Pets on Trails

Backpacking and camping in the Jim Bridger Wilderness with a dogHiking dogs on trails

Hikers with dogs are common, but some parklands don’t allow dogs on established trails. If you are thru-hiking the AT, for example, you are not supposed to bring your pet when you hike through Smoky Mountains National Park. It is wise to check beforehand and make proper arrangements.

Dogs on an extended hike with their master usually carry their own food and supplies. The dog in the picture on the left carries her own collapsible bowl, food, and a mat. The dog in the other picture, Danny, loves to run through brooks and streams, so he is equipped with a waterproof food bag.

On rocky terrain, claws and paws can get beat up pretty bad. To avoid this, on the rugged John Muir Trail, I saw dogs with “paw boots,” little leather booties velcroed around their paws. You can buy them at hiking stores.

Dogs give warnings of other animals and possible problems. Most of all, they are great company for a lone hiker. Who else would listen to your sermonizing?

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