Looking to take an outdoor adventure with your dog near our nation’s capital? Look no further! We’ve compiled a list of the best dog-friendly hikes near Washington, D.C. Pack up your water bottle, backpack, and first aid kit, and get ready to hit the trails.
Potomac River, Washington, D.C.
- 88.5-acre island dedicated to our 26th President
- 1.6 mile easy trail & boardwalk over swamp, elevation of less than 50 feet
- heavily trafficked loop trail through wooded paths, good for all skill levels
- kayaking and canoeing available for people and boat-savvy dogs
- Less than 50 miles from D.C.
- 20 hiking, running and walking trails
- 14 moderate trails in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park ranging from 1.2 to 50.9 miles
- Features Civil War battlegrounds, riverside walks, and challenging mountain climbs
- 15,000-acre forested park, 25 miles south of D.C.
- 37 miles of hiking trails across Quantico Creek
- One scenic drive provides you with access to virtually all trails in the park
- Used as a spy-training facility by the OSS prior to WWII
- Dog waste must be removed from campsites, picnic areas, parking lots, trails and other public use areas.
4. Mt. Vernon
3200 Mount Vernon Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121
- Gentle, historic hikes through the grounds of George Washington’s 500-acre estate
- Because George Washington loved dogs, they are welcome on the grounds and in some indoor areas
- Specialty tours for dogs and their people offered in winter and fall
6602 Foxville Road, Thurmont, MD 21788
- Leashed dogs allowed on all park trails, but not on rock formations
- Beware the weather as it greatly affects trails, check the website for alerts before you go
- 25 miles of hiking trails with great views of the Monocacy River Valley
- 12 moderate trails ranging from 1.7 to 8.6 miles and from 823 to 1,653 feet above sea level
- Easy, moderate, and challenging trails for human and canine hikers of all abilities
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East, Luray, VA 22835
- 75 miles from D.C., one of only a few national parks that allows pets on their trails
- 109 moderate trails ranging from 0.8 to 104.7 miles and from 606 to 4,048 feet above sea level
- Trails have many scenic overlooks and views of the Shenandoah River
- Bear sightings are common so keep dogs leashed and do not approach bears
- Access road (Skyline Drive) can get treacherous in winter so check conditions online first
7400 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA 22102
- 300-plus acres of dog-friendly trails (all levels of difficultly available)
- Two entrances, both with parking lots
- Some trails are steep with sheer drop-offs, so research before choosing (and definitely don’t choose those ones when hiking with dogs)
- One of Fairfax County’s most diverse natural landscapes
Dogs need lots of exercise, but don’t worry if you don’t have time or energy to hit the trail today. Hire an awesome local dog walker and your dog will thank you!