Finding a hiking buddy can sometimes be a challenge with life’s busy schedules but just because you can’t find a person to go hiking with doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go. In fact, there is someone who would probably love to go with you, but you may have forgotten to ask! If you can’t find a hiking pal for the weekend, why not bring Sparky? Dogs love the chance to get out in the wilderness and discover new places with their beloved owner, and there’s no place better than the dog-friendly Appalachian hiking trails.
Appalachian Hiking with Your Dog
Not only is it a fun adventure for your favorite pet but bringing your dog can also offer an extra sense of protection. Being with your loyal companion can help calm your nerves when you are camping in the Appalachian forest at night, and it’s rumored that a dog’s scent can keep bears from creeping up on you.
Not all trails are dog-friendly, and this is usually to protect native plants, animals, historical sites, and other trail and park resources. Luckily, there are still thousands of miles of trails in the Appalachian Mountains that welcome leashed dogs. What’s on your agenda this weekend? Grab a little fresh air and surround yourself with the lush greenery of the Appalachian Mountains. What better way to bask in the beauty of nature than to hike under the warm sun with your loyal furry friend.
Let’s Go! Dog-Friendly Appalachian Hiking Trails
Fantastic dog-friendly Appalachian hiking trails can be found in the Shenandoah National Park within the northern district in Virginia. The Compton Peak trail is a moderate hike, perfect for intermediates or beginners that want a challenge. On this exciting trail, you will hike your way up to a unique geometric rock formation reminiscent of a mini Giant’s Causeway. The best part is, this trail offers two separate, yet equally gorgeous views of the Appalachian Mountains. Access this trail via Skyline Drive; parking is at mile marker 10.
If you are ready to climb right into a strenuous hike, check out Riprap-Wildcat Ridge trail in the southern part of the Shenandoah National Park. It’s a tough hike, clocking in at roughly 10 miles long, but it is worth it! This trail features beautiful overlooks, misty waterfalls, a swimming hole, and interesting rock formations. Parking is at mile marker 90.
Raven Cliff Falls is one of northern Georgia’s most popular camping destinations, and there is an excellent reason as to why. The trail is a 5-mile round trip and features stunning views of a waterfall that flows between moss-covered granite slabs. Also, the whole area is dog-friendly! If you visit Raven Cliff Falls, you will find colossal cliffs and spectacular views to match.
Most of the trails within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are off limits to dogs. If you have your heart set on the Smoky Mountains, the Gatlinburg trail in Tennessee is open to your furry pal. This trail is great for beginners but still rewards you with its picture-perfect open meadows and marvelous views of the Little Pigeon River.
If country roads are taking you home, drive to the top of the mountain sitting on the Virginia and West Virginia border in Hardy County, locally known as Wolf Gap. This campground is nestled in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest and offers a steep hike up to the Big Schloss Overlook where you can gaze out over the Appalachian Mountains and surrounding towns.