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.

Guide to the Blue Ridge Parkway – Hiking Trails in Virginia III

Continued from part 2

MP 91.0 A moderate 1.9 mile portion of the Appalachian Trail, leading from the VA 695 to Sharp Top Mountain overlook.

MP 92.5 The Sharp Top Mountain to Harvey’s Knob section of the Appalachian Trail is a 2.9 mile moderate hike along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

MP 95.4 Harvey’s Knob overlook to Montvale overlook portion of the Appalachian Trail is also moderately challenging, but is only a .6 mile hike.

MP 95.9 This mile long stretch of the Appalachian Trail runs from the Montvale overlook to Taylor’s Mountain overlook and is a moderately strenuous hike.

MP 96.0 Spec Mine Trail is a strenuous 2.8 mile trail maintained by the US Forest Service. This Blue Ridge Parkway hiking trail begins at the Montvale overlook and leads to Botetourt County along state Rt. 645.

MP 97.0 A moderate .8 mile section of the Appalachian Trail from Taylor’s Mountain overlook to Blackhorse Gap.

MP 110.6 Stewart’s Knob Trail is a brief stroll to an amazing view of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains.

MP 114.9 Roanoke River Trail is a .35 mile self-guiding stroll to a balcony overlooking the Roanoke River.

MP 120.4 Roanoke Mountain Summit Trail is a moderate tenth-mile hike to a splendid view of the Roanoke Valley.

MP 120.5 Chestnut Ridge Trail is a moderate 1.75 mile hike near the Roanoke Mountain camping area.

MP 121.4 Roanoke Valley Horse Trail is a moderate 18.5 mile long horse trail that begins near highway 220 and runs alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway.

MP 123.2 Buck Mountain Trail is a moderately challenging half mile hike to the top of Buck Mountain. The summit offers a fantastic view of the city of Roanoke.

MP 154.5 Smart View Loop Trail is a moderate 2.6 mile hike around the relaxing Blue Ridge Parkway picnic area.

MP 167.1 Rock Castle Gorge Trail is a strenuous 10.8 mile hike. The loop trail leads from the Rocky Knob campground, over Rocky Knob, and through the amazing Rocky Knob Gorge before ending back at the campground. This trail makes for an extreme day hike. If you’re not used to strenuous hiking, be sure to pack a Coleman foot care kit.

MP 167.1 Hardwood Cove is a moderately strenuous .8 mile portion of the Rock Castle Gorge trail. This section is a self-guiding nature trail.

MP 169.0 Black Ridge Trail is a moderate hiking trail that loops 3.1 miles from the Rocky Knob visitor center, passing Black Ridge and Grassy Knoll.

MP 169.0 Rocky Knob Picnic Loop Trail is a relaxing mile long walk around the picnic area. This is a perfect effortless hike for hot afternoons.

MP 176.2 Mabry Mill Trail is an easy trail that passes by the restored Mabry Mill and numerous exhibits of mountain life long ago, including shoemaking and blacksmith crafts.

MP 179.2 Round Meadow Creek Trail is a moderate half-mile hiking trail that loops through the peaceful, shady forest around Round Meadow Creek.

There is much, much more to see and do along the Blue Ridge Parkway!