O Railroad, this paved rail trail runs from the Hendricks-Marion County Line northwest through the entire town to County Road 250 East, traveling more than 8 miles. Go through a tunnel full of fascinating murals, enjoy mature wooded areas and cross a bridge over White Lick Creek. (Insider tip: Cardinal Bark Park, discussed later in this post, is just a handful of steps off the B&O Trail.)
  • Vandalia Trail in Plainfield. This paved rail trail follows the course of the former Vandalia Railroad, and its eastern section runs about 5 miles through Plainfield, connecting parks and residential areas. There are some nice mature wooded areas, too, for Fido to enjoy sniffing out.
  • Vandalia Trail in Amo and Coatesville. The western section of the Vandalia Trail stretches from Amo through Coatesville to the Hendricks-Putnam County Line, providing humans and canines the opportunity for a much more secluded walk or run through mature wooded areas, open areas, and across a bridge over Crittenden Creek in its 4 miles of length. (Insider tip: trailheads with modern restrooms and water fountains are located in Amo and Coatesville and are open from April through October.)

Unpaved Trails

Sodalis Nature Park is a fun place for dogs to explore and splash around.

Paved trails are great for some, but others seek a more adventurous stroll, so we have plenty of unpaved trails for you and Spot to explore in Hendricks County, too.

Here are a few that jump to mind. Again, this is nowhere close to an all-inclusive list.

  • McCloud Nature Park in North Salem. This hidden gem is 232 acres of natural beauty including mature woodlands, a large prairie, a wetland habitat and more than 6 miles of natural-surface and crushed stone trails. Dogs love splashing in Big Walnut Creek, and there is so much to explore! There's even a doggy water fountain right outside the Nature Center.
  • Sodalis Nature Park in Plainfield. Another large nature park, but in the opposite corner of Hendricks County where 210 acres of woods and a large pond are the focal points of more than 2 miles of natural surface and crushed stone trails.
  • W.S. Gibbs Memorial Park in Avon. One of the newest park offerings in Hendricks County, this facility currently spans about 80 acres and has more than 2 miles of natural surface and crushed stone trails winding through prairie, wooded areas and around two large ponds. There is also a 30-foot-tall hill in the park for those who want a unique view of the surrounding area. (Insider tip: Look for a paved trail coming to the park in 2024!)

Dog Parks

Brownsburg's Cardinal Bark Park (Photo courtesy of Brownsburg Parks on Instagram)

As a dog owner, I know that there are times when my pooch has way more energy than I do. Dog parks are great for letting him just run free and socialize with other animals while I park my tired self on a bench.

This is when it's key to know where some of the dog parks are in Hendricks County. (NOTE: Memberships are required at all three of these dog parks.)

  • Cardinal Bark Park in Brownsburg. Right off the B&O Trail, Cardinal Bark Park has two separate areas -- one for large dogs and the other for smaller dogs -- with obstacles for dogs to enjoy, shaded seating areas for humans, and a walking track around the dogs' play areas. There's even a rinse station there to get muddy paws cleaned up a bit before jumping back in the car.
  • Paw Park in Avon. The first dog park in Hendricks County, Paw Park is located right next to Washington Township Park. It has three separate areas for dogs to play in, as well as a water supply to fill up metal bowls that stay at the park. Humans can sit at a picnic table under a shelter while Rover burns off energy. (Insider tip: I also recommend exploring Washington Township Park with your doggo on a leash, as this large park has lots of natural surface, crushed stone, and paved trails throughout.)
  • Plainfield Bark Park. Adjacent to Swinford Park in Plainfield, this dog park features a bunch of obstacles for dogs to jump on, in and through as they romp around with their canine buddies.

More Stuff for Dogs

After exploring some parks, walking some trails and playing in some dog parks, are you and your canine companion still looking for things to do? No problem. We have restaurants with dog-friendly patios, special dog-centric events and pet-friendly shopping, hotels, attractions, vacation rentals and more.

Be sure to check out our guide of Things to Do with Your Dogs in Hendricks County to learn more!