Our favorite summer hikes will have your pup bounding through fields of wildflowers, dipping a paw in waterfalls, and meandering on pathways beneath shady canopies. There’s a trek for every level and taste on this list, and trails from coast to coast. Don’t forget to keep Fido leashed unless otherwise stated, take plenty of breaks on hot days, and bring the right hiking gear for your dog.
Posted by Billy Francis
1. Jones Gap Trail
Get a taste of the Upstate on Jones Gap Loop Trail. Covered by the shade of rich woodland, it’s a great summer hike to undertake with your adventurous hound. Along the way, she’ll be rewarded for her “paw-serverance” by the sights of water tumbling over rocks at numerous waterfalls and the sounds of bubbling creeks. While you’re there, check out the other pet-friendly trails at Jones Gap State Park. This out-and-back trail is just over 10 miles long and is rated moderate.
Fido can rest his paws in nearby Travelers Rest at this eclectic studio.
2. Mosca Pass Trail
Flower power is very much alive on the Mosca Pass Trail in Great Sand Dunes National Park. Climb with your pooch through a corridor created by aspens and evergreens. The first section of the trail passes through a valley, so don’t forget to pause and look back at the view before you descend. The pièce de résistance awaits after 2 miles, when the trail opens up into an expanse of meadows covered with a variety of sniffable wildflowers. Elsewhere in the national park, you’ll find the tallest sand dunes in North America. This trail is 6.4 miles out-and-back and is rated moderate.
After a fun day out on the trails, wind down at the aptly named Lucky Little Dog. The small, rustic cabin has everything you and Fido will need under one roof.
3. Sunset Ridge and Long Trail Loop
Sunset Ridge and Long Trail Loop is a quintessential Vermont hike. Located in Underhill State Park on the west slope of the state’s highest peak, Mt. Mansfield, the hike offers fabulous vistas and a nice waterfall along the way. The loop is 6 miles and can be difficult, especially when wet.
The Lodge at Spruce Peak goes all out to welcome four-legged guests. Fido will even be greeted with a bed and a bowl to use during his stay.
4. Sandy River Delta Park
Who’s ready for some off-leash action? Sandy River Delta Park consists of 1,000 acres of trails that lead to a river to cool down in. You’ll need a few visits to see it all, but if your dog is responsive it's a wonderful place to play without the constraints of a leash. Sandy River Delta Park is home to a variety of trails for all levels of hiker.
Oregon’s beauty is not just reserved for hikes. Sit out on the patio and enjoy river views from this pretty waterfront guesthouse.
5. Sargent Mountain Loop
Jordan Pond is one of Acadia National Park’s finest sights. Formed by glacial melt, the shimmering blue waters cover 187 acres of the park. Sargent Mountain Loop runs alongside the water and across two of the highest peaks on Mount Desert Island, the largest island off the coast of Maine. It's a must-try when Fido visits the most pet-friendly national parks in the country.
6. Ice Age Trail - Table Bluff Segment
Sculpted by glaciers melting, the Ice Age Trail covers 1,000 miles of Wisconsin countryside. Fortunately for Fido, the Table Bluff Segment is just 4.5 miles of the overall pathway, but still contains some real gems. Wander together through restored prairies, meadows full of wildflowers and up steep, rocky slopes. This out-and-back pathway is rated moderate.
Hang out with your hound on 5 acres of countryside surrounded by expansive marshland at this large villa in Cross Plains.
7. Richland Balsam Nature Loop Trail
Richland Balsam Nature Loop Trail is an easy hike through a cool pine forest in North Carolina. The ramble should take leisurely strollers around an hour to complete, and they’ll be rewarded with views across the Blue Ridge Parkway at one of the highest points in the area. Leashed dogs are welcome to enjoy this trail that offers a mountain air respite during the hotter summer months.
8. Sunset Peak Trail
Sunset Peak Trail is a popular pet-friendly hike that leads to stunning views of the San Gabriel Mountain Range. Most of the pathway is a fire road, so there’s plenty of room to pass safely and no need to carry Fido over random obstacles. When you reach the top, enjoy panoramic views of the Baldy Bowl that seem to go on forever. The Californian heat can be overpowering, so try to set off before sunrise or late in the day to catch the setting sun. Sunset Peak Trail is rated as easy.
Hike and explore San Bernardino Forest from this classic cabin that comes with panoramic views of Lytle Creek Valley.
9. Blood Mountain Loop
The Appalachian Trail is on most serious hikers’ bucket lists, but if you just want to get a taste for the AT, head to Blood Mountain Loop in Chattahoochee National Forest. This 6-mile loop takes you to the top of the mountain for incredible views across the southern Appalachians and back down through a shady forest of ferns, great for a cool down on the decline. As a reminder that you’re on a section of the granddaddy of great American trails, there’s a historic, rustic shelter to explore on the way. Blood Mountain Loop is rated difficult.
Wake to the sound of a babbling creek right at your backdoor at Suches Creekside Cabin. You and your pooch can hop on the pet-friendly trail behind the house for just three minutes to reach a wonderful waterfall.
10. Mount Ellinor
Make your way through a peaceful forest and wildflower meadows at Mount Ellinor. Active hounds who reach the top will be rewarded with spectacular views of Lake Cushman and Puget Sound. All the trails at Olympic National Forest are pet-friendly, so spend a few days in the area and explore river crossings, lakes and more with your pooch. The best time to attempt the trail is from July through September, when the snow has melted away. This 6-mile out-and-back trail is moderately difficult, but there are frequent turnaround points for less experienced hikers.
Dogs can dive off the dock all day at this waterfront vacation home in nearby Bremerton.
What’s your dog’s favorite summer hike? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!
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