Best Hiking Spots To Bring a Dog in the Southwest

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The Southwest is an outdoor lover’s dream come true, with secluded hiking spots, few regulations, and year-round opportunities for adrenaline-pumping sports. You’ll never run out of activities to try after you discover the best hiking spots to bring a dog in the Southwest.

Before You Go

  • Bring even more water than you think you need or learn to filter it from streams you come across.
  • Getting bit by a rattlesnake can be deadly for your dog. Usually, you just need one training session to prevent this—it’ll be worth it.
  • The Southwest is highly expansive, and some destinations are remote with no cell service. Always make sure to gas up before you head out on your adventure.
  • Do your best to protect your pup’s paws. Musher’s Secret balm is a salubrious favorite, but even using dog booties will help keep your pup’s paws from getting torn up while you’re trying to shred the hills.

Sunset Trail – Arizona

Located in Northern Arizona, this 8.3-mile out and back trail stretches along the top of the Kachina Peaks, overlooking miles of beautiful views in all directions. This entire area has some of the state’s best mountain biking routes. A handful of trails web around this area, providing ample opportunities for multi-night backpacking trips.

Duck Pass Trail at Mammoth Lakes – California

Mammoth Lakes is a gorgeous mountain town on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Rolling hills of Ponderosa pines blend with mixed conifers, blanketing scattered shimmering blue lakes. Mammoth Lakes has plenty of opportunities for mountain biking, rock climbing, and winter sports. You can also rent a kayak or SUP to travel across the lake with your dog.

Little Wild Horse Bell Canyon Trail – Utah

If you’ve been wanting to explore Antelope Canyon but don’t want to shell out $50 for an entry fee, the Bell Canyon area is excellent for you. It’s a fantastic slot canyon that will make you feel like you’ve beat SpaceX to Mars. Hikers love this eight-mile trail loop because there are rarely people in sight and plenty of areas to scramble.

Mount Evans, West Ridge From Summit Lake – Colorado

If you haven’t gotten into hiking Colorado 14ers, this is an excellent place to start. It’s 5.5 miles round-trip with about 2,000 feet in elevation gain. The path enters the Mount Evans Wilderness, part of the scenic mountain range just west of Denver. If you haven’t taken your pooch up this high in altitude before, make sure to work your way up to it.

Exploring Public Lands

If you’d like to get off the beaten path even more, public lands provide some of the best hiking spots to bring a dog in the Southwest. Find some maps for land regulated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), US Forest Service (USFS), and US Fish and Wildlife (USFW). You won’t want to wait until your next three-day weekend to get out and freely travel with your dog.

There’s no need to leave your furry friend at home while you get to indulge in all the fun. With just a little bit of planning, you can enjoy mountain biking, kayaking, or hiking together.

Written by Kevin O'Neill

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