Jun 5, 2012 by DailyPuppyCharm
Hiking with Your Dog encourages both the dog and owner(s), perhaps even a friend or two to get out and take a hike! But before you run off to the nearest trail (where dogs are allowed) please follow these safety precautions because there is nothing better than a well-behaved dog and prepared owner on the trail.
1) Your dog should be trained to walk well and quietly on a leash.
2) You should be able to control your dog if any circumstances arise.
3) Pick-up after your dog’s poop and dispose of it properly.
4) Bring water for both you and your dog.
5) Plan ahead! Do your research or ask park officials if pets are allowed, if it’s an on-leash or off-leash trail and if trail conditions are suitable.
North Carolina is a paradise for canine hikers and their owners: from the rolling meadows and countless streams, lakes, and waterfalls, to the cool, lush forests filled with sights and scents. This guide has everything you need to know to plan a safe fun-filled outing with your dog. Includes: hikes located in and around Asheville, Winston-Salem, Piedmont, Uwharrie National Forest, and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail; info on doggy first aid and the 10 Canine Essentials; paw-friendly terrain; trails appropriate for dogs of all ages and fitness levels; and a handy trail-finder chart to help you choose just the hike you're looking for.
Price Lake Loop Trail (Blowing Rock, NC) Your dog will love you for this hike, and you can give yourself a pat on the head as well for embarking on this trail. Price Lake Trail encircles 47-acre Price Lake in the middle of Julian Price Memorial Park. Although manmade, Price Lake is a pristine, sparkling jewel that perfectly complements its rugged mountain surroundings. It sits in the high country of western North Carolina near the towns of Boone and Blowing Rock on the Blue Ridge Parkway. In addition to the postcard-pretty lake, the 4300-acre park offers the largest—and possibly the most scenic—campground on the parkway, open May through October with 180 sites, a large picnic area, trout fishing, non-motorized boating, and access to many hiking trails in the imposing shadow of Grandfather Mountain.
Tanawha Trail (Grandfather, NC) This is a rugged yet beautiful trail that will make your legs hurt while walking but will deliver a huge payoff—views to make your heart hurt. Take this hike on a clear, sunny day, preferably in fall—the perfect time of year.
Crabtree Falls Loop Trail (Celo, NC) The picturesque Crabtree Falls Campground has an honor payment system for tent and RV camping, but there is no parking fee for day hiking. The campground and the Crabtree Falls Loop Trail are part of the popular, 250-acre Crabtree Meadows Recreation Area of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which also includes a picnic area, restaurant, and gift shop. The main attraction here is the waterfall. The best times of year to hike with dogs are late spring, summer, and fall. The parkway at this high elevation is intermittently closed during winter due to snowy or icy road conditions, and the road to the campground is closed from the end of October through May. If the parkway is open you can still access the trail in the off-season by parking at the gate and walking 0.3 mile from the parkway to the trailhead.
Old Mitchell Trail (Mount Mitchell, NC) Mount Mitchell is a hike that dogs with sure footing and long, heavy coats will love. The state park is named for its prominent summit—Mount Mitchell—which is also the highest peak in the eastern United States, at 6684 feet elevation. The entire park, including numerous hiking trails, a campground, picnic area, restaurant, and museum, sits above 6000 feet, keeping it cool throughout summer and usually closed in winter due to severe weather, strong winds, and snowy, icy roads. Its alpine environment more closely resembles the climate of Canada than the surrounding Southern Appalachians.
Big Butt Trail (Dillingham, NC) Once you get past the name of the trail, you and your dog will thoroughly enjoy this lovely, remote hike. Some steep, strenuous climbing sections mean you should make sure the pooch is fit and up for the challenge. Also bring plenty of water because you will find no reliable streams or springs along the way. This trail is best hiked from spring through fall; winter is uncomfortably cold at this altitude and is often inaccessible because the Blue Ridge Parkway is frequently closed then. The trail is at its prettiest in spring, starting in mid-April when it is bursting with wildflowers.
View our previews posts:
Hiking with Your Dog in Colorado
Hiking with Your Dog in Georgia & South Carolina
Hiking with Your Dog in Las Vegas & Beyond
Hiking with Your Dog in Montana
Hiking with Your Dog in New Hampshire & Vermont
Hiking with Your Dog in New York City & Beyond