Best Hiking with dogs

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Partial list of places dogs aren’t allowed: maybe not complete – inquire locally

  • Anza-Borrego State Park
  • San Jacinto State Park
  • Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park
  • The rim trail alternate in Crater Lake National Park (dogs are ok on official PCT that doesn’t visit the rim.)

Can I thru-hike with my dog?

Bringing your dog the entire way is not allowed, therefore a “pure” thru-hike by a pet dog is illegal. Leash laws vary, but one regulation that you won’t get around is the total ban on dogs on the trail in some National Parks and California State Parks.

You will not be able to hike the entire trail accompanied by your dog. For certain sections, you’ll have to leave the trail. Before the start of a restricted area, go to town and find a place to board your dog. You might have a friend dog sit. Then hike the park and then return to pick up your dog.

When are leashes absolutely required?

Please keep your dog on leash.

Leash laws differ depending on location. You’ll need to check local regulations (on agency websites or by calling local ranger stations) before heading out.

Some national forest wilderness areas require dogs to be leashed, others do not, and still more do at certain times of the year and only on certain trails. Or they might be completely prohibited if there is a municipal watershed or other sensitive area as well.

Hiking gear for dogs

Dog packs: If your dog is going to carry a pack, be mindful of how heavy it is. Go ultralight – extra weight should be carried by you. Often people only put a water bowl, some food and the dog’s own waste in their doggy packs. Maybe let your dog carry some of its own water too.

Dog booties: Even if your dog isn’t going to wear them all of the time, it’s generally a good idea to bring along booties. Cuts are common and if your dog gets one, he will likely be thankful for the extra protection. They might keep your dog moving under its own power, reducing the risk that you’ll end up carrying it out. Familiarize your dog with their booties by letting them wear them around town occasionally.

Sleeping gear: Unless it’s hot or your dog does very well in the cold, you’ll probably need to carry a sleeping bag and sleeping pad for your dog. A low cost synthetic sleeping bag, cut down to a smaller size, is a great option. Just as you use a sleeping pad to insulate you from the freezing ground, your dog will also need a pad.

Clothing: When the temperatures get chilly, your dog will likely need a jacket in camp. Purpose built dog coats are nicely fitted and snag less when they walk through bushes. An old down vest, maybe sewn tight, can also be a very warm alternative. Think about what your dog will do if it rains or snows. Will they need something to keep them warm and dry while hiking in the rain?

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