Hike With Your Dog

the site where you won't be able to wipe the wag off your dog's tail


National Parks With Hiking

Appomattox Court House National Historic Park
Dogs are allowed on the grounds

Booker T.Washington National Monument
Dogs are allowed anywhere in the park

Colonial National Historic Park
Dogs are allowed on the grounds

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
Dogs are allowed on the trails in this park

George Washington Birthplace National Monument
Dogs are allowed on the grounds

Manassas National Battlefield Park
Dogs are allowed on the trails on the battlefield

Petersburg National Battlefield
Dogs are allowed on the grounds

Prince William Forest Park
Dogs are allowed on the trails in this park

Shenandoah National Park
Dogs are allowed on most of the trails in the park

Links to National Forests With Hiking
George Washington & Jefferson National Forests

State Parks With Hiking
Virginia State Parks
Dogs are allowed in all campgrounds and cabins ($5 extra per night) except in lodges and Chippokes Plantation State Park cabins. Also state regulations prohibit pets on public beaches and in public facilities
(bathhouses, visitor centers, park offices, restaurants, etc.).

 Bear Creek Lake State Park

 Belle Isle State Park

 Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve

 Bush Mill Stream Natrual Area Preserve

 Caledon State Park

 Chippokes Plantation State Park

 Claytor Lake State Park

 Douthat State Park

 Fairy Stone State Park

 False Cape State Park

 First Landing State Park

 Grayson Highlands State Park

 Holliday Lake State Park

 Hughlett Point Natural Area Preserve

 Hungry Mother State Park

 James River State Park

 Kiptopeke State Park

 Lake Anna State Park

Leesylvania State Park

 Mason Neck State Park

 Natural Tunnel State Park

 New River Trail State Park

Occoneechee State Park

 Pinnacle Natural Area Preserve

 Pocahontas State Park

 Sailor's Creek Battlefield State Park

 Shenandoah River State Park

 Sky Meadows State Park

 Smith Mountain Lake State Park

 Staunton River State Park

 Staunton River Battlefield State Park

 Twin Lakes State Park

 Westmoreland State Park

 Wilderness Road State Park

 Wreck and Bone Island Natural Area Preserve

 York River State Park

Share A Favorite Hike With Your Dog In Virginia

Your Dog's Favorite Hikes In Virginia

Submitted by Holly (from Ashburn)
We love to hike the C&O canal trails

Submitted by Karl and Soapy
Great Falls National Park allows leashed dogs. Site of historic Patowmack Canal passage around the Great Falls of the Potomac. Connects with Riverbend Park to the north.

Submitted by Michelle
Newport News Park has miles of excellent trails to share with your "furry children". Take the Ft. Eustis Blvd/Yorktown exit off of Interstate 64. Left on 143 and the park is right there!

Submitted by Nancy and Newton
Washington was no dummy--he chose the most beautiful hilltop on the Potomac River to build his Mount Vernon, Virginia estate, and, because he and Martha were owners of many pets, Mount Vernon has remained true to that tradition and is very dog friendly. The grounds cover many acres, including everything from a formal garden to a nature trail with glorious ravines. Our dog's nose goes into overload with the combination of smells from old buildings, wild animals (deer, turkeys, etc.) and a myriad of llivestock on the grounds (horses, sheep, cows, pigs). We live right down the street from Mount Vernon and love to go there with our dog Newton. The $11.00 admission fee is steep, but well worth the cost now and again. Mount Vernon seems to have an interesting ability to think about "the work of dogs"as well. A few years ago, they were faced with an interesting problem. They had planted a new orchard, exactly like the one George Washington had. The problem was that the deer would come at night and nibble on the young seedlings. A fence was not a good idea, because everything at Mount Vernon is supposed to be authentic and an effective fence would have been an eyesore. The grounds people, many of them who lived on the grounds and were dog owners themselves, came up with the idea of surrounding the football-field-sized orchard with an invisible fence and putting in small barrels to act as dog houses. They rescued two dogs from the animal shelter and, every night, the dog were put into the orchard to protect it. The dogs loved chasing the squirrels and possums, the deer stayed away, there was no ugly fence and the orchard thrived. The dogs were given homes with the people who live on the estate. So, as a "hiker," when we come across a staff member, he or she is likely to be friendly to our dog, as the whole atmosphere there is one of respect for them.

Submitted by Valerie and Savannah
We love to take our chocolate lab SAVANNAH on the trails in First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach. Several times a week we hike 3-6 miles, and occasionally do more if it's not too hot for the dog. The Cape Henry main trail is busy with runners and bikers, but Kingfisher, Osprey, White Lake, and Long Creek are great for dogs. In fact, on Long Creek & Osprey, you come to the edge of Broad Bay & The Narrows, which is part of the inner bay off the Chesapeake Bay and there are usually several dogs cooling off and enjoying the gentle waves. It's best to keep your dog on a leash or well controlled by voice, as runners do appear frequently. Also, please pick up your dog waste--with the cypress swamps and bay so close by, it's not only the right thing to do, it's the safe thing to do. Watch for snakes, though most are non-poisonous. There are a few water snakes with venom, see the nature center for details. Overall, an incredible hiking experience set inside a bustling city, close to the ocean and right on the Chesapeake Bay and inland waters--a true treasure. Entry fee varies, weekday/weekend/holidays, so we just bought a yearly pass for $30 that pays for itself in a just a few visits. Happy hiking!

Submitted by Mike & Tracy
My wife and I like to take our dog up to Dragon's Tooth, a part of the Appalachain Trail in southwestern Virginia. Its a moderate hike, and Daisy, our dog, loves it. We see people all the time with their dogs up there. Its a great hike and great exercise.

Submitted by Ruff
You name the hike in NOVA and our retired racing greyhound "Ruff" has done it. Great Falls has a very nice trail along the Potomac to hike with your four-legged buddy. I would recommed both the VA and MD side of that park. The C&O canal and it's toe path make for a very lesurely stroll. Many shops/restaurants are pet-friendly at Reston Town Center especially during their "Pet-Fiesta" in May. Mount Vernon and the GW Parkway is a nice historical hike. For a short afternoon walk the W&OD railroad park is excellent, just watch out for fast moving cyclist! Also a number of the regional parks in the area are excellent "field-trips" to take with your best bud. A personal favorite of ours is Algonkian Regional Park in Sterling. Great trails and lots of wildlife sightings abound. Guranteed deer sightings on the golf course in the late afternoon/evening. Our old man is completely convinced he is a deer which makes this all the more amusing!

Submitted by Ted
They have an awesome beach called "dog beach" in FT Monroe in Norfolk, VA. The are planning on closing the base- so it will be available for public access pretty soon.

Submitted by Pam and Ivy
Ivy, our yellow lab, enjoys the nature trail at the Great Bridge Locks Park, in Chesapeake, VA. This is a short trail around the perimeter of the park. Lots of water views and an interesting place to watch many luxury yachts travel though the canal on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Dogs need to be on a six foot leash and there is one flat, beachy place where they can get their feet wet. No swimming though, there is a tricky current there. Nice picnic shelters, take your lunch.

Submitted by Marty
Yesterday we hit Fountainhead Regional Park in Fairfax County, which is 30 min from our Arlington home.  There is a moderate 2 mile loop trail that winds among the beeches and hemlock.  We let our hound mix Joey off the leash and he runs ahead of and behind us as we walk.  This gives him a much better workout (6-8 miles or even more) than we are able to give him without driving (and hiking) far greater distances.   Anyone know of similar places near N.Va where a scenting dog can run?  We go to an off-leash area every day but Joey has only limited interest in other dogs.  He'd much rather run around and smell things.

Submitted by Nycole
Our Shih Tzu, Maxx LOVES to hike through the trails at Fox Mill Park in Herndon, VA. It's a county park with a lot of trails winding through a hilly wooded area. Little streams, huge rocks. He's a little guy but loves it.

Submitted by Kathy
We like taking our German Shepherd dog to the Oak Grove Lake Park which is located off of Volvo Parkway (Chesapeake).  The hike around the lake is partially shaded and is a nice walk for you as well as your dog.

Submitted by Pepper
I am a one-year old Italian Grayhound.  My name is Pepper.  My dad and I have been to Mount Vernon - Uncle George's estate - two times.  The first time I was overwhelmed by the size of the open space.  The second time the weather was not so friendly; forty-five minutes in the estate the weather turned cold and windy, so we had to cut short our visit.    Dad has promised that this coming summer will be a fantastic time for us to visit the estate.  I want to explore the flora and fauna (the sheep, the bull, the hog, etc.) and dad wants to do a little historical exploration.   I wish to thank the management of the estate for allowing us canines to come visit with our parents.     Many a parks that I have visited have all these rules and regulations posted so conspiscuously as to assault the basic common sense of our parents:  watch where you pet steps, x amount fine if you don't clean up after them, report any infringement to such and such authority, etc.  But in Mount Vernon there's none of these intimidating notices, and that makes my dad to be extra sensitive in preserving the prestine state of the estate.  He carries a load of toiletaries for my use. As for me, I do my business prior to the trip.  Time in the estate is precious; there are so many things to explore.   Thanks for listening.

Submitted by Bruce
I have a couple weims that need to run.  We drive up to Great Falls , route 7, then Georgetown pike then to the end of Seneca Road.  A large preserve is there along the Potomac (NW of the great falls Park), you have about 7 marked trails where each can be over an hour walk.   Lots of people take their dogs off leash here.  Be careful as there are critters and deer which means a hunting dog may take you a bit longer to collect.

Submitted by Pam and Ivy
I agree with the post that First Landing State Park in VA Beach is a great hiking experience. It also turns out that dogs are allowed on the Bay side beach portion of the park all year round. It is a $3.00 fee. Proof of rabies vaccination and a 6 foot leash are required. You need to pick up after your dog (duh). We did take our dog off leash to swim in a more secluded area. Use your best judgment about that since this is a large camping area with many children.
This is an 8.5 mile section of old US 17. It is open to walkers, bicycle riders, equestrians and boaters. We walked about 2 miles with Ivy, our yellow lab. It is very shaded with plenty of benches and picnic tables along the way. There are lots of birds and wildlife. The canal is connected to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, so you may see recreational boats underway. It's truly a great setting. Here is the link: http://www.chesapeake.va.us/services/depart/park-rec/dismal_swamp_trail.shtml.

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