The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single pawprint! The United States offers countless dog-friendly hiking trails from coast to coast, featuring a wide variety of terrains, elevations, and views that you and your natural-born adventurer can enjoy. Whether you’re trailblazing trainees or exploration experts, your perfect route is out there just waiting to be discovered. Pack some water and natural dog treats, grab your gear, and set out for these breathtaking hiking trails with your Cadet!
1. Acadia National Park (Mount Desert Island, Maine)
Maine’s sole national park is a haven for furry friends and people alike. According to the National Park Service, Acadia National Park covers an astounding 47,000 acres along the state’s coast and offers 100 miles of pet-friendly hiking trails. Casual seaside strolls and vigorous Appalachian treks provide some amazing adventure opportunities.
Something wonderful is always on the horizon. Six months out of the year, the first rays of sunlight in the United States strike Acadia’s Cadillac Mountain, says USA Today. The park is also home to several pet-friendly campgrounds. Thanks to its lush variety of offerings, Acadia is always an exciting choice.
2. Letchworth State Park (Castile, New York)
Hiking dogs who love diverse terrain should check out Letchworth State Park. According to ny.gov, the robust 66 miles of hiking trails span over 14,000 acres of forests, cliffs, and waterways. Now that’s what we call a #CadetAdventure.
Known as the Grand Canyon of the East, these extensive grounds illustrate the beauty and spaciousness of Upstate New York. Be sure to take in the ambiance—incredible wildlife and picturesque imagery will put you in touch with your natural roots.
3. Little Wild Horse Canyon (Emery County, Utah)
Utah is home to some of the world’s most unique rock-formed landscape, and Little Wild Horse Canyon is no exception. This slot canyon—which means that the canyon is deeper than it is wide—offers visuals that are sure to make lasting memories between you and your dog. Sculpted by nature, the attraction’s colorful walls form part of a fascinating 8-mile maze that’s perfect for canyoneering, according to Utah.com
Although the attraction is suitable for most people and pets, the canyon walls can be narrow. Make sure your dog is leashed and prepare to turn sideways in order to make your way through tricky spots. As long as you and your pupper feel comfortable in the canyon, the artistic geology will make your trip unforgettable.
4. Deer Grove Forest Preserve (Palatine, Illinois)
Are you and your pup new to hiking? Deer Grove Forest Preserve is a great place to start. Whether you opt for the full 10-mile hike or try out a shorter and less strenuous loop, there will be plenty to see. Stroll through the comfy trail and enjoy the company of local wildlife such as turtles, wildflowers, and hummingbirds.
If you have an athletic dog, you can also try trail running at Deer Grove Forest Preserve. The trail’s interconnecting loops provide lots of space to jog alongside your pooch while checking out the vivid scenery.
5. Juniper Creek Trail (Milton, Florida)
This beautiful stretch is part of the mammoth 1,300-mile Florida Trail. Hike with your dog through the heart of the Florida panhandle, passing by 7.3 miles of vibrant wildflowers and peaceful clay bluffs, according to Florida Hikes!
The Juniper Creek Trail’s pine forests relax visitors with their calming presence. Sparkleberries, cedars, and southern magnolia trees line your path and help your pup feel more at home in the wilderness. Need a break during your trek? No problem—you can access a variety of local beaches from the trail, too!
6. Runyon Canyon Park (Los Angeles, California)
Hollywood’s 130-acre dog park is the ultimate spot for pooches who love to meet new friends. One of the most popular hiking destinations in Los Angeles, Runyon Canyon Park is often bustling with a wide variety of dogs and pet parents. According to hikespeak, the trail features several loops ranging from 0.85 miles to 3.3 miles and off-leash areas that give your dog plenty of space to roam free.
Located on the east end of the Santa Monica Mountains and securely tucked away from the industrial L.A. cityscape, the park is home to some picture-perfect scenery. Speaking of scenes, you can also see the legendary Hollywood sign from some trail points, as well as the iconic Hollywood neighborhood below. Who knows? You and your pup-arazzo might even spot a celebrity!
7. Bear Peak Trail (Boulder, Colorado)
Every extreme hiker and their athletic furry friend should put this destination on their adventure bucket list. You and your four-legged companion can embark on a series of routes that lead up to Bear Peak and range from 4.7 miles to 9 miles, according to Your Boulder. Featuring up to 3,000 feet of elevation gain and multiple terrain challenges, this trail is only for the most experienced hikers.
A Bear Peak hike offers a special bonding experience for you and your dog. You’ll travel through thick forest turf, snow, and rocky landscape together. Make sure you bring plenty of food and water for the journey, and get ready for some eye-popping sights from start to finish (we’ll keep them a surprise).
8. North Carolina Arboretum (Asheville, North Carolina)
Nothing screams “variety” like the North Carolina Arboretum. With some of the most diverse flower species in the region and 9 hiking trails that range from easy to hard—according to ncarboretum.org— this 434-acre botanical garden has something for every doggy-human duo. There are 10 miles of dog-friendly hiking trails complemented by gorgeous azaleas, dahlias, hollies, and more.
The park represents a segment of North Carolina’s lush Pisgah National Forest, leading the way to tons of additional nature attractions. Guide your dog past meandering creeks and forested inlets as you make your way to and from the vivid plant life.
9. Thousand Acres (Troutdale, Oregon)
As its name suggests, Thousand Acres welcomes guests with vast stretches of open land. Also known as Sandy River Delta, this Portland-area park offers rivers, meadows, forests, and beachy areas for you and your dog to explore. You might even catch a stunning view of Oregon’s iconic Mount Hood.
An array of off-leash trails makes Thousand Acres an international hotspot for hiking with dogs. No matter the season, you’re sure to meet plenty of dogs setting out on their own expeditions. Furry explorers shouldn’t miss this doggy paradise!
10. Potomac Heritage Trail in Northern Virginia (Arlington, Virginia)
The Potomac Heritage Trail spans 1,100 miles across the Chesapeake Bay area. The Northern Virginia section of the trail in Arlington is among its most fascinating segments. Nature and history converge as you and your dog hike along the Potomac River—according to Roots Rated, the trail provides access to lands explored by American president and founding father, George Washington.
Your dog will love the shady trails that characterize this 19.2-mile stretch. If you’re up for a bonus excursion, take the path to Theodore Roosevelt Island. This tiny but action-packed island is densely forested and contains beautiful wildflowers, as well as a wide variety of birds.
Hiking with dogs enhances the connection between pet parents, pups, and the wild. The next time you and your Cadet go exploring, keep an eye out for the natural brilliance that surrounds you. And don’t forget to stop for a treat break!