Bernie, Lizzie, and I have a few walks that we just love. One of them is the 3.5 mile section of the Rillito River Park pathway between Brandi Fenton Memorial Park and N. Swan Road.
This pathway offers a nice mix of paved pathway and soft trail to help vary your route. There are also numerous features along the way that I like to use for training opportunities.
Loop between Brandi Fenton Park and North Swan Road
1. Community Memorial Garden in Brandi Fenton Memorial Park
The garden memorializes Brandi Fenton, a girl killed in a car accident on March 22, 2003 just before her 14th birthday. She loved butterflies. While the plants in this garden may not bloom year-round, the vibrant tiles reflect her enduring spirit. The plaque reads in part, "Please enjoy the park, cherish everyday as if it were a gift, and if you happen to come upon a butterfly, stop, smile, and say hello."
At the entrance to this garden, there are two different statues featuring children. Lizzie was a little scared of the statues the first time we walked up, so I like approaching slowly, giving her time to sniff everything out, and treating her, of course, for being well-behaved.
2. Fitness Stop within Brandi Fenton Park
Just southeast of the memorial garden, there's a fitness stop. There are two sit-up stations that are perfect structures to have the pups jump onto for practice with different platforms.
Nearby, there's also an open green space and a sports field. Depending on what events are being held on any given day, you may find some different distractions
3. Rest Rooms between Alvernon and Columbus on the south side of the path
From Brandi Fenton Park, we like to cross the bridge at Dodge Blvd so we're walking on the south side of the Rillito River Path. I find it's easier for me to keep the dogs to my right plus the trail access is easier walking on the south side of this loop first.
Once you go under N. Alvernon Way, the path curves a bit toward a rest room stop. Around this area there are two sets of stone lounge chairs with a beautiful view of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
Bernie likes resting here to sniff all the bicyclists riding by.
Just outside the rest room area, there are also two stone bring-your-own-pieces chess sets. Again, just stunning views of the Santa Catalinas plus distractions.
People are usually coming and going from both the parking lot and the rest rooms, so it can be an ideal location for practicing sit-stays and down-stays.
4. The neighborhood view on the north side of the Rillito River Path
After we cross the bridge over N. Swan Road, we head from the rest room stop there immediately onto the soft trails. We like taking slightly different routes each time to vary up the sniffs, but we always appreciate the homes in this neighborhood that backs up to the pathway.
With the wider trails here, I can easily see people coming and going, so this area is another place to practice sit-stays and down-stays.