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

How to Hike Like a Sherpa and Tips For Your Next Outdoor Recreation Adventure

The best path to good health involves exercise. This does not mean joining a gym and hiring a personal trainer. A brisk walk is great for a cardio workout. Best of all, it's free to walk. After making several circuits around the neighborhood, it might help to expand the walking route. This is where the idea of ​​hiking along a trail comes into play. The abundance of state and national parks means no one would be prohibitively far from a hiking trail. Just because someone has mastered the energetic walk does not mean they are ready to take on the next level of outdoor recreation that would be an intense hike. This is an exercise that should be approached much like the hike itself: Slow and steady. Here are some valuable tips to make sure a hike experience can be a winning one.

Leave the Denim in the Drawer

Check the label on a pair of denim jeans. It will read, "Made with cotton." That's great for casual wear but horrible on a mountain trail. Wet denim takes forever to dry out. It also draws out body heat leaving the wearer shivering. Embracing outdoor recreation means being prepared to embrace the elements and geological waterways. Cotton is not the clothing to be worn on these adventures.

Always Drink Water

Headaches, dizziness, and lack of focus are all signs of dehydration. The number one sign is when a person becomes thirsty. At that moment, the body is asking for water. On a hiking trail, the hiker needs to carry his or her hydration. Ideally, that would mean a six-ounce drink every twenty minutes. That keeps the hydration flowing before the body has a chance to get thirsty. Keep in mind that water is needed just as much on the way down as on the way up.

Break in Hiking Shoes Before the Hike

The first time a person goes on a hike is not the time to break in a pair of hiking shoes. Those shoes should be worn around for a few days before hitting the trail. It is also helpful to give the feet a break. During lunch or rest, remove the shoes and massage the feet. A nice foot cool down will help prolong the outdoor recreation.

Start Early

Hikes work best in the early morning hours. The sun hasn't had a chance to reach its zenith for the day, and that means cooler temperatures. The longer a hiker waits to take to the trail, the less actual time they'll have outdoors. Getting stuck on a trail after dark is not recommended even for the most experienced hikers.

Notify Friends

Despite all the preparation, an outdoor recreation adventure can go south in a heartbeat. Look no further than "127 Hours" for a prime example of that. There is nothing wrong with wanting to commune with nature by hiking solo. However, it is highly recommended that any hiker tells a friend where they are going and what trail they intend to use, just in case.

Solo Hiking Tips: How To Stay Safe On The Trail For A Day Hike

If you’re a new to hiking, it’s not advisable to go on a hike alone. It’s better to gain experience and familiarize yourself on a trail before tackling it by yourself. When you’re ready, safety should be your number one priority. Preparation is always key and it’s also crucial to learn what you need to do in case of emergencies like getting lost or being injured.

Here are some important solo hiking tips on how to stay safe on the trail during a day hike:

Be prepared

Before your trip, you should feel confident about taking on the trails and paths you’re about to face, as different trails have different levels of difficulty. This means you should be in shape physically and you’re equipped with the right clothing and gear to avoid possible injuries and mishaps.

It’s also ideal that you do research about the trail you’re about to take on, even if you’ve hiked it once or twice before. Know where to get help, if there are any wildlife in the area or if there are any bodies of water you have to cross. Also familiarize yourself to the trail markers. Knowing these things will help you get prepared better and safer on the trail.

Share your hike plan with someone

Make it a point to know what time the sunset will be that day so you can plan your hike accordingly (you should be back before dark) and know how long your hike would take. Let someone responsible know your plan – what trail you’re hiking and what time you’ll be back. This will serve very useful in case you get lost.

Pack light

The heavier your pack is, the slower you’ll be. Make it a point to bring only the essentials like sufficient food and water, a change of clothes, first aid kit and navigation tools.

Stay on the trail

Take the time to take in the beauty around you but always stay on trail. You might be tempted to check out that waterfall nearby but it’s crucial to follow your plan and stay on schedule to avoid problems. Also observe how busy the trail is. If you encounter hikers every 5 minutes or so, then you won’t have any problems with getting help in case of emergencies.

Always stay safe on the trail whether it’s a day hike or a longer trip. Follow these essential hiking tips!