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McDowell Nature Preserve

McDowell Nature Preserve is a great location to bring your leashed dog! There are several trails to explore. The park is never too busy and you can stay and BBQ if you'd like as well on one of their many patios. Dogs must remain on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times and are not permitted to swim. From easy walks like the Kingfisher Trail to moderate hikes like Shady Hollow and Pine Hollow Trail, there’s something for all levels of outbound hounds here. Visit Website

Or call (704) 588-5224 for more information.


BringFido Guest Rating

McDowell Nature Preserve has received a rating of 5.0 out of 5 bones by 3 canine critics on BringFido.

  • Kevin
    More than a year ago
    McDowell Nature Preserve

    Dogs are not allowed to swim or go off leash in McDowell Nature Preserve. Signs about no swimming and dogs being on leash are posted many places. The County Ordinance is that dogs must be controlled on a leash 6 ft. or less.at all times. This is a nature preserve, and dogs cannot run freely anywhere.

  • Luke
    More than a year ago
    Off the leash, but beware of hooks

    McDowell is a great place to let the pups run around off the leash once you get down to the sandy beachheads. There's plenty of room for them to run around with pretty steep hills surrounding the inlet. You can relax knowing that it would take a great deal of effort on their part to get too far away without your noticing. There are two separate sides to the inlet's beaches that allow for multiple dogs to play without interacting with one another if you have a dog that isn't well socialized.

    I saw at least five or six dogs while we were there. The owners are all friendly and respect each other's space.

    There is a largemouth bass luring area just in front of the inlet with a pier to fish off of, the consequence is the enormous amount of line that gets caught up in the artificial reefs/sanctuaries in the water, and eventually works it's way into the beach. Be very careful when you first pick your spot on the beach, there are a LOT of fishing lines with associated lures, hooks, and floats that get caught up in the sand. We combed the beach around us and pulled up at least ten hooks. So be on the lookout before settling down, wouldn't want one of those in your little friend's toes.

    Overall the beach is cleaner than I expected, there is very minimal trash. There are a lot of "no swimming" signs posted, so I'd stay clear of going more than knee deep. The dogs didn't seem to care, they had a blast!

  • Kelsi
    More than a year ago
    Awesome for swimmers!!

    I bring my dogs here all the time to go swimming! Nice to find a place that can be off leash without being at a dog park every time your pet plays. Directions to the beach: turn into McDowell and stay on that main road until you see a sign for their Nature Center, take the next right right after the center. Keep driving down that road until it brings you to a small roundabout. Park in the second parking lot you see. If you see bathrooms down the wide trail you're in the right place! Walk down that trail and take the first trail on your left (past the bathrooms) and walk 1/8 of a mile until you walk over the bridge and see the beach to your right! Enjoy :)

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McDowell Nature Preserve