Dog Friendly Hiking Trails in America: The Best Places to Walk Your Dog

August 13, 2020

Dog Friendly Hiking Trails in America: The Best Places to Walk Your Dog

There are many hiking trails across America that are fun to explore with your dog. From national forest territories and wide parkland spaces to watery wanderings, there's plenty of space to travel and get some deserved exercise. 

The best part is, it doesn't matter where you live — there are amazing hiking trails for dogs in every state. You just have to do your research, and eventually, you'll have your favorite places to exercise with your dog near home. 

So, if you're wondering “What are some dog-friendly trails near me?”, we have some great recommendations for you, no matter which state you're in!

Explore these dog walking trails with your pup for a change of scenery and to burn extra calories! 

Woman enjoying hiking with her dog

Explore Forests and Arboretums 

There are hundreds of National Forests spread across America. With vast sweeps of woodland and mapped out hiking trails, there are some breathtaking spots to explore. 

In almost every U.S. state rests a national forest, so wherever you are, have a look in a guidebook at what lies in your area. Woods are great, shady places to explore, where you don't have to worry about your dog overheating. 

Arboretum trails provide similarly simple and enjoyable routes. The set trail paths will take you on adventures through different forest scenes that both you can your pup can enjoy together. 

A few suggestions: 

forest park wildwood trail

This point to point trail is frequently used by hikers, cyclists and nature lovers. With beautiful wildflowers and bird watching facilities, the route makes for a great adventure. 

Dogs are allowed but should be kept on leashes while traveling the hiking route. 

Ability: Difficult 

Distance: 30 miles (full route)

Terrain: Variable with steep inclines

This beautiful Arboretum is the perfect hiking spot if you're seeking a relaxed, partially shady route. As a fairly quiet route with few traffic hoards, it's a great place to hike with your four-legged friends. 

If you're a nature lover, a keen walker, or even a serious hiker, this spot offers plenty of space to be enjoyed. 

Ability: Easy 

Distance: Just over 2 miles 

Terrain: Paved paths, partially shaded 

Grand Teton National Park is one of America's geographic wonders. Nearby rests the Bridger-Teton National Forest, which boasts several hiking trail routes. 

From the forest, you'll see stunning views of the park and surrounding mountains. If you prefer a lakeside hike, however, you can move from the shaded forest trails out into the open. The most well-known trail provides an exceptional view of Snow King Mountain. 

Whatever your preference, there's plenty to see. You're also able to bring your dog along to enjoy the landscapes with you. 

Ability: Moderate to difficult 

Distance: Varying routes 

Terrain: Shaded wood areas, lakeside tracks, steep ascents 


From vast national parks to smaller, local spaces, there are many open areas across America for you and your dog to explore. Parkland routes are great to start out with if both you and your dog are beginner hikers.

Parkland walks might seem easier than hiking up a mountain. However, you still need to be prepared for exercise. Before venturing out, make sure you have water and snacks for your dog. Bring a bottle of water with you and encourage your dog with their favorite treat!

Protected areas are always popular among walkers and tourists, and with good reason. The many protected parklands in America landscape are worth visiting. 

If you're tired of your local area, try looking for trails in other states and take your dog for a short hiking holiday. 

A few suggestions:

Seward Park

Dogs on leashes are welcomed at Steward Park and the surrounding hiking trails. The 6 different trail paths wind through old forests and pass along waterfronts were dogs can stop and have a splash. 

Ability: Easy

Distance: 2.4 miles roundtrip 

Terrain: Easy trail paths  

The multiple trails along this route offer a mix of shady paths and open sky routes. Trails are ideal of nature lovers and keen hikers and dogs are most definitely welcome. 

Ability: Easy to moderate 

Distance: 5.47 miles 

Terrain: Shaded trail paths 

Hiking With Your Dog

Canyons and Mountainous Terrain 

Canyons and mountainous trails are best for experienced hikers. If you have some knowledge of hiking, you'll know that rocky routes can be tough. 

If you have a dog with you, hiking for a long time on rough ground will be tiring for your pet. However, if you train your dog up to be a strong companion, there's nothing stopping you. Start small by exposing your dog to parkland routes with low mileage, and work them up gradually with each trip. Soon, they'll get the idea that you need exercise, and they'll keep up.

Across America, vast mountain ranges and deep canyons spatter the landscape. Whether it's the Grand Canyon or somewhere smaller, there are numerous dog-friendly walking trails you can explore. 

A few suggestions: 

Grand Canyon

The canyon trails are popular with hikers and if you enjoy hiking with your dog, this is an excellent spot to visit. 

The canyon is home to several stunning trail routes. Some run along the North rim and others along the South. Just look up which trails are dog appropriate and which are reserved for humans before embarking on your adventure. 

Ability: Moderate to difficult 

Distance: 0.5 to 28 miles (Colorado River round route) 

Terrain: Rocky 

Runyon Canyon Park

Another popular hiking route, this ninety-acre park offers vast opportunities and views of Los Angeles. The great thing is dogs aren't required to be on leashes either!

Ability: Moderate

Distance: Ninety acre, 0.45 miles- to 4 miles (various routes) 

Terrain: Rocky 

This natural ravine runs East from Sandy into the mountains. The trail is used by runners, cyclists, and hikers, but is also enjoyed by nature lovers. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on leashes. 

Ability: Easy 

Distance: 5.2 miles 

Terrain: Flat and mountainous areas

Rivers and Lakes 

There's no better place to take your dog than somewhere with water. On a hot day, a quick splash can be a welcome treat for pups on an energetic hike. 

With rivers, lakes, cascades and sea scenes, there are many beautiful waterside trails across America. These are particularly great in the summer seasons, but you can enjoy many of these suggestions in the winter as well. 

While dogs can cool down in the water, do make sure you have water for yourself to drink. Riverside hikes are often out in the open and can be incredibly hot in the height of summer. 

A few suggestions: 

With a lake and nearby creek, this hiking trail is a great route to explore. If hiking with dogs is your preference, then this area should be on your list to visit. 

Ability: Easy

Distance: 2 miles approx. 

Terrain: Lakeside paths 

Trails run above the falls, safe for hikers and dogs to enjoy. Below, a series of waterfalls flow down a 1,400-foot canyon. 

The route can take one to four hours to complete, depending on conditions and on the individual. Dogs must remain on a leash but are free to enjoy the trail areas with their owners. 

Ability: Easy 

Distance: 0.4 to 3 miles 

Terrain: Steep and rocky with set trail paths 

The hiking path runs around a small lake and offers a fantastic view of the surrounding landscape. The trails last for about two hours and are ideal for a short but fulfilling hike. Just make sure you have enough water for hot days when you'll be out in the open. 

Ability: Easy to difficult 

Distance: 400 acres, various routes 

Terrain: Varied  

National Monuments 

For the more experienced hikers and energetic dogs, rocky trail routes are great fun. America is home to some brilliant mountainousness spaces where climbers, hikers and nature lovers come to explore the great outdoors. 

National Monuments can be enjoyed if you're a tourist or a local resident. There are many scattered across the U.S. which can be explored by hikers and their dogs. 

A few suggestions: 

Devil's Postpile


This unusual formation of columnar basalt is a geological wonder and a National Monument. It is located near Mammoth mountain, California and is surrounded by a great, dog-friendly hiking route. 

Ability: Easy to moderate 

Distance: 6 miles 

Terrain: Rocky trails 


Close to another National Monument, Devils' Tower, is an excellent hiking trail. The route is used both for hiking and for nature trips and is best between April and October. 

Ability: Easy but heavy traffic during the afternoons 

Distance: 1.3 miles 

Terrain: Trail paths 

Art and Garden Trails 

Art trails provide easy hiking routes. While your dog can explore the surrounding areas along the paths, you can enjoy the art on display. It's a great way to have some exercise and get a sense of the local culture.  

Open, garden terrain can also be fun to explore. Take your dog hiking up through the hills and mountains to beauty spots with stunning views. America is home to many amazing places, so do your research and find the best, dog-friendly forests and gardens in your area. 

Both types of trail are great in the Autumn months when icy routes and mountainous terrains may be closed or unadvisable. 

A few suggestions: 

You might not even think of taking your dog to an art museum, but there are many in America that welcome canine pets. 

The outdoor park boasts several hiking trails, winding amid various sculptures that you can enjoy at your leisure. This steady-paced hiking spot is ideal for owners and dogs alike. 

Ability: Easy 

Distance: 2.2 miles 

Terrain: Paved paths, partially shaded 

Garden of the Gods


These relatively easy trails wind around beautiful red rock formations. There are several trails that take hikers through some stunning scenery. 

All routes are dog-friendly walking trails, but you should still check online whether an easy or moderate track would be best. 

Ability: Easy to moderate 

Distance: 0.5 miles to 3 miles (21 miles for all routes) 

Terrain: Rocky with set trails 


We've covered a few of the hundreds of dog-friendly trails laid out across America. If we didn't cover your state, google 'dog-friendly trails near me' and explore on your own! Just make sure you check out trails first to judge distance, terrain, and ability range before venturing out. 

If you find great trails that aren't in this guide, let us know!

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