Your Text or HTML

Red Rock Canyon – Dog Friendly Outdoor Adventure Guide

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is located in the Mojave Desert. Many come here to hike, bike, camp, go rock climbing, or go off-roading within the park. Getting a nice workout in is all the better with a breathtaking view of red sandstone cliffs and serene, quiet beauty of the open air.

For those that want to get in the scenery from the car, there’s a 13-mile Scenic Drive with several overlook points and picnic areas.

Nearby is the Las Vegas Strip and surrounding Red Rock Canyon area where you can do some further adventuring and hiking with your dog! We cover trails here within the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

See our full list of Dog Friendly Outdoor Adventure Guides made just for dog owners. We give you everything you need to plan your next adventure outing with your dog right at your fingertips. We also pick the best dog friendly trails for you!



Fall and Spring is a great time to visit Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Otherwise, exercise caution when hiking with your dog in the summer or winter. You’ll want to avoid times with extreme heat or cold. The temperature in the desert can change very quickly. Summer temperatures can get well over 100 degrees – definitely too hot for your dog.

Daily entry into Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is by car. Busses and commercial vehicles must charge by car and by person. Annual or senior passes are per person. Most will pay a daily fee of $15 for their car. Other prices and camping fees are available from the Bureau of Land Management website. Prices have been revised as of Feburary 2018.

When you first get to Red Rock Canyon, we suggest you stop by the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center for paper maps and information on current conditions of roads and trails. Take note of the weather as there are flash floods in the area.

Dogs may not enter buildings but are allowed on leash anywhere in the park. Dogs must be attended by a person at all times. Read further for some important tips on desert safety. Don’t forget to pick up after your dog!



Bring a paper map with you with information on trails and the surrounding area. The Red Rock Canyon Las Vegas website has a great guide for visitors that includes a map and brief information about all 19 trails in the area.

You will want to bring a lot of water with, especially when temperatures are warm. The park actually recommends 1 gallon per person for a day long hike, with 1 more gallon waiting back for them in the car. Considering a 6 hour day, that’s about 128 ounces of water or about 21 ounces of water per hour. We usually recommend drinking 16 ounces per hour for a moderate hike. Your dog should drink about 1/2 an once of water per pound per hour. A 50 pound dog would need about 25 ounces of water per hour (perhaps more by park estimates). Actual results will vary, so it’s important to get a rough approximation for what works for you and your dog. It’s always a good idea to drink water before your hike to help stay hydrated.

Don’t forget to wear protective gear to protect yourself from the sun and to apply sunscreen. A cooling vest or banana will help your dog stay cool.

Too hot out? Consider driving on the 13 mile Scenic Drive of the area. It’s a one way loop around the area. Bring a picnic lunch and get out of the car to enjoy the scenery. Allow for about 45 minutes to drive, and more time if you want to stop. You’ll most likely travel along the Scenic Drive just to get to a trail. There are plenty of accessible parking lots and bathrooms around.



There are 19 different hiking trails within Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area. Don’t forget to print or pick up a map at the visitor center.

If you want to find water along the trail, you’ll see the most just after winter. A few trails offer waterfalls and streams but these often dry up towards the summer months. The park does not recommend drinking or wading through natural water sources.

No need to go through all 19 trails. We picked the best dog friendly trails for you! Most trails in the area are about 2-5 miles.

Lost Creek – Children’s Discovery Trail
If you have kids with you, this out and back trail is perfect. It’s only 0.75 miles and features cultural sites, pictographs and other fun, shady places to explore. A section of the trail is on boardwalk, but the rest is not suitable for a stroller and is rocky or sandy. You can usually see a waterfall at the end of the trail during December – April months.

Moenkopi Trail
The Moenkopi Trail is an easy 2 mile trail loop starts just west of the visitor center where you will park your car. You’ll see sweeping views of Calico Hills, Spring Mountains, and La Madre Mountains. La Madre Mountains will be the highest peak you see in the area at 8,150 feet. Be sure to go when it’s not sunny since there is no shade.

Calico Tanks Trail
The Calico Tanks Trail is popular among tourists. It’s a moderate to strenuous 2.5 mile hike that starts at the Sandstone Quarry parking lot and ends with a natural tank and great views. Many make the mistake of passing the parking lot along the Scenic Drive. Watch your footing on this trail as some areas are slippery. Bring water as the trail gets very sunny and hot, but well worth it just to get to see all the beautiful rock formations around the area. You’ll feel like you really saw Red Rock Canyon with this trail. There are several rocks so if your dog isn’t great on rough terrain and scrambling over rocks, you may opt for a different trail.

Ice Box Canyon Trail
The Ice Box Canyon Trail is a 2.6 mile moderate trail that features several waterfalls and shady areas once you cross a bit of open desert to get there. You’ll see them during the months of December through April. It’s a fun place for your dog to explore and climb some large boulders. The trail isn’t well marked so pay attention to where you are at all times.

Keystone Thrust
Keystone Thrust is a popular geological spot in the park where the Pacific and North American continental plates collided 65 million years ago. You can access this popular 2.2 mile moderate trail via the White Rock parking lot.

White Rock / La Madre Spring Loop
Need a trail that’s a bit less crowded and that just goes in a loop? The White Rock / La Madre Spring Loop is a moderate 6 mile trail accessible from the Upper White Rock parking lot, Los Creek Trail parking lot, and Willow Spring Picnic Area. The White Rock Rail connects to the La Madre Spring Loop. This is a great place if you go trail running during winter months. Prepare to see an abundance of colors and one of the best westside views of the park. You’ll even see bighorn sheep in the area!

Looking or more water along the trail? Consider Pine Creek, Oak Creek Canyon, First Creek and Willow Springs Trails.



Most dogs are unfamiliar with desert creatures. They’ve never seen one, nor know quite how to react to something they’ve never seen before. Rattlesnakes and other dangerous animals and insects are in the area. Always have an eye on your dog and never let him per into small dark spaces. You’ll want to do the same, especially to avoid poisonous snakes and insects. If your dog is bitten by a poisonous snake or insect, keep your dog calm and the wound below the heart. Call a nearby vet immediately for more instructions.

Weather is another concern. Temperatures in the Mojave Desert get really cold in the winter or shade and well over 100 degrees in the summer. Summer hiking should be done in the early mornings. Bring water, a cooling vest or bandana for your dog, and perhaps an emergency shade tent.

There is risk of flash floods and summer lightning in the area, so make sure you check for closures or other information prior to heading out. If you are caught in the rain, be alert for flash floods, and move to higher ground if necessary. If there is lightening in the area, seek shelter immediately.

Last of all, there are hazards from desert flora. Don’t forget to bring tweezers if you need to pull out any cacti from your dog’s paws.



If you want to go camping, read our listing for Red Rock Canyon – Camping at Red Rock Canyon Campground.

Camping at Red Rock Campground is closed during summer months. Peak months are March and October. Reservations are available at

Backcountry camping is allowed with a permit by calling 702-515-5050. Sites must be set up above 5,000 feet and 200 feet away from water sources. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed.

If you are out camping, be sure to watch the sunrise and sunset at Red Rock Overlook and Highpoint Overlook!



Road biking is allowed along State Route 159 and Scenic Drive. Mountain biking are only allowed in two areas: Cottonwood/Late Night Trailheads off State Route 160 and Mile Marker 12 on Kyle Canyon Road / State Route 157 (Twilight Zone Trails). Mountain biking is not allowed on hiking trails.


How was your trip? What trail or campground did you go to? Do you have any tips that you want to pass on to fellow dog owners? 

Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!

Join the Pawtivity Community. Meet Other Adventurers That Do What You Love To Do.
Sign up TODAY!

Related Pawtivities / Events: Red Rock Canyon Hiking, Red Rock Canyon Camping, Trail Running, Biking
Location: Las Vegas, NV | Nevada
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Camping, Backpacking, Biking, Running, Trail Running

Start and Finish Your Bucket List (Adventure List)

Everyone should have a bucket list. And we think every dog should have their own as well!

We give you our top reasons why you should start your own bucket list and tips for how to actually finish your list!

We hate the term “bucket list” because it implies that there is some finality to life. The definition of a bucket list according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying,” We would rather live our life as we want to every day and so we will call our “bucket list” our Adventure List instead.

Keep in mind that our Adventure List should not be a to-do list of daily tasks. It should include items of things that you want to do, not out of necessity but out of pure passion!

Don’t delay, just do it. Start jotting down your Adventure List today.





Be Happy, Now

There are so many everyday distractions. We need a bucket list to keep us on track to what we really want to do, what makes us truly happy.

Don’t wait to do things on your adventure list or you may find yourself in a situation where you can’t actually do so anymore.

Get Your Weekly Revitalization

We all need some hobby, sport, project, or passion to keep our minds active and challenged. It’s also good to do something that you have control over, because there’s so much in our lives that we often don’t have any control of!

Doing something that you can call your own makes you more interesting as an individual. It also gives you a place to challenge yourself creatively, physically, and/or mentally. Do something for yourself! When you accomplish something, you build up confidence in yourself which carries on into so many other things in your life. You also create a de-stressor in your life.

Get your weekly revitalization in by doing something you love. Refresh your spirit.

Be Known For Something

What do you want to accomplish in your life? Whatever it is, you have to work towards it! So many of us focus on our jobs and career towards accomplishing things, but life isn’t all about your job. What else do you want others to recognize you by? It can’t just be all about your job.

Think about your hobbies and passions as something you need to build up. You can’t climb the tallest summit unless you start hiking more and at higher elevations. You have to start somewhere and climb yourself to the top step by step. In all, you have to start somewhere or you’ll never get to where you see yourself.

Meet Other People Like You

One of the best reasons to start your own adventure list is to find others, like you, who share your same interests. Once you get started, it’s so easy to meet others. You can only learn so much if you live in your own box. Get out of the box, open your eyes, and challenge yourself further!



1 Write It Down – The Most Important Step!

Brain dump! The first things you should do is to write down everything you want to do, even as farfetched as it may seem now. It may also help to categorize what type of activity each item belongs to so you can group items easily later.

In all, the main thing you need is a list! Find a system that works for you, whether it’s a bullet journal or a just piece of paper! Write your list somewhere you can always refer back to later.


In my Adventure List above, I jot down what I want to do, the associated category and who in my family I do the item with. The category I use for items related to Carmella, my dog, is the same as the special interest on Pawtivity – that way I can match up our items with our own Pawtivity lists. I note any relevant timelines. For example, I’ve always wanted to attend La Tomatina Festival in Spain, so I’ve noted that this is usually held in Late August.

I keep my list in Google Docs. My family and friends joke that I create all my lists in Google Docs, but it really does keep things organized and manageable! Plus, I won’t lose it and can access it anywhere with an internet connection.

I also save relevant pawtivities for Carmella on periodically so I can see who else is completing the same item. Sometimes it’s easier to do things by learning from others who have been there, done that! It’s nice to have somewhere to go to for advice.

2 Prioritize Your Adventure List By Category

Now, look at your Adventure List and prioritize them within each category from easiest to hardest. The easiest should be something that you can do this year with the least effort, training, or equipment. The hardest may require you to learn or do something before.

Now, you have a list that can serve as your main Adventure List. Refer back to it periodically and hang it up so you always remember to keep at it! Have a new item to add? It’s easy for me to add it in Google Docs!

3 Plan Out Each Season’s List Separately

Now that you have an Adventure List sorted by category, start creating your Season List. This is a list of everything you want to do for that particular season. We break up into season so that you won’t be overwhelmed by a long list. Start with a few and focus on those. Then, move on to the next.

Starting with the easiest items, start planning which ones you will do for the current season (Summer 2018) and beyond. Then, write down what month you plan to do that activity.

In my list, you can see that I’ve color coded each upcoming season. I’ve noted some items to do for Fall, Winter, and Spring but my main focus is the current season, Summer.

Think of any other requirements that are necessary to complete an item and add a new entry to your Season List. In my example above, I wanted to complete an Obstacle Race in Spring 2019, so included other items that would help me get there. I wrote “Training for Obstacle Course Race Mud Run” in a new Notes column on my sheet.

4 Book It – Fill Your Calendar

Now with your Season List in hand, start booking time in your calendar to accomplish everything! Write everything in your calendar, down to each training session. That way, you’ll make sure you blocked off time to accomplish everything on your list!

When I complete an entry, I move it to a Completed Adventure List. I love looking at my completed list from time to time because it’s a list of my lifelong accomplishments to date. They include things that I’m passionate about. Some of the items that are already on my list include: Run A Marathon, Cross-Country Roadtrip (US), and Learn To Dive.

5 Keep an Adventure List Photo Journal

Now that you’ve spent some time creating your Adventure List, it would be a shame not to document your experiences! The best way to do that is by taking photos!

At Pawtivity, we have created a system where you can track your adventures by uploading photos by special interest and date. You can keep an easy journal of your adventures on Pawtivity and meet other people who love to do what you do at the same time! We always think it’s more fun to do things with others and learn from others who have been there done that.

Share your adventure story with us and we will publish it on Pawtivity!

What do you really want to do? Stop delaying and create your adventure list to get you on the path to doing what you’ve always wanted to do.

Happy Adventuring,

Carol and Carmella
President & Pup, Pawtivity

Is Your Dog An Amazing Pup? 

Is your dog amazing? Contact us to be considered as one of Pawtivity’s featured amazing pups! We may feature you on or on our instagram accounts @pawtivity and @myamazingpup. Send us a photo of your dog and tell us why they are so amazing!


Join the Pawtivity Community. Meet Other Adventurers That Do What You Love To Do.
Sign up TODAY!

Carol & Carmella of Pawtivity

Welcome To Pawtivity

Hello! Welcome to the Pawtivity community! We all have the same zest for exploring adventures that include our dogs and living life to its fullest.

Pawtivity was created to help dog owners find the very best dog friendly activities (pawtivities) and events. We are an online community where dog owners can share insights and experiences with those that share their same passion in being active with their dog.

Life is an endless journey with a dog at your side! Let’s go on an adventure!



“Carmella – For all her imperfections and perfections… she’s always my amazing pup. ~ Carol”

We believe that every dog is uniquely amazing. In essence, this is truly what Pawtivity is all about. All dogs are perfect in their owner’s eyes and our community celebrates the joy and spirit between human and dog.

Pawtivity’s main goal is to inspire dog owners everywhere to play more with their dogs. That means going on the best adventures and giving their dog smarter, varied play. Sometimes, all people need is a little motivation to get out there and the support of a community of people like them to play, share, and explore together. There’s a wealth of knowledge that each and every person has and we want to bring that collective knowledge together to benefit us all.

Pawtivity is the first true social network of active dog owners. We are a community-driven, which means that our users provide recommendations on the best dog friendly destinations, activities, and events. We do additional research to give you the best “cliffs notes” version of a dog friendly destination, activity, or event so you can spend less time searching online and more time playing with your dog. We also give you curated “best” lists and inspirational adventure stories from friends to make it even easier for you to get out that door.



Pawtivity came about basically because I was having a hard time finding great recreational outlets for Carmella and me to play! Carmella definitely has above average physical and mental needs as a Patterdale Terrier. Finding the right dog friendly activities for us to do just took too long, required finding and talking to the right people, or sometimes proved fruitless. We wanted an easy way to learn about proper gear, skills to help us get better at an activity, and great destinations to visit. We also wanted to meet others like us who wanted to teach our dogs how to do more dog sports at a recreational level or to practice. While sanctioned clubs are perfect for those that want to compete, I just didn’t want to travel far to go to long competitions when that wasn’t our focus.

Sometimes, to find the best adventures we look to Facebook or Instagram for a photo of where to go. I love to see all those fantastic photos of places people have been to. Sometimes the location isn’t on the photo or is incorrect. Still, when I do see a location mentioned I make a mental note that I have to go there one day… but then forget about it later! So much for that. Bah! Pawtivity gives you the ability to save your own adventure list and track all the adventures you’ve had and ones you want to take. Pawtivity also tracks things by special interest so you can explore more of what you like to do and find others that do what you do. In a way, we’ve created a super “active” bucket list, but I really hate to call it that. I want a full life of memories with my dog today, not tomorrow or before it’s too late.

Finding your next adventure shouldn’t be so hard. We want to make it easier and more accessible for people like me to find the best activities to do with their dogs. Pawtivity should be the first place dog owners go to when planning out a lifetime of adventures with their best furry pals. It’s also a place where you can capture all those great memories with your dog by all the places you’ll go!

“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
~ Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!



The Dog Park Is Not For Everyone.

Carmella loves to play and is fast in a chase. As a puppy, I took Carmella often to the dog park to socialize her. She could rally up a whole pack of dogs to chase each other in circles, which always brought on laughter from bystanders.

Carmella no longer rallies up other dogs now that she is older, but she does still love a good dog chase! Carmella will also chase after any ball or toy thrown in the park, even if it’s for another dog. More often than not, she overtakes the other dog and does her victory trot back to me to show me her prize. I always have to apologize for my little ball fiend and we usually end up just leaving the dog park.

So much of Carmella’s play preference is driven by her breed instincts and high prey drive. She loves to chase, tug, fetch and explore. This is not surprising as Patterdales are working dogs bred to hunt small animals and dig underground.

In all, Carmella really isn’t the dog park kind of dog anymore. It doesn’t suit her needs and I think she would just rather be doing so many other things! She does perk up when we find an agility course, but few parks have them.

Letting Carmella Be Carmella.

Dogs will always be our loving, loyal sidekick. They depend on us and live through our own adventures – hiking, camping, running, working out with us, playing sports, or just lounging out at home. They are our tagalong, companion dogs – and they don’t mind it one bit. It’s how we develop such a lifelong bond with our dog. We bond more by doing more together.

Carmella is definitely my tagalong dog, but hiking and running are activities driven by my interests. Not all of the things I like really satisfies Carmella’s prey drive and give her smart play. Carmella needs to be Carmella. She needs to be the dog that she was meant to be.

I honestly never gave much thought to dog sports (like most dog owners), but I started looking into them more as an outlet for Carmella. We have tried out a few dog sports, thus far. Carmella absolutely loves agility and disc dog.

I only took Carmella to a few sessions of agility, but noticed the instant change to her overall confidence, obedience, focus, and affection towards me. I highly recommend learning proper basics with a professional trainer who is really training you and your dog. I wish we had a larger backyard so we could practice on our own more.

Carmella seems to be the happiest when we play disc. We love it when we can get the park all to ourselves where she can really run around! When we take a break, Carmella will sit in my lap, lean up against me, lift her head 90 degrees and look at me as if to say “Thank You, Mommy, I Love You.” I feel more of that special bond with her on these days. It’s so precious! I now always keep a mental list of frequently empty dog friendly fields where we can play.

Dog sports is definitely Carmella’s super workout. Just 15 minutes of disc playing wipes Carmella out mentally and physically more than an hour-long walk. More importantly , Carmella loves to play! If Carmella is happy, she’s a better and more loving dog, so everyone is happy. So many other dogs out there could benefit tremendously if they were engaged more in smarter play. I sometimes wonder why dog obesity is such a problem and why shelters are over-crowded with energetic or poorly trained dogs.

Of course, Carmella and I still love to go out on a hike and go camping together as well! There’s so many places that we want to go! We also have to do more fun runs and obstacle courses together!



We hope that you love our community and can give us some feedback to make the community better.

We are always looking out for great members to join our team. There are opportunities for members to become a Pawtivity Pup Explorer Ambassador or a Special Interest Lead. Contact us if you would be interested in doing more to help us grow!

Life really is an endless journey with Carmella at my side. It’s a journey and adventure I’ll cherish and remember forever. I’m excited to share our journey with you and can’t wait to see your adventures!

Happy Adventuring,

Carol and Carmella
President & Pup, Pawtivity
Is Your Dog An Amazing Pup? 

Is your dog amazing? Contact us to be considered as one of Pawtivity’s featured amazing pups! We may feature you on or on our instagram accounts @pawtivity and @myamazingpup. Send us a photo of your dog and tell us why they are so amazing!


Join the Pawtivity Community. Meet Other Adventurers That Do What You Love To Do.
Sign up TODAY!
A selection of our favorite dog friendly activities and events for Fall 2017.

Top Dog Friendly Activities for Fall

It’s Fall! We love the change of the seasons and the welcome relief of a new chill in the air. Dogs love it too!

Here are some dog friendly activities that will get you celebrating the smells and sights of fall.

Want to see a pawtivity (activity) or event listed? Just email us!




Participate In A Doggy Run With Your DogDoggy Run (1k-5k): October is Adopt A Dog Month and the perfect time to sign up for your first 5k to support your local rescue groups and shelters. If you or your dog can’t run, just walk! They’ll still have fun. Don’t forget to dress up in costume!




Go Hiking With Your DogHiking: Enjoy the new change of the season by taking your dog out sniffing and exploring a new hiking trail. The best trails will be the ones that offer the best views of fall foliage. Plan a road trip to a destination hike. Please let your dog stick his head out the window to bite that wind!


Take your dog camping.Wilderness Camping: The summer heat is finally over! It’s time to spend the entire day outdoors with family and friends. Book a campsite early. There’s so much to do, but whatever you do, involve your dog in all the action! End the day by making him a campfire s’more with dog biscuits and marshmallow. Then, snuggle in for the night and wake up to watch the sunrise together.


Dog jumping over a panel jump on an outdoor agility course.Obstacle Course Race: Do you love mud runs? Take your dog on one! We think it’s a no brainer, and there are some races that are dog friendly.

Hike The Triple Crown

Hike The Triple Crown: The Triple Crown includes the Pacific Crest Trail on the west coast, the Appalachian Trail on the east coast, and the Continental Divide which runs along the Rocky Mountains. Each trail does offer dog friendly sections. Make the most of your experience by planning a backpacking trip with your dog!




Take Your Dog To A Pumpkin PatchPumpkin Patch: It’s the season for a great pumpkin search! There are several dog friendly pumpkin patches. Pick out the best pumpkin to carve at home and enjoy some carmel apples, cider, and pumpkin pie while you are at it! End the day by watching the classic, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” with your dog.


Take Your Dog To A Corn MazeCorn Maze: Have a dog that’s good with his nose? Take him with you to a corn maze! Have fun getting lost together and exploring your way out of the maze!


Dog with Finger MustacheDog Mustache / Beard: This is the silliest thing we think you can do with your dog! Give your dog a mustache or give yourself a dog beard! You may have to do a few takes to get it just right, but either way you are sure to have some fun!


Catch Your Dog Dreaming Something HappyDream Happy: Did you know that dogs sleep 12-14 hours a day? Of course they don’t sleep that all in one stretch, but it’s cute to see them all curled up or even snuggled up with you getting in a short snooze. We love to see a sleeping pup, so share the best shot of your pup that will make even the most wired want to lay down for a snooze.


Make Your Dog Homemade TreatsTrick for Pumpkin Treats: Who has time for baking when you’re always outdoors? This is an easy recipe that will take no time. Mix together 1 can pumpkin puree, 1 egg, 2 cups rice flour, and ½ cup peanut butter. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 10 minutes or until slightly toasted and crispy. Cool and make your dog do a trick before you give him his treat! To make this even more of a gourmet treat, sprinkle on a mixture of ground pumpkin seeds (shelled), peanuts, cashews, and almonds before you bake them.




Teach Your Dog To Catch A Frisbee/DiscRunning Catch (Disc): Some dogs have high prey drive. They will go after any moving object. Get your dog running and jumping by throwing him a frisbee or disc to catch!


Take An Agility Class With Your Dog!Take An Agility Class: Dog just want to jump, tunnel, run, and climb? Agility is not just for the Border Collie. To us it’s a great way to train for an obstacle course race! It’s also one of the best form of mental and physical exercise that boots your dog’s confidence and actually makes him more obedient – he’s learns to look up to you! Start this outside with our dog in the fall, but move on indoors during the winter!


Go Bikejoring With Your DogBikejoring: Have a large dog that loves to run with you? Bikejoring is a sport where your dog actually pulls you on your bike. Think dog sledding in the fall! You could start training your dog with bikejoring in the fall and move on to skijoring (dog pulls you on cross country skis) in the winter. This is a must-do for a Husky!



Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!



Join the Pawtivity Community. Meet Other Adventurers That Do What You Love To Do.
Sign up TODAY!

.Go Hiking With Your Dog

The Beginner’s Guide To Hiking With Dogs

Hiking is an easy activity to do with your dog – all you really need is a place to walk, a leash, and a good pair of athletic shoes. It is important to choose the right place to walk. Some trails demand more preparation, athletic ability, equipment and training to make it more enjoyable for you and your dog.


Pick a trail, pace, and distance that works for both you and your dog. The best trails always have some body of water or scenic destination. Dogs love to sniff and explore so give your dog a chance to do this on the trail. Always keep an eye out on your dog and make sure he has good recall! Trails are shared and sometimes narrow so it’s best if your dog knows basic obedience and is well socialized with other dogs and humans (including runners and bikers). If your dog needs work on recall and socialization, it’s best to keep your dog on leash at all times.


Breeds Best Suited for Hiking

Your dog will let you know if he likes hiking! These breeds, however, are known for being able to keep up on long hikes: Bernese Mountain Dog, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Australian Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, Vizsla, Labrador Retriever, Portuguese Water Dog, Border Collie, Chesapeake, German Shorthaired Pointer, Jack Russell Terrier.  The best dog for hiking is one who is obedient, able to follow basic commands and has a good temperament.



The best thing you can do as a dog owner is to be prepared when going outside with your dog.  If you want to go hiking with your dog, or even participate in most outdoor activities, you should start by visiting your vet for an okay regarding health, physical ability, and required vaccinations. Your dog should be healthy and at least a year old.  Dogs by this age are stronger and have better developed muscles, joints, and bones necessary for longer walks on a variety of terrain.  Vaccinations can include those for fleas, ticks, rabies, heartworm, bordatella (“kennel cough”), standard DHLPP (distemper, canine hepatitis, two strains of leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus).  Depending on where you will be hiking, there are also snake vaccines available. Your vet will know the ones your dog will need.  It is also a good idea to have an updated copy of your dog’s vaccination history in case there is ever a time when you encounter a situation where you need to prove to others that your dog has been vaccinated.



The main reason for dog identification is in case your dog gets lost.  Your dog probably already has a collar with an identification tag labeled with your name and a way to contact you. However, this should not be the only source of identification for your dog since collars can be broken and ID tags lost.  Keep an eye on the condition of your dog’s collar and ID tag.  Repair and replace as needed.  Other ways to ID your dog include licensing and microchipping your dog.  You should keep your license and microchip information updated. It is also a good idea to keep a current picture of your dog on you – which you probably have on your phone already : ) – in case you lose your dog on the trail and need to ask for help from other hikers.



One of the key factors in hiking successfully with your dog is how obedient your dog is. People enjoy hiking with their dog when they are able to enjoy their surroundings without having to constantly stop to see where their dog has gone or what their dog has gotten into.  There will be others on the same trail as you who do not like dogs or are scared by them.  There might be situations when it is important for you to calmly call your dog and hold him by the collar.  Dogs need to be non-reactive and able to remain calm when approaching or being approached by other people and animals. Work on communicating with your dog and mastering basic commands such as stay, come, and leave it.  You can start by working with your dog in the backyard, or any enclosed area free of distractions.  If you choose to start with a dog park, make sure the dog park is not too crowded.  If you would rather get some help by a professional you can simply sign up for basic obedience classes.


Trail & Leash Etiquette

If you plan to hike in a park or public space, you should always check the regulations regarding dogs.   When hiking, the general rule is to always keep your dog on a leash – even if your dog is obedient.  Other hikers, bikers, children, or other animals may feel more at ease if your dog is leashed. You never know how others may react to an dog off-leash, even if your dog is the perfect angel. Dogs should always be kept on leash in slippery terrain or trails with a steep overlook. It’s good etiquette to announce your approach and call your dog to you when others are nearby or when heading towards a more populated area, such as a trailhead or parking lot. Above all, use common sense. You are ultimately responsible for your dog’s safety.
It is generally good etiquette to let those without dogs to pass first while your dog sits and waits behind you. If you see an unleashed dog, put your dog on leash and walk past in a friendly manner with our without a brief introduction. If a dog is unattended, walk by very casually with your dog on leash and ignore the other dog. If the other dog charges up to you, block your dog and give the other dog a firm “no” or “stay” command. This usually stops most dogs but you may also choose to use dog spray instead. Above all, stay safe on the trails and have fun!


Go on an Adventure!

Now that you know some of the basics to hiking with your dog, find a trail in your area or simply start by walking around the neighborhood. Slowly increase the length of the hike and the difficulty of the terrain to challenge yourself and your dog. Above all, enjoy the outing and don’t forget to stay hydrated and check your dog’s paws periodically.


Going out into wet weather? Look also at our list additional first aid items to prevent and treat blisters, read: Tips for Hiking In The Rain: Staying Dry to Paw / Foot Care.

Do you have a favorite hiking spot? Suggest one to the Pawtivity community or just email us.

Join the Pawtivity Community. Meet Other Adventurers That Do What You Love To Do.
Sign up TODAY!