Help Your Pet Get the Most Out of Summertime

We’ve got about a month left of summer. Less if you’re going by the school calendar, or more if you observe the fall equinox.

Any way you look at it, there’s a finite amount of summer left in our tank, so we should spend it wisely, with those we love most.

This of course includes our pets, who deserve to be able to wallow in the delights of the season; sunshine, grass, fresh mountain air, cool lakes and streams and outdoor play of all kinds.

Prescott’s earned a reputation as being extremely friendly to dogs, but COVID closures and restrictions can make it a little tricky to figure out the best places to hang out with your canine. But you’re both probably a little sick of being home by now, so here are some options:

Willow Creek Dog Park — All Prescott and Prescott Valley park facilities are open to the public, including the dog parks. Prescott’s version got a $500,000 makeover in 2014 after winning a contest sponsored by Beneful, so this firehouse-themed facility has all the bells and whistles expected of a first-class park (with the possible exception of a water feature).

Municipal trails — Trails have remained open in Prescott and Prescott Valley during the pandemic, so you and your buddy are free to return to all of your old haunts; the Peavine, Iron King, Glassford Hill, Constellation or any other path, as long as you keep your distance from other hiking parties.

Prescott National Forest — All developed campgrounds remain closed, but “dispersed” camping is permitted in designated unimproved areas of the Prescott Basin, including sites off of Thumb Butte Loop, Potts Creek Road, Wolf Creek Road, Copper Basin Road and Senator Highway.

Most trailheads and day-use areas are open, but no services (restrooms, water, trash collection) are being provided. Hours have also been reduced to 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. On the upside, the Forest Service isn’t charging fees right now, either.

Born To Be Wild Adventures — this service will meet you at Watson, Willow or Goldwater lake with your reserved kayaks for the day, and you’re welcome to bring your dogs aboard! Of course, make sure they’re able to swim and/or wear a life jacket.

Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza — You should probably avoid this if it gets too crowded, but the lush, beautiful grounds are still open, and are a wonderful place to relax with your dog and pretend life is normal.