Find the best dog-friendly hiking trails in Virginia to end this summer with your furry friends
ALEXANDRIA, VA–We’ve picked out some of the best dog-friendly hiking trails in Virginia for you and your pet companion. With spring and summer approaching, pet parents and fur babies will be heading to the great outdoors with excitement. With longer days and warmer temperatures on the horizon, we’ve compiled some dog-friendly hiking trails that you and your dog can explore right here in Virginia.
Know what the pet policy is for each park
Be prepared for a pet emergency
Your pet needs a leash no longer than 6 feet long
Wrap up your pet’s waste and place it in a trash can
For a beginner course, Pohick Bay Regional Park in Lorton, Virginia, there is a network of more than eight and a half miles of trails. As it’s only about thirty-five minutes from Old Town Alexandria, this could be the perfect place to start training for a more intensive hike for your four-legged friend. Pohick Bay offers other activities such as disc golf, equestrian trails, fishing, mini-golf, The Pirate’s Cove water park and pedalo excursions. The park is open from sunrise to sunset and free to Virginia residents.
the picturesque Potomac Heritage Trail is another great pet-friendly trail system for your dog. Within the extensive trail network itself, there are no off-leash areas. Stay very alert while hiking for ticks which are also prevalent. Be sure to take precautions before, during, and after your hike to keep you and your pet safe. The Potomac Heritage Trail network is an extensive network of many different areas, so be sure to pick the one that works best for you. For more information on times and locations, be sure to check out the Potomac Heritage Trail website for details!
Beaverdam Reservoir which in 2023 officially becomes Beaverdam Reservoir Park has a mile and a half of hiking trails that can be another short beginner trail for hiking with your dog. This trail which has been designated with an easy skill level is suitable for the first hike with your pup. The reservoir is open from dawn to dusk and all pets must remain on a leash.
Shenandoah National Park is a national park that prides itself on being pet friendly. Of the more than 500 miles of hiking trails, 12 trails totaling less than 20 miles are completely pet-free. Ranked as one of the best national parks on the east coast, Shenandoah’s proverbial credibility also comes from its listing on the National Register of Historic Places. If you end up getting very tired from lounging in the great outdoors, you don’t have to worry about your overnight arrangements either, because at Skyland, Big Meadows Lodge and Lewis Mountain Cabins, pets are welcome. welcome.
Prince William Forest Park which is open to the public from sunrise to sunset has the largest forest in Piedmont in the entire national park system and also has the largest green space in the DC area which is more than enough open space so you and your dog can really get moving. The 15,000-acre park near Quantico Marine Base has 37 hiking trails and only three areas are pet-free. To enter the park, an entrance fee is required and is valid for seven days. Annual passes are also available and are valid for a full year with unlimited entry upon purchase.
Have a travel time of less than 15 miles from DC, Great Falls Park has a variety of spectacular attributes. The 800-acre park has 15 miles of hiking trails, 163 different species of birds, and several rare varieties of plants that call the park home. It is also touted as one of the region’s most popular vacation destinations. It will be an amazing experience for you and your dog to experience the beautiful Mather Gorge which shows off the rapids of the Potomac River. Don’t worry about no-go areas here, your pet is welcome in all outdoor areas of the park, with their leash of course! Watch out for the coyotes and snakes that also inhabit the park, though. The park is open from 7:00 a.m. to thirty minutes after sunset. Great Falls also requires an entrance fee to access the park. Entrance fees and digital passes are available, as well as various pass options.
Now that you have a great list of local trails to hit as the weather warms up, it’s time for you and your dog to get outside and have some great adventures together. Remember, we want you and your pet to have the most wonderful time enjoying nature, but know before you go! Do your research on each park so you can preperation your pet with specially designed items to ensure they have a safe and happy day of hiking. That said, happy hiking!
For more information on how to prepare your dog for their hike, be sure to check out Honest Paws for more pet hiking tips!