Is Yates Cider Mill in Michigan Dog Friendly? You bet.

Yates Cider Mills in Michigan welcomes leashed dogs, but not near the fudge. That’s okay because that’s arguably the least interesting part of visiting this iconic apple pressing facility that’s part rural fair, part school field trip, and part dog adventure – well, that last one was true for us.

At Yates, there’s a historic apple press and water wheel, nature trails, and plenty of food.

My dog loved Yates Cider Mill, especially the ducks floating in the Clinton River tributary that runs through the property. Not to miss an opportunity, this family-run company paved that path along the brook and lined it with garbage cans so that people wouldn’t toss their food wrappers (and dog poop bags) into the woods.

Bring a leash and walk for miles

If you’ve got about an hour to burn, clip a leash on your dog and stroll or sniff the mile or so path at Yates CIder MIll, then turn around and come back. You’ll be wall-to-wall with others, especially if you’re there on the weekend. Yet it’s still a peaceful scenic jaunt under a canopy of orange, red, and brown foliage. And you will meet other dogs.

Yates Cider Mill is s popular family dog walking route. It’s also a popular family activity in general.

Spending a Sunday afternoon wandering along the walking trails while eating apple spice donuts at Yates Cider Mill is practically mandatory if you’re anywhere near Rochester Hills, Michigan in the fall. Yates Cider Mill is one of those family traditions many locals (and visitors) don’t miss when the leaves change colour and the air grows crisp.

Yates Cider Mill is popular

So many people head this way, that the place significantly expanded its parking lot. The parking lot is easily now twice the size it was when I last visited. In fact, the entire neighbourhood around the mill has expanded since 2018. What was once a rural road leading outside of town to this historic mill is now a busier road past newly built homes leading to two road rotary junctures recently added to handle the traffic now heading to Yates and area.

Yates Cider Mill is busy on the weekend, and thanks to development, some of the rural charm is lost.

Yes, this is my second visit to Yates Cider Mills. The last time I was here, I had my older dog in tow, and we walked only a fraction of the nature trail. This time, I got to experience Yate’s Fall fair vibe through the eyes of a young bird dog. Fortunately, my three-year-old unstoppable spaniel loves people, the ebb and tide of crowds, and other pups, because we encountered all those things in abundance.

She also loves ducks. Despite the throngs of people, wildlife still dots the adjacent river and nature trail, which is the highlight of a dog visit here.

Otherwise, Yates Cider Mill is all about eating – you line up to tour the functioning cider press inside the barn-like mill building, order food, donuts, and pie from the walk-up window (best with the dog), and buy additional food from food trucks. The pony rides are near the parking lot. And there’s always fudge. In this case, it’s fudge from Mackinac Island (another dog-friendly part of Michigan).

Dog-friendly Yates Cider Mill

image of red Yates Cider mill and wheel

Established in 1863, Yates is dedicated to preserving the age-old methods of cider production (and so are a few other area cider mills). Some writers like to claim that stepping into the mill feels like entering a time capsule, and thanks to the rhythmic clatter of the old cider press in the big red building, there’s a bit of truth there. But on-site at Yates, you’re transported less to a bygone area, and more to a modern Fall agricultural fair where oversized pumpkins compete for attention with midway rides.

True, other than pony rides, there are no midway rides at Yates Cider Mill, but there are food trucks, groups of picnic tables in a recently expanded eating area, and large jugs of apple cider. Dogs aren’t allowed to tour the apple press, so outdoors it is for us. If you can resist eating too many donuts, then the exercise you and your dog will get walking the natural trail and beyond will be well worth the visit. It’s all my dog wanted to do.

Highlights of Yates Cider Mill

  • Yates Cider Mill, rooted in 19th-century history, is a Michigan icon.
  • Yates is a go-to spot for fall family fun.
  • Yates employs old-fashioned apple pressing techniques using vintage equipment.
  • As a family-owned business, Yates Cider Mill has sustained its legacy through generations.
  • Yates offers a beautiful dog-friendly nature walk, especially during fall foliage.
  • Yates sells jugs of pressed apple cider and you can watch it being pressed.
  • Yates also offers caramel apples, pies, sugared donuts, and yes, fudge.
  • Yates is dog-friendly. Dogs must remain on leash while at Yates Cider Mill.
  • Please clean up after your dog, and note that there are no dog water stations on-site.

Accommodations: Previously, we’ve stayed at the Red Roof Inn in Auburn Hills nearby but (despite being a sponsor) I can no longer recommend that particular Red Roof property. My last experience there was less than comfortable. Since then, I discovered my new go-to dog-friendly hotel:

Sonesta Select, 2550 Aimee Lane, Auburn Hills, Michigan. With an indoor pool, the hotel is appropriately priced, and dog-friendly for an additional $75 fee per stay. My favourite part was the central courtyard our room faced, which allowed me to slide open the patio door late at night or early morning, for an easy and safe dog leg stretch.

Shopping: Every visit to the Rochester, Michigan area, I spend an hour or two at the dog-friendly Village of Rochester Hills outdoor mall designed like a town’s main street. The only store that won’t allow me in with the dog is Barnes and Noble bookstore; otherwise, my pup was greeted enthusiastically at Soft Surroundings, and I’ve eaten twice with the dog on the outdoor patios of Bravo and Mitchell’s Fishmarket.

black and white dog looking at dog walker with white dog walking along the edge of the creek

Apple Cider Mills: Fall is the best time to visit the area because the Apple Cider Mills are in full production. Dogs are welcome outside and pumpkins and vintage farm trucks make for some good photo ops. Check out dog-friendly cider mills here.

Yates Cider Mill: The Yates Cider Mill in Rochester Hills, Michigan is open seven days a week, 9 am to 5 pm (after November 1). The last day of the season to visit is December 23, 2024. Closed Labour Day. Located at 1990 E Avon Road, Rochester Hills, Michigan. The company also has a retail outlet called the Yates Store at Canterbury Village which is open seven days a week, 10 am to 8 pm. 2375 Joslyn Court, Lake Orion, Michigan.

Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and a travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria. Contact Sherri at here. All written content is original, written by a person, and based on experience and research. Please subscribe!

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