Top Ten Hikes with Dogs - Page 2

Gorp.com
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10. American Lake Trail, Wenatchee National Forest, Washington
Distance: 13 miles round-trip
Leash laws: No leashes required

You can't hike with dogs in Mount Rainier National Park, but next door is the William O. Douglas Wilderness Area. This spot, named for the former U.S. Supreme Court justice who was a fierce protector of wildlands, is one of the best backcountry destinations for dogs and their masters. The trail traces the slopes of the eastern Cascades and follows part of the Pacific Crest Trail. Three miles from the trailhead, you'll reach Dewey Lake, a trout-filled spot excellent for swimming, picnicking, and enjoying the magnificent scenery. This is a good turnaround point for a day trip, but you can continue another three-plus miles to American Lake and some beautiful campsites. You'll see postcard views of Mount Rainier and the peaks of the William O. Douglas Wilderness, but your dog might be more interested in the huge expanses of huckleberry meadows (don't forget that bears like huckleberries, too). The trailhead is east of Enumclaw, Washington, on State Route 410, just east of Chinook Pass and Tipsoo Lake. The parking lot is on the north side of the road, across the highway from the trailhead.

9. Sauk Point Trail, Devil's Lake State Park, Wisconsin
Distance: 4.5 miles one way
Leash laws: Leashes required

The scenic Sauk Point Trail runs between Pafrey's Glen and the Ice Age Loop. It is part of the Ice Age Trail that winds 1,000-plus miles through Wisconsin. The trail follows a grassy path through the woods, with splendid views of the Wisconsin River and rugged, glacier-carved quartz bluffs. The mix of conifers and hardwoods makes this area one of the best leaf-peeping spots in the United States. The trail is moderate enough for small dogs, and there's plenty of water year-round. Devil's Lake State Park is in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

8. Crissy Field, San Francisco, California
Distance: 3 miles round-trip
Leash laws: Leashes required in some sections

It's a dog's life if you live in San Francisco. Despite the dense urban population, it's a dog-lover's town. Canines large and small are even allowed to ride on the city's cable cars and trolleys. There are plenty of nice hikes in the hills above the city, but for an experience that blends open fields, sandy beaches, and touches of civilization like outdoor cafés, Crissy Field is a great choice. The 1.5-mile trail passes under the Golden Gate Bridge, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area that stretches for about 70 miles north and south of the bridge along the Pacific Ocean. In contrast to other areas managed by the National Park Service, Crissy Field currently allows off-leash walking as long as dogs are under voice control. Areas where you can also have your dog under voice control include the east and central beaches; the promenade; and Crissy Field's grassy playground, where dogs love to frolic. While dogs can be off-leash on the west beach from May 16 to June 30, seasonal restrictions for the western snowy plover mandate leashes from July 1 to May 15. To get there, take Muni Bus 28 to the Presidio Main Post stop and walk toward the water. Or park in the Crissy Field lot just off Mason Street.

7. Undercliff Carriage Road to Overcliff Carriage Road, Mohonk Preserve, New York
Distance: 5 miles round-trip
Leash laws: Leashes required

Just over an hour north of New York City, the Mohonk Preserve is the nation's largest nonprofit nature preserve. The Nature Conservancy has called the 7,000-plus acres one of nature's "last great places," and it is home to Shawangunk Ridge, a popular rock-climbing destination. The Undercliff Carriage Road to Overcliff Carriage Road route makes for a five-mile loop on well-kept carriage roads—even older dogs can handle the terrain. In the fall, the loop passes through beautiful foliage and has views of the Hudson Valley. Dogs will enjoy the excitement of the wildlife that lives in the preserve—ruffed grouse, wood thrushes, soaring turkey vultures, and, yes, even bears. The trailhead is 1.3 miles past the Mohonk Preserve Visitor Center, which is half a mile west of the intersection of Route 44/55 and Route 299 in Gardiner, just six miles west of New Paltz.

6. Mount Pisgah Trail, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Distance: 2.5 miles round-trip
Leash laws: Leashes required

Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2011, the Blue Ridge Parkway's 469 miles of protected forests connect Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The parkway offers some of the best dog-friendly hiking in the country since canines are free to walk on any trail, as long as they are on a leash. The parkway weaves through the hill country of Virginia and western North Carolina to the Smokies in Tennessee. There are hundreds of possible hikes, but one dogs and their masters are bound to enjoy is the Mount Pisgah Trail. This classic summit hike pushes through hardwood forest up a rocky trail. From the trailhead at 5,000 feet, the trail gains 750 feet to the summit. From the observation deck, you can see from Shining Rock Wilderness and the Great Smoky Mountains in the west to Asheville and Mount Mitchell in the north. The Mount Pisgah trailhead is at milepost 407.7. The zero milepost marker is at Rockfish Gap, immediately south of Shenandoah National Park, and each mile is numbered progressively southward on the parkway.

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