In honor of National Take a Hike Day, Rover encourages you to get out there and hike with your pup! We’re sharing Animal Planet’s top picks for dog friendly hiking trails in the U.S.! Before hiking with your dog, be sure to take an inventory of their fitness, and pick a trail that suits their level of endurance. So read on, then power down the computer and hit the trails with Fido! If you have recommendations in your area for great hikes with dogs, please let us know in the comments below!
If you want to see gorgeous fall foliage, head to Acadia National Park in Maine, where your dog can hike with you on his leash on most of the park trails. There are 100 miles (160 kilometers) of hiking trails and 45 miles (72 kilometers) of carriage roads (flat roads) to choose from, some leading to this beautiful beach front!
If you are trying to introduce your dog to the sport of hiking, the best thing to do is to start with a shorter trail. That’s why a place like Inspiration Trail is perfect for the two of you! The trail itself is less than one mile and can be completed in about 20 minutes. It’s a great practice run to get your pup ready for stomping with the big dogs on larger trails.
Your dog won’t be able to hike with you in most of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which offers more than 800 miles (1,287 kilometers) of trails between North Carolina and Tennessee, but your pup can still get a taste of the park’s history and flavor because she is allowed to trot along the Gatlinburg Trail in Tennessee. Along the way, you’ll be treated to the view of the Little Pigeon River.
If you want to get a break from the slot machines, Elvis look-a-likes and 1,001 Motown revues, take the short 30-minute car ride from Sin City and head over to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. You’ll find that the real stars are the plants and wild animals found along the hiking trails.
Nothing beats hiking a trail that spans about 2,000 miles (3,219 kilometers). It doesn’t get bigger than the Appalachian Trail, which runs through 14 states from Georgia to Maine. It’s a hiker’s dream because it passes through several state and national parks, forests and public lands. Since parts of the trail call for rugged hiking and challenging weather conditions while other areas are flat and smooth, you will need to choose the part of the trail that’s the best fit for your dog’s health and overall endurance.
Fairmount Park is located in one of America’s most historic cities, Philadelphia, and is one of the largest urban parks in America. It has more than 9,200 acres (3,723 hectares) for you and your beloved dog to enjoy and is the largest landscaped park in the country. There are more than 215 miles (346 kilometers) of trails, so a hike is certainly in order. The park houses 63 neighborhood and regional parks, so it’s perfect for a day trip for you and your dog. There’s much to see in Fairmont Park between the cherry blossoms, an azalea garden, statues, monuments and outdoor concert venues.
A 160-acre (64.7 hectare) city park near Hollywood and the Hollywood Hills in the Golden State, Runyon Canyon Park is a dog’s and dog lover’s dream. What makes Runyon Canyon Park so doggone great is that your canine can run free from his leash on certain trails (posted signs indicate which trails are off-leash and which ones are leashed). The park gets a lot of traffic from both two-legged and four-legged friends, so it’s a great place to connect with fellow dog owners and even spot some celebrities.
Hiking is a beautiful way to see all that nature has to offer, but sometimes you hike to get to what’s at the end of the road. We’ve found a 30-foot example of this in Monrovia Canyon Park, Calif. Your family and leashed pup will enjoy trekking to the 30-foot (9.14 meter) Monrovia Falls, a waterfall found in the San Gabriel Mountains.
In the Kootenai National Forest found in the Northwest corner of Montana, there’s an 8-mile (12-kilometer) roundtrip hike to the Little Spar Lake. You will hike by cliffs and meadows up to higher elevations, past Spar Peak to the lake that sits in the basin of Scotchman Peak. On the journey you’ll see towering cliffs, meadows and giant cedars.
No list of hiking trails would be complete without the Grand Canyon National Park. The size of the Grand Canyon — 277 miles (446 kilometers) long down the river, up to 18 miles (29 kilometers) wide and a mile (1.6 kilometers) deep — is what attracts 5 million tourists to this majestic and historical park every year. Your dog won’t be able to hike below the rim, which is known as the Inner Canyon, for everyone’s safety. However, on his leash, your dog is allowed on trails above the South Rim of the canyon and in the Mather Campground, Desert View Campground, and Trailer Village where breathtaking views can be found.