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.
1. Theodore Roosevelt Island
Potomac River, Washington, D.C.
- “Living memorial” to the 26th president of the United States
- 2.5 miles of leisurely trails through wooded paths
- Kayaking and Canoeing available for people and boat-savvy dogs
- Less than 50 miles from D.C.
- Features Civil War battlegrounds, riverside walks, and challenging mountain climbs
- Photograph your dog at the midpoint of the 2,178-mile Appalachian Trail
3. Prince William Forest Park
- 15,000 acre refuge with 37 miles of hiking trails
- 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
5. Catoctin Mountain Park
6602 Foxville Road, Thurmont, MD 21788
- Site of presidential retreat Camp David
- Leashed dogs allowed on all park trails and in Owens Creek Campground
- 25 miles of hiking trails with great views of the Monocacy River Valley
- Easy, moderate, and challenging trails for human and canine hikers of all abilities
6. Shenandoah National Park
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East, Luray, VA 22835
- One of only a few national parks that allows pets on their trails
- Bear sightings are common (so keep dogs leashed, and do not approach bears)
- The Whiteoak Canyon trail passes six waterfalls
7. Scott’s Run Nature Preserve
7400 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA 22102
- 300-plus acres of dog-friendly trails
- Part of the Potomac Gorge, and one of the rarest biological ecosystems in the mid-Atlantic
- Some trails have rocky bluffs unsafe for dogs
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!