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?

Published by Ray Anderson

Hiker and writer. Have hiked the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, The Long Trail (Vermont), and some of the Continental Divide Trail. My trail name is "HAMLET." Have written three hiking novels (thrillers). The first one, "THE TRAIL," was traditionally published in 2015. My second hiking thriller, "SIERRA," released Oct 2016. Book three in my AWOL hiking-thriller series, "THE DIVIDE" releases from Turner Publishing 8/18/2020.

2 thoughts on “Pets on Trails

  1. Hi Ray! My dog always hikes either me. He carries my camp shoes & packs out our trash in addition to carrying his food & bowl. Here, water isn’t a big issue, but heat can be.

    He does alert me to animals- mostly chipmunks. We have seen a few bears, though. That’s a time to have a non aggressive dog. Mine is a huge chicken & never tries to confront anything. I was reminded of how good that trait is when we came across a momma bear with 3 cubs trying to cross the trail.


    Sent from my iPhone

    1. Hi Barbara. Wow, good thing your dog wasn’t aggressive with the bear and cubs. Some hikers don’t like dogs near shelters, but that’s never bothered me. The animals I’ve seen on trails are usually well behaved.

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