Backpacking with dogs, as long as your pup is prepared, can be one of the great joys of dog ownership. Your dog is, after all, another member of the family. However, time on the trail usually means leaving your furry friends back at home, sometimes boarded up in a kennel while you enjoy all the fun. Pets love exploring just as much as their human counterparts, and there are a number of hiking spots in the US that cater to people and their little “bundles of joy”. Now, the next time you head out on a backpacking adventure, you can bring your dog along for the trip.
That’s right – if you ever had a goal of conquering the Appalachian Trail, why not bring your dog along? There are only three parts of the trail that you can’t go backpacking with dogs. Just avoid Bear Mountain State Park, Baxter State Park and The Smoky Mountains. Otherwise, everything else is fair game as long as you think your dog is up for the challenge. Be mindful of your dog’s needs before hitting the trails. Also, be courteous of others who may not be expecting to see a dog on their own hike. That means bring a leash, even though there are many parts your dog can roam free.
Acadia National Park
Located in Maine, Acadia National Park is a great place to go backpacking with your dog. There are over 100 miles of trails here that your pet can sniff and explore, as long as your bud is on a leash. Bring your dog to the Cadillac Mountains, the tallest on the East Coast, or take your dog near Long Pond where he or she can swim. End the day at Bar Harbor, where dogs are welcome in many shops and restaurants, then unwind after the long day by spending a night at one of the many pet-friendly campgrounds.
Runyon Canyon Park
Runyon Canyon Park provides over 130-acres for owners and their pets to hike, surrounded by the Santa Monica Hills. Dogs can run off their leashes, where they can get some good exercise while you take in the scenic views. Because of its proximity to Hollywood, you and your dog may even encounter celebrity dogs in the area.
Kootenai National Forest
Located in Montana, Kootenai National Forest is a beautiful place for backpacking with dogs who love everything about the outdoors just as much as you. Take your dog to the Bluebird Lake Highline Trail where a long, five mile hike will give you and your pal plenty of time to walk. Then, come explore the Ten Lakes Scenic Area, where you can enjoy an authentic backcountry experience with your canine right by your side.
Westridge Canyonback Wilderness Park
The Westridge Canyonback Wilderness Park is 1,500 acres of open backcountry where you can go backpacking with dogs. This park is also located in the Santa Monica Mountains. Here, you and your pup can enjoy endless canyons, valleys, curvy mountainsides, and views of the Santa Monica Bay. The trails even provide mutt mitts so owners can clean up after their dogs along the way.
Dead Horse Point State Park
Come enjoy the views of the Colorado River and the countryside of Canyonlands National Park, all alongside your mutt. The views at the peak, 2,000 feet above the river, are breathtaking, and your dog will be glad they came. Located in Moab, Utah, Dead Horse Point State Park has been designed to accommodate dogs with miles of paved trails that provide the same access to all the perfect lookout points. Keep your dog on a leash while you’re here, and admire the beauty of the vista together.
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon is an amazing place to visit, but did you know your dog can appreciate the trip, too? Dogs are allowed anywhere above ‘the rim’, and there are plenty of campgrounds where you can bring your dog overnight. Just make sure they are on a leash at all times. Dogs aren’t allowed in the canyon, but the park has a kennel where you can board your dog for a bit while you continue on the rest of the hike.