Long summer days, maps so big their corners flop off the edges of the table, and good company (furry and otherwise) hold some of the most protected places in our hearts. If you’re like us, you’ve got a bucket list filled to the brim with destinations and just the right two- and four-legged companions to bring along. But, if you find that there’s still a little room to spare in that bucket, we’ve got you covered with jaw-dropping, eye-popping, and—most importantly—dog-friendly hikes on the West Coast.
If you and your pup are new to hiking, though, there are a few crucial considerations to take into account before you embark. First, and most important, is understanding the limitations of your pup. There are several hikes listed below that are not well suited to older or short-legged dogs due either to the length of the trail or the nature of the climb—we’ve seen both types struggle on scree and boulder fields. Additionally, consider the evolutionary origins of your pup: A Newfoundland or a husky might suffer in the heat of Utah’s desert, and a thin-coated pit bull or Frenchie won't outlast the cold. Be sure to keep shade or a warm car close, outings relatively short, and cooling devices (as simple as a cool, wet rag) on hand if your pup is unaccustomed to the heat. Starting small is best. For more on the nuances of trail etiquette while traveling with your furry companion, get further information here.
Finally, above all, it’s imperative to follow the principles of Leave No Trace. NEVER leave anything behind—poop baggies exceptionally included.