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  • Top Places to Hike with Your Dog Near DC

    by Emily Bergquist
    Two people on dirt mountain hiking path with a red dog walking between them

    Summer is finally here! So get out and enjoy the gorgeous weather by hitting the trails with your favorite furry friend. Though the D.C. Metro area has plenty of parks and trails within city limits, sometimes you just need to get out of the city for that extra elevation and natural hiking atmosphere. Here is a list of some of the top dog friendly hikes near DC.

    Two people climbing up a rocky hill with a red dog and mountains in the backdrop

    Harper’s Ferry

    Visiting this wonderfully preserved National Park is like taking a step back in time. Very few hiking trails also offer such significant history and Civil War battlegrounds, but Harper’s Ferry is a very unique and one-of-a-kind place to visit. There are about 20 miles of trails ranging from difficult, traversing steep climbs that reach the mountain peak, to more easy riverside strolls. Harper’s Ferry is conveniently located less than 50 miles from D.C., so you and your pup can go in the afternoon and be back before dinner.

    A husky sitting on a point overlooking a river and smiling up at the sky

    Catoctin Mountain Park

    Whether it’s hiking, fishing, picnicking, or overnight camping, there’s a myriad of ways to enjoy being outside at Catoctin Mountain Park. There are over 25 miles of trails that offer stunning vista views, waterfalls, rock formations, and various special attractions such as the Blue Blazes Whiskey Still Exhibit. The park even has its own bark rangers, a program that allows dogs and their owners to volunteer to help monitor and maintain the trails.

    A husky walking on a dirt path with green hills beside towards a mountain peak ahead.

    Scott’s Run Nature Preserve

    Less than a 30 minute drive from Capitol Hill is this remarkable park on the Potomac Gorge with rare plants, biological ecosystems, and incredibly peaceful pockets to bask in the splendor of nature. There are a wide variety of trail types from wide, clear paths that are great for strolling or running with your dog, to more rugged terrain that include steep inclinations and rocky trails.

    shallow focus photography of short-coated black dog sitting on mountain side in tall grass

    Great Falls

    Not only does the park offer breathtakingly majestic overlooks of the white water falls, but there are also over ten trails that span more than 15 miles. Dogs are more than welcome in the park and on the hiking trails as long as they are leashed. There are also picnic tables and grills available as well, so if you or your dog aren’t the hiking type, you can still enjoy the beautiful view.

    Short-haired black dog standing near waterfall

    Theodore Roosevelt Island

    If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, but don’t have time to make the trip out to the great hiking spots outside the D.C. area, look no further than this hidden gem. This 88 acre National Park is conveniently located in the middle of the Potomac River between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom. Not only can you see the natural habitat of the area such as turtles, birds, and fish, but you also have an amazing view of the D.C. skyline. Dogs on leashes are welcome on all trails.

    man walking through flower field with white dog

    The National Arboretum

    Another relaxing place to enjoy an afternoon in nature within city limits is The National Arboretum, nearly 450 acres of park famous for its splendor and variety of blooming trees and blossoming flowers. There are plenty of large, grassy areas to throw a ball with your dog, as well as some shorter walking trails through the gardens. Be sure to check it out this season while the Azaleas are blooming!

    Small white dog sniffs pink flowers

    Whether it’s staying in the city, or going out for a day trip hike, there is so much for you and your furry best friend to explore! This summer, be sure to venture outside and see what fun you and your dog can find!

    German shepherd stands on rock overlooking a mountain ahead

    Need some tips for hiking with your dog? Read our helpful guide for things to keep in mind!

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