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Exploring America's Wilds
By Jessica Remitz
Whether you’re a seasoned hiking and camping veteran or a newbie just looking to explore some easy trails with your family for an afternoon, don’t forget to bring your pup along for the ride. Here are eight of the best U.S. hiking trails for you and your dog, from coast to coast — and beyond!
1. Acadia National Park, Maine
With 100 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads that are pet friendly, Acadia National Park is a must-do for hiking buffs on the East Coast. Pets are also permitted on Blackwoods and Seawall campgrounds and on Isle au Haut for day hiking. As most lakes in the park are public water supplies, pets and people are not permitted to swim in them. For beautiful views of the park’s ocean shoreline and coastal forests, try hiking along the 27-mile Park Loop Road, open from April 15 through November. Pets must be on a leash no more than six feet long in all areas of the park.
2. Runyon Canyon, California
A 160-acre park located in the heart of Los Angeles, Runyon Canyon offers some of the best views of the city in addition to three different hiking trails and a park devoted to dogs. From novice to more experienced hiker, each trail has a different level of difficulty to meet your fitness needs. Home to one of the largest off-leash dog parks in the city, you can let your pup explore the 90-acre off leash area before clipping on his leash for a hike.
Reviewers on Yelp say the beautiful 360-degree views of Los Angeles combined with amazing trails and exercise enthusiasts make Runyon Canyon the ideal hiking destination within the city.
3. Fairmount Park, Pennsylvania
Another urban park with more than 9,200 acres of trails, woodlands and waterfront, Fairmount Park is open from sunrise to sunset to all Philadelphia-area residents and visitors. Take a long hike in the woods or walk along the water and find a place to picnic with your pup. Pets must be on a leash no more than six feet long at all times, though, so be sure to keep your dog on-leash and nearby as you explore the park’s natural landscapes.
4. Kealia Trail, Hawaii
This tropical two and a half mile trail offers beautiful views of Waialua and Haleiwa towns and the north shore of Oahu. Stop at the top of Kealia Trail to check out the view of Dillingham Airfield and the fixed-wing gliders as they soar above you. Hunting dogs are allowed off-leash on the trail, while hikers with their pets must keep their dogs on leash at all times.
Reviewers on Yelp say the trail is very dog friendly and can make for a good workout or a nice stroll, depending on your pace. It’s also mostly shaded so you won’t have to fear your pup overheating.
5. Lake Dorothy, Washington
One of the largest bodies of water within the over 390,000-acre Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Lake Dorothy is a wonderful afternoon hike for beginners and their pups. End your hike along two-mile shoreline or, if you’re looking for a longer workout, continue on to the twin lakes of Bear and Deer, passing campsites, lounging ledges and scenic spots along the way.
6. Red Rock Canyon, Nevada
Located just west of Las Vegas, the Red Rock Canyon offers 19 different trails of stunning desert wildlife and scenery. Try the Calico Hills trail for a hike that’s moderate and runs as short as two miles or as long as six, depending on which end of the parking area you enter. Pets are allowed on all trails in Red Rock Canyon, but it’s recommended that they be kept on-leash at all times. Owners are also required to clean up after their dogs in the park.
7. The Appalachian Trail, Georgia through Maine
One of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world, the Appalachian Trail measures approximately 2,180 miles in length and sees between two and three million visitors each year. It’s recommended that dogs be leashed on the trail at all times as a matter of courtesy to other hikers and to minimize stress on the wildlife along the trail, but it’s required on more than 40 percent of the trail, including the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, and along the over 500 miles of Appalachian Trail land administered by the National Park Service.
8. The Cascades at Lake Mohegan, Connecticut
This recreation area Cascades at Lake Mohegan, located in Fairfield, has been transformed from a construction area into a beach, wildlife preserve and trail network for hikers, beach-goers, and fishermen to enjoy with their dogs. The area provides bins for disposal of your pup’s waste but you’ll need to remember to bring your own bags. BringFido.com reviewers say the area is a wonderful hike with your dog, especially if you walk around the entire lake. There are areas for your pup to swim as well.