My German Shorthaired Pointer, Rylee, is probably the best walking partner ever. As a dog owner, I can honestly agree with the fact that we all think our dogs are the “best dog,” so why not bring your beloved pup along with you the next time you want to get outside. Rockford has so many wonderful walking trails that are just waiting to be explored.

The Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve has beautiful trails for you to walk whether you’re up for a bit of a hike or looking to take a casual stroll. The paved path is cleared of snow in the winter for safe walking and warmer paws for your four-legged pal. While you’re enjoying your walk, take in the scenery as there is so much to see out in these beautiful woodlands. If you’ve noticed the abundance of Bald Eagles in the 815 this winter, you can take advantage of the bird and wildlife watching at the forest preserve. Make sure to bring a camera and snap some pictures!

A location in the downtown area that is a favorite of mine is the Sinnissippi Gardens. Though they’re known for their gorgeous blooms in the spring and summer, you can’t miss out on the river views, sculptures, and pedestrian bridge this winter. While you’re over there, you can also hop onto the Rock River Recreation Path. This path is paved for 6 miles and runs along roads for another 10. You and your dog will see lots of friendly faces on this trail as it is very popular! Bikers, walkers, joggers, and more utilize this path daily. My dog is pictured (above) viewing the Rockford skyline from nearby this trail.

Another trail open year-round and home to lots of wildlife is the Kishwaukee River Forest Preserve. Again, they clear their paved paths in the winter so you can have a safe walk. This area attracts many birds whose singing makes for peaceful strolls and a relaxing mini getaway for you and your dog. No more “stuck in the house” this winter. These are only a few of the amazing parks Rockford has to offer.

Please remember to be courteous and keep dogs on a leash as well as clean up after them when walking in these public parks. Enjoy this fun way to stay active and relax!