The Best Pet-Friendly Hikes Across America
Adventurer & Photographer
#1: Siphon Draw in Lost Dutchman State Park, Arizona
Lost Dutchman State Park is a Sonoran desert paradise, and a great place to take your pet hiking. Siphon Draw is the most popular hike, a four-mile roundtrip beginning from the campground and winding up the canyon. Pets must be kept on a maximum 6-foot leash and picked up after—owners can find bag dispensers in the day-use parking lot.
#2: North Mount Elbert Trail in Leadville, Colorado
Mount Elbert is the highest 14er (a peak with an elevation above 14,000 feet) in Colorado, and the highest summit of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. This hike is NOT for beginners—it’s for advanced hikers with lots of experience. North Mount Elbert trail is a 9.3-mile out and back with about 4,471 feet of elevation gain. Dogs and horses are allowed on the trail. Be sure to get an early start as thunderstorms often roll in mid-afternoons and can be dangerous.
#3: Coal Creek Trail in Bellevue, Washington
Coal Creek Trail is a 5.1-mile out and back trail located near Bellevue, Washington that sees quite a bit of traffic. The trail is dog-friendly, features a waterfall, forest views, bird-watching, and an old coal mine shaft. To see the waterfall at its best, wait until a few days after a heavy rainfall. Don’t hike the trail until the dirt is dried out however, because the mud is slippery and will cause erosion to the trail.
#4: The Appalachian Trail, East Coast
The Appalachian Trail is a well-known trail spanning from Georgia to Maine, extending most of the U.S. east coast. It’s the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. Many people spend months on the trail attempting to “through hike” the entire 2,190 miles. Pets are allowed everywhere except three areas. Dogs must be leashed on the 40% of the trail that uses National Park Service-administered lands, though they recommend keeping your dogs leashed to protext them from encounters with wildlife. Pack animals, like horses and mules, are not allowed of the Appalachian Trail.
#5: Jones Run Falls in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Shenandoah National Park extends along the Blue Ridge Mountains and contains about 516 miles of hiking trails, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Jones Run Falls is a moderate 3.2-mile round trip hike through the forest, over a mountain stream, and features a 42-foot waterfall. Pets are allowed, but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times.