Doggin’ Northern Virginia: The 10 Best Places To Hike With Your Dog In NOVA

Have you ever considered how far you walk with your dog? If you walk just 15 minutes a day you will have walked far enough in your dog’s lifetime to cross the United States. With all that walking ahead of you, aren’t you ready for a new place to take a hike with your dog in northern Virginia? Here are NOVA’s best trails to hike with your best friend…

1. Sky Meadows State Forest

When you place your park on the Blue Ridge Mountain mountain slopes far removed from eight-lane roads clogged with traffic you have to work hard not to be the best place to hike with your dog in Northern Virginia and Sky Meadows does not disappoint. The real star here are the meadows – your dog can’t hike through any better.

2. Mason Neck State Park

A half-dozen canine hiking options through an attractive oak/holly forest on paw-friendly soft dirt are pretty enough you will want to complete them all with your dog. If you have time after lingering on the best beach for your dog in Northern Virginia.

3. Prince William Forest Park

The many miles of wooded trails in the largest swath of protected land in the Washington DC metropolitan area are refreshingly uncrowded – always an attraction for canine hikers. The trails are wide enough for a pack of dogs to travel easily over and well-marked.

4. Great Falls Park

You may come for the spectacular views of the Falls of the Potomac but you’ll stay for the canine hiking on wide trails that take your dog through a variety of habitats and the ruins of a Colonial canal town. Hold the swimming for someplace else, however.

5. The Battlefields of Manassas

Two five-mile interpretive hikes examine the year-apart clashes of the North and South across this Civil War battlefield. For your dog these hikes offer the best mixture of open field and wooded trail hiking in Northern Virginia.

6. Claude Moore Park

This eastern Loudoun oasis serves up a pastiche of a dozen short trails that add up to more than ten miles of canine hiking. You get your choice of two trails that circle the park, both of which visit Little Stoney Mountain for long views at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland.

7. Fountainhead Regional Park

Fountainhead is a trail user’s park. there are trails set aside for horses and for bikes and the white-blazed pedestrian trail is a snaking, two-mile excursion around wide ravines and through airy woods. For real canine adventures you can set out on the 18-mile Bull Run-Occoquan Trail.

8. Leesylvania State Park

There are three loops to enjoy with your dog in Leesylvania – the star being the Lee’s Woods Trail. This canine hike packs history aplenty into its two sporty miles atop the bluffs overlooking the Potomac River. For easy hiking with your dog take the Potomac Trail as it weaves through the former waterside amusement park that was part of the gambling gambit. Plenty of beach and swimming time for your dog here too.

9. Harpers Ferry National Historic Park

Few places in America pack as much scenic wonder and historical importance into such a small area as Harpers Ferry National Historic Park where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers join forces. Your dog can sample hikes in three states here – up the mountain at Maryland Heights, through the town in West Virginia and across the Appalachian Trail in Virignia.

10. Mount Vernon

America’s most-visited home is dog-friendly to the core – the gate attendants provide a bowl of water for canine visitors. George Washingtn would have it no other way. The Father of Our Country is also the Father of the American Foxhound. He bred a new type of fox hunter with dogs from his friend Marquis de Lafayette and English hounds. The President favored silly names for his beloved dogs: Drunkard, Tipler, Tipsy.

Doggin’ Vancouver: Where To Hike With Your Dog When In Terminal City

Frederick Arthur Stanley was the sixth Governor-General of Canada, presiding over

a completely uneventful five-year term beginning in 1888. He had the good fortune,

however, to be immortalized by two tangential occurrences during his service. One,

he authorized the equivalent of $48 to purchase a trophy for a hockey

tournament that became the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup and two, he was

in office when one of North America’s most spectacular urban parks opened in

Vancouver.

More than 50 miles of roads and paths twist under majestic cedars, hemlocks and

firs in Stanley Park, located on West Georgia Street, Route 99/1A, on a peninsula

north of town on English Bay. The dogwalk along the 5.5-mile seawall around the

entire peninsula is one of the most popular activities in Vancouver. Started in the

1920s to halt erosion, the stone wall took six decades to completely finish. At nearly

three dozen Vancouver parks, including Stanley Park, dogs are allowed off-leash

from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m and 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Just northeast of town is the dog-friendly Cypress Provincial Park. The lure of the

North Shore Mountains looking down on Vancouver brought hikers and skiers by

boat until the opening of the Lions Gate Bridge in 1939. This new easy access

threatened the old growth forests when clear-cut logging began under the guise of

cutting ski trails. Preservation forces aligned to save the trees, including namesake

stands of yellow cypress, and the park was created in 1975.

Alpine canine hiking is convenient to Cypress Parkway on three mountains: Black

Mountain, Mount Strachan and Hollyburn Mountain. The Hollyburn Mountain Trail is

a hardy ascent of about four miles round trip to the summit and the Black Mountain

Loop Trail visits sub-alpine meadows and glacial lakes ideal for a doggie dip. The

full circuit will take about two hours.

Less strenuous fare can be found around the mountain bases. The Yew Lake Trail is

a 30-minute canine hike from the main Cypress Mountain visitor center, on fully

accessible terrain through wetlands and meadows.

Experienced hikers can tackle the Howe Crest Sound Trail but maybe not with your

dog. Small cliffs are negotiated with ropes and you will encounter narrow trail

chutes. The rugged 18-mile trail tops several mountains and is best attempted by

canine hikers in small, well-researched bites.

To reach Cypress Provincial Park take Exit #8 off the Upper Levels Highway in West

Vancouver, and follow the road up the mountain.

copyright 2006