Beautiful flowers bloom across the landscape, painting the countryside in bold colors and filling the air with the sweet aroma of spring. Winter is finally over, and it’s time to “em-bark” with your hound on an outdoor adventure. These spectacular spring hikes offer the best of the new season for two- and four-legged trekkers alike.
Posted by Billy Francis
1. Bluebell Trail
The Bluebell Trail in Bull Run Regional Park, Virginia, is sprinkled with more than 25 varieties of wildflowers along its path. The most abundant is the breathtaking bluebell, a perennial plant that spills across the forest floor, reaching peak numbers in mid-April. This well-trodden trail is rated easy and is 1.5 miles long.
The nearby Residence Inn by Marriott Manassas Battlefield Park gives you and your pooch a comfortable and reliable base camp for your springtime adventures.
2. Tongass National Forest
Roughly the size of West Virginia, Tongass National Forest is America’s largest national forest. Leashed dogs are welcome year-round on trails leading to epic glaciers, rainforests, salmon streams and jaw-dropping panoramic views. At the tail end of spring, visitors can enjoy something equally as majestic: the sprouting of more than 50 different types of native wildflowers. Walk among violets, bluebells and other colorful plants poking their heads above ground along the moderate Deer Mountain Trail, one of many popular paths through the forest. Plan your visit between May and June for the best selection of flora.
You’ll need a few days to explore all that Tongass has to offer. Spend your nights at Westcoast Cape Fox Lodge and enjoy this natural paradise and the picturesque Alaskan countryside with your pooch.
3. Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail
Upon completion, Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail will span 120 miles from Breaks Interstate Park to Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. The 42 miles that are already finished offer unparalleled access to one of Kentucky’s last remaining stretches of unfragmented forest. The relatively untouched land is a travel corridor for black bears, home to a restored elk population, and a canvas for native Kentucky plants each spring. This trail is rated as moderate. The best time to visit is from April through the end of May.
Pine Mountain State Resort Park is located a short drive from the trailhead in Pineville and offers expansive forest views.
4. Grandfather Mountain
Shuffle over to Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina for a great spring hike with your pooch. The name comes from early settlers who claimed they could see the outline of an old man’s face on the peaks. One of the more difficult trails is the Grandfather Mountain Trail, a beautiful, rugged, out-and-back pathway covered in wildflowers. Ladders and cables will help you cross more treacherous areas, so less mobile dogs might struggle with this unique hike. The best time to visit is March for violets, May for magnolias and June for daisies, but there are lots of colorful plants sprouting throughout spring.
Part of Grandfather Mountain’s allure is that it remains relatively undeveloped. One of the few pet-friendly hotels in the area is the Best Western Mountain Lodge at Banner Elk.
5. Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park is known for pretty caves, meandering rivers and ancient hot springs. Trek on 26 miles of pet-friendly hiking trails around the park, with pathways suitable for all different levels. If you’re embarking on the easier Sunset Trail, you’ll be greeted by an abundance of wildflowers that line the path. Dogs are welcome on the trails but should avoid the hot springs and historic buildings. The best time of year to visit is spring.
Stay on the park’s doorstep at the pet-friendly Embassy Suites Hot Springs Hotel & Spa.
6. Sleeping Giant Trail
The Sleeping Giant Trail is a stunning 3.5-mile hike leading to astonishing views of the rainforest that engulfs most of Kauai, the Garden Isle. Hikers are rewarded for their perseverance with a feast for the eyes of brightly colored wildflowers. Legend says that the mountain is actually a giant who ate far too much at a party, had to lie down and hasn’t awakened since--so make sure your pup’s barks are kept to a minimum. Stick to the marked paths, as wild pigs roam the area and create a number of dangerous hiking trails of their own. This trail is moderate. The best time of year to see wildflowers in bloom is late May.
After conquering the Sleepy Giant, Fido can rest up in one of Kapaʻa’s pet-friendly vacation rentals.
7. Mayflower Gulch Trail
Dive headfirst into Colorado’s unique history and natural beauty on the pet-friendly Mayflower Gulch Trail. Your adventure begins with an incline through a forest, before the trail opens up into a huge valley with views of the upper part of Mayflower Gulch. Explore the abandoned ruins of the old mining town that was once a bustling destination for early settlers. At nearly 6 miles, this moderate trail is no walk in the park, but the secluded Old West vibe makes it worth the effort. Wildflowers are more abundant in summer in this region of Colorado, but you’ll still find sprinklings of color in late spring.
Stay on theme with a night or two at A River Runs Through It. Constructed from native logs in 1938, the pet-friendly Airbnb lets you watch the river flow underneath your feet from the comfort of your bedroom.
8. Niquette Bay State Park Trail
If you time your visit to Niquette Bay State Park just right, you’ll be rewarded with an extraordinary display of spring flowers. At just over 3 miles in length, Niquette Bay State Park Trail offers most levels of hiker a chance to see the dazzling array of lilies, Dutchman's breeches and more. The short window of opportunity to see the flowers is in late April, but the park makes a great, pet-friendly hiking destination at any time of the year.
When you’re not on the trails, lounge on a private beach and challenge your family to a table tennis tournament at this 6-Bedroom Lakefront House around the coast of Malletts Bay.
9. Mount Timpanogos
Seasoned canine hikers will relish the challenge of scaling Mount Timpanogos on the Timpooneke Trail. This popular trek takes visitors on a tour of Utah’s stunning mountain peaks, refreshing waterfalls and abundance of wildflowers that arrive toward the end of spring. Make sure you keep your pooch leashed, because there’s a high chance you’ll run into mountain goats along the trail or standing awkwardly on impossible-to reach-ledges. This difficult trek is nearly 15 miles there and back, so plan accordingly with plenty of supplies for a full day’s hike.
Return to civilization for a night of recovery at TownePlace Suites by Marriott Provo Orem before heading out on your next adventure around Utah’s vast backcountry.
10. Dog Mountain Trail
Dog Mountain Trail is divided into two routes: difficult and more difficult. With that being said, determined hikers reap the reward of a uniquely fantastic sight of thick yellow balsamroot atop a mountain peak. The best time to see the stunning wildflower display is from May until June.
For more trails, views and wildflowers, reserve a night in a Carson Ridge Luxury Cabin. The included three-course gourmet breakfast will give you plenty of fuel for your hike.
Where’s your favorite pet-friendly spring hike? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!
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