Top 8 Places to Take Your Dog For a Hike

Posted by Tiffany Brenner

Dog walkers and their dogs enjoy plenty of mental and physical health benefits and dog-friendly hiking trails enhance health with immersion in nature.

You probably already know that taking your pet for a walk benefits both you and your dog in multiple ways. VCA Animal Hospitals backs up your opinion by listing several physical and mental benefits of walking for people and pets. So, yes, it's true. Dog walkers and their pets enjoy better overall health than other people. 

The next level: Hiking with dogs! 

Yale published research that found immersion in nature promotes healing and reduces stress even more than just walking. Even 20 minutes a day of walking can provide health benefits, and a study of 20,000 people found that subjects needed to spend at least two hours a week in nature to enjoy additional well-being. 

With that in mind, consider planning a trip to one of these eight fantastic places to hike with dogs. 

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego 

Tucked right in San Diego suburbia, this nature trail offers easy accessibility and an easy hike. Hikers can choose to enjoy the entire 7.3-mile loop past live oaks and a waterfall or simply loop back for a shorter trip. Dogs appear to enjoy the chance to walk beside a clear stream. 

Oswald West State Park's Cape Falcon Trailhead 

The two-way trip offers a moderately difficult 4.6-mile trip near Short Sand Beach. Besides fantastic views and a wealth of foliage, a stop at the beach can give dogs a chance to frolic off their leashes. 

Austin's Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park

Austin, TX. earned an excellent reputation as a dog-friendly city, and Walnut Creek offers one of the best examples. This easy, 2.2-mile loop provides walkers and pets access to water and shade, scenic views, and opportunities for off-leash frolics. 

Gedney Park in Chappaqua, NY 

Just a 30-minute drive away from Manhattan, Gedney Park offers a forested paradise along the banks of the Hudson River. The 2.2-mile, easy loop includes plenty of shade and nearby streams. Well-behaved dogs can roam unleashed too, though pet parents should keep them in sight. 

Honeymoon Island State Park's Osprey Trailhead

Dogs will appreciate the soft surface of this easy nature trail, plus a chance to frolic on a white-sand beach after the hike. Find Honeymoon Island State Park after a half-hour drive from Tampa, FL. The park requires leashes. 

Vickery Creek Trail in Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area 

This four-mile loop offers an easy trek with plenty of shade, dirt paths, and chances for hikers to dip their feet and paws in the stream. Located on the outskirts of Atlanta, GA., notable sites on the Vickery Creek Trail include a wooden bridge, mill ruins, and a waterfall. 

Indiana Dunes National Park's Mount Baldy Trail 

This path is moderately difficult but only covers a mile out and back. An hour's drive from Downtown Chicago, Indiana Dunes National Park provides access to the sandy shore of Lake Michigan, though the park requires leashes. 

Custer State Park's Lovers Leap Trail 

This moderately challenging, four-mile loop offers a shaded stroll through a pine forest and outstanding views of incredible vistas and unusual rock formations. Along the way, Galena Creek provides a chance for dogs to cool off. The park requires leashes, and buffalo roam the area, so it's a good idea to keep pets under control. The 40-minute drive from Rapid City, SD also offers plenty of site-seeing opportunities. 

Did this list leave out your favorite dog-friendly hiking trail?

Apologies if this list doesn't include your favorite dog-friendly hiking trail. We wanted to provide various examples from across the United States to introduce readers to possibilities. Share suggestions and hiking photos with pets on Instagram to @moeshealthypets with a tag of #MeetMyMoe. 

Help your dog stay fit for the next adventure with Hip and Joint Support supplements, scientifically formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy bones, joints, and connective tissue.

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