When the weather heats up and the spring and summer months are here, it’s time to get out the hiking gear and enjoy the great outdoors. While you’re planning your hikes, don’t forget to include your furry friend. Hiking is a great way for your dog to stretch their legs and enjoy a change of scenery. Don’t worry, if you have a dog that isn’t exactly athletic, hiking can still be a fun treat for them. Just find an easy trail that is suitable for their (lack of) ability.
The U.S is filled with amazing trails from coast to coast. Maybe you’re looking for a trail close to home or planning a trip and hoping to find some hikes in a state that is new to you. Whatever your plans, there’s a gorgeous trail just waiting to be explored. We’ve put together a list of hikes across the United States that are picturesque and, of course, dog friendly.
If you’re new to hiking with your dog, you may be unsure of how to properly include them on a hike. We’ve got you covered there too. We’ll fill you in on the correct etiquette for hiking with your dog. Keep reading to start getting ideas for your next adventure.
Hiking Trails To Explore With Your Dog
Sandy River Delta Park Crown Point Hwy, Troutdale, OR
Enjoy the beautiful views where the Columbia River meets with the Sandy River. The delta is filled with amazing biodiversity, so you’re sure to see some flora and fauna. The removal of an old dam has allowed this area to return to its natural state with fish native to the region flourishing.
There are 5 miles of trails that you and your dog can walk. Walk along the Confluence Trail which was one of the sites visited by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Meander along the Meadow Trail, marvel at the Columbia Gorge views, or take a few days and explore all 6 trails.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area 1000 Scenic Loop Dr, Las Vegas, NV
There are few things more majestic than the red rocks of the Southwest. If you are in the Las Vegas area, plan a trip to the Red Rocks National Conservation Area to explore the trails and enjoy the natural beauty of the desert. There are 26 trails to enjoy, each varying in length and difficulty. Each trail also gives you a different experience of the Nevada wilderness. Some of the trails can be strenuous, so be sure to pick one that your dog can easily handle and bring plenty of water.
North Carolina Arboretum 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC
Tucked within the Bent Creek Experimental Forest, the North Carolina Arboretum is 434 acres of nature combined with 65 acres of gardens. There are 10 miles of dog-friendly hiking trails to enjoy, ranging from easy to difficult. The Arboretum trails are adjacent to some of the other natural attractions of Asheville, like the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Pisgah National Forest.
Beaver Brook Trail 988 Lookout Mountain Road, Golden, CO
If you and your dog are seasoned hikers and you are looking for a challenge, then the Beaver Brook Trail in Golden Colorado might be just the ticket. This trail features forested hills with sweeping vistas and a stunning lake. Beaver Brook is 13.4 miles of strenuous hiking on the south rim of Clear Canyon. It has a back-country feel despite the fact that it is fairly heavily trafficked.
If you’re in the mood for a less strenuous hike, or you want to enjoy ocean views, visit Solstice Canyon in Malibu, California. Hike your way to the perennial waterfall, enjoying shady trails and bird watching. The ruins of the Keller house and the Roberts Ranch House will give you a glimpse of the area’s past. If you want something a little more challenging, the Rising Sun Trail offers a more vigorous experience on trails surrounded by coastal sage scrub and other riparian vegetation.
Acadia National Park 25 Visitor Center Road, Bar Harbor, ME
One of the top ten most visited national parks in the U.S, Acadia National Park is also one of the most dog-friendly national parks since it is one of the few that allows dogs. Though there are some trails that dogs are not allowed on, there are still over 100 miles of trails where you and your best pal can ramble along.
Hiking With Your Dog: Best Practices
While hiking with your dog, you want to respect other people and the wildlife that call these areas home. It’s not just a matter of courtesy, it’s also a matter of safety. That’s why it’s very important to follow the rules and best practices, so trails continue to be available to dogs and their humans. To keep everyone safe and preserve the environment, keep these things in mind:
- Keep your dog on a leash. For your dog’s safety and the safety of others, keep your dog leashed and controlled on trails. This will keep them from wandering someplace dangerous or having a run-in with other hikers who may panic seeing a strange dog alone on the trail. There are often areas where you can allow your dog free rein, so save the off-leash time for these designated areas.
- Stay on the trail and respect the locals. Your dog can do damage by digging in protected areas or by giving in to the instinct to chase and possibly injure the native wildlife. Don’t forget other animals can hurt your dog too. You don’t want your dog to suffer consequences like a snootful of porcupine quills. Nor do you want to have to ride home with them after they’ve been sprayed by a skunk.
- Pick up the poo. Nobody wants to end a peaceful hike with poo on their shoe. Bag it up, and as gross as it sounds, take it with you to dispose of at home. It’s better to remove it from the trailhead altogether instead of allowing it to attract pests.
- Know the rules and follow them! Before you take your dog out on a hike, make sure you know all of the trail’s rules. These rules are in place to keep you, your dog, and the wildlife safe.
- Keep your dog's health top of mind. Make sure that you know what you're signing up for my researching the trail ahead of time. But even with the most thorough research, things can happen. To be as prepared as possible, make sure that you have plenty of water and food for your dog. You may also want to pack some natural chews to give them an extra boost of all natural protein after a long, strenuous day.
Now you’ve got some ideas, and you know the proper etiquette. It’s time to grab those packs and go enjoy a hike with your dog!
Have a favorite dog-friendly hike of your own? Don’t forget to share with fellow dog owners in the comments!