By Angela Meyers

This issue we are focusing on an urban hike as a fun, interesting, and action-packed alternative to a traditional nature hike. As the fall temperatures cool down the city streets, this hike takes you through 9 miles of NW DC, past many dog-friendly locations ranging from dog parks to eateries, retail locations, gardens, parks, and more. It travels through Brookland, Shaw, Columbia Heights, and Adams Morgan. Be prepared, this hike is long, unsheltered from the elements, and contains typical urban “hazards” such as occasional broken glass and things dogs might want to nibble on. But the volume of off-the-beaten track sights and hidden gems on this loop are well-worth the effort of seeking them out. Sunday proves to be a great day for this hike, as many of the locations featured additional special events. Weekends are also highly recommended as some of the sights listed are only open on weekends. This hike is intended for you to choose which stops to make to create the perfect experience for yourself. If you choose to stop at all locations, plan for at least an 8-10 hour day.

This hikes starts at (1) Rock Creek Cemetery. It’s a historic cemetery with many century-old gravestones, statures some of which feature historical figures. The grounds are open daily from 8:00 AM-6:00 PM. The entrance gate is at Buchanan Street.

Continue south on Rock Creek Church Road NW for .3 miles and you’ll encounter a large gate on your left. Passing through the security gate, you will find (2) President Lincoln’s Cottage. The cottage itself isn’t pet-friendly, but traversing through the grounds with your pet is permitted. The area is secure and restricted, but the loop around Lincoln’s cottage along with the nearby surrounding buildings is quite a lovely sight. Exit through the same gate to continue south onto Rock Creek Church Road NW.

After continuing south, turn right onto Park Place NW. At the corner of Park and Kenyon, 1.1 miles later, you’ll discover a bustling, mini oasis, (3) Wangari Gardens. Created to honor Professor Wangari Maathai, an environmentalist and social justice peace activist who empowered others to plant more than 47 million trees, this 2.7 acre park includes both public and private gardens. The outer gardens are public domain, cared for and cultivated collectively by anyone stopping by. All are encouraged to make a contribution to the gardens and to also reap their rewards, harvesting fruit, vegetables, or herbs. The private gardens are within the inner fences and privately maintained. Check their website for famous Sunday Open houses with yoga, classes, and demonstrations.

Next stop is (4) Meridian Pint a short .7 miles away. Leave the gardens heading east on Kenyon for four blocks, then turn right onto 11th Street for two blocks. Meridian Pint is on a short strip in a revived area covered with restaurants with great outdoor seating. Visit anytime with tolerable temperatures and enjoy a great seat outdoors with your pooch. There is also a dog park directly across the street. The bar is fun, serving dozens of local and regional craft brews as well as a great selection of foods, complete with outdoor water bowls for Fido.

Head east on Park for a quick few blocks and you will encounter the famous (5) Sticky Fingers Bakery. Grab a great seat outside and enjoy a delectable treat with a warm coffee on a brisk fall morning.

After leaving the bakery, turn left onto 14th Street SW for two blocks, then a Right onto Columbia and a left onto 15th and after about four blocks you’ll know you are in the right place, (6) Meridian Hill Park, especially on a Sunday when you hear the rhythmic thumping beat of the drum circles. This very popular park is enjoyed by many people and pets and has a fun lively vibe. Plan to linger and enjoy the music, architecture, and people.

This halfway point is a great time for a little doggie treat. Stop in at the adorable (7) Fur-Get Me Not Dog Wash and boutique for a treat or a toy to take with you to the next stop: (8) Shaw Dog Park! Shaw Dog Park is one happening place, with separate small dog and big dog play areas. There are so many friendly faces in this park, you’ll find yourself stopping to chat for a long while if you give yourself enough time.

If you find the next park, (9) Crispus Attucks Park, you get a gold star. Tucked away between a few alleys, this tiny park feels like a backyard. From inside the park the rooftops create a castle-like feel, the grounds are well-maintained and of course since no one knows it’s there, it’s a secluded little paradise!

As you head down the final stretch you can choose to enjoy the calmness of the (10) Prospect Hill and (11) Glenwood Cemeteries, located beside each other. Century-old statues, memorials, inscriptions ,and history provide a most interesting backdrop. Another can’t miss sight is on the grounds of Catholic University. The (12) Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral is the largest Roman Catholic church in the United States and North America as well as one of the ten largest churches in the world. While you can’t go inside with your dog, it’s an amazing sight from outside.

If you find yourself thirsty again, you are in luck as (13) Brookland Pint, the sister location of Meridian Pint, is only a few steps away.  Also very dog-friendly, you can enjoy a pint outside on the patio with your pooch by your side.

And the final stop provides an opportunity to explore the rich history of (14) Fort Trotten Park and to take some time to reflect on your great hike. The park is one of the sites of the Defenses of Washington fort tour.

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HIKE SPECIFICS

1. Rock Creek Cemetery
201 Allison St NW
Washington, DC 20011
http://www.rockcreekparish.org/cemetery

2. President Lincoln’s Cottage
140 Rock Creek Church Road NW
Washington, DC 20011
http://lincolncottage.org

3. Wangari Gardens
Intersection of Kenyon Street, Irving Street, and Park Place NW
Washington, DC 20010
https://wangarigardens.wordpress.com/

4. Meridian Pint
3400 11th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20010
http://meridianpint.com/

5. Sticky Fingers Bakery
1370 Park Road Northwest
Washington, DC 20010
www.stickyfingersbakery.com

6. Meridian Hill Park
2400 15th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20008
http://www.nps.gov/mehi/index.htm

7. Fur-Get Me Not
1722 Florida Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20009
www.furgetmenot.com

8. Shaw Dog Park
1673 11th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20001
www.shawdogs.org

9. Crispus Attucks Park
63 U Street
Washington, DC 20001
http://crispusattucksparkdc.org/

10. Prospect Hill Cemetery
2201 North Capitol Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-1103
http://www.prospecthillcemetery.org

11. The Glenwood Cemetery
2219 Lincoln Road NE
Washington, DC 20002
http://www.theglenwoodcemetery.com

12. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
400 Michigan Ave NE
Washington, DC 20017
http://www.nationalshrine.com

13. Brookland Pint
716 Monroe Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017
Brooklandpint.com

14. Fort Trotten
Fort Totten Drive NE
Washington, DC 20011