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Elle Ossello | 10.08.2018

We’ve written lengthy articles about water-based adventures with your pup, crafted pieces centered on public-land excursions with your four-legged buddy, opined on camping with your dog, and so much more. If you haven’t already deduced, we’re set on sharing every aspect of our adventurous world with our dogs. Now that the temperatures are falling and our snow gear is coming out of storage, we’ve got our eyes and hearts set on long, luxurious, powdery afternoons together. 

If there’s anything we love more than watching the first snowflakes of the season fly, it’s watching our euphoric furry adventure buddies dance around the park at the first sign of winter. While winter excursions with a pup in tow aren’t as straightforward as summertime hiking or beachwalking, the payoff—a happy, post-snow day human/dog combo in front of the fire—is worth it. 

Before you hit the trail (or the skin track) there are a few important considerations to take into account:

  • Gear: Is your dog naturally equipped to spend a few hours in the snow? If she’s a Newfoundland or a husky, most likely the answer is yes, but if you have a pit bull or a Great Dane, consider investing in a coat and paw wax or dog booties.
  • Training: Every backcountry ski community is rife with horror stories featuring dogs and sharp ski edges. It’s imperative that your pup is well trained to always stay close to you and behind you. Practicing with bikes and rollerblades has proven to work.
  • Knowing where to go: Stay away from exposure, high-angle slopes, and true powder days; in places like these, dogs are simply too much of a hazard. Always err on the side of caution.

Our top adventure recommendations

Tamanawas Falls Snowshoe | Mount Hood, Oregon
This trail is accessible, ideal for beginner snowshoers, and great for dogs learning to hike in the snow. Winning. Plus, the payoff—a stunning icy amphitheater—is downright jaw-dropping.

Tom Dick + Harry Mountain Snowshoe/Ski Tour | Mount Hood, Oregon
Short runs, amazing Mount Hood views, and proximity to Portland make this an excellent ski tour or showshoe for a learning pup. There are many available descents ranging from moderate bowls to massive cliff bands. Pick your poison, but remember to check avalanche conditions and to practice safe avalanche awareness at all times. 

Mayflower Gulch Snowshoe/Ski Tour | Gore and Mosquito Range, Colorado
With under 1,000 feet of elevation gain in 3.2 miles, this is both an excellent introductory snowshoe trip and a ski tour. Unless you’re the first one there after a dump (good luck), there will be plenty of traffic to guide your way. The low-angle tree skiing is great for training a blossoming touring pup.

Billy’s Bridge Snowshoe/Cross Country Ski | Sun Valley, Idaho
Though its proximity to Sun Valley Resort can make this one a bit busy, if you rise just a bit early than the rest, you and your pup can have the eye-popping, sweeping vistas all to yourself. Whether you’re taking a cross-country ski lap or up to the meadow, this easy trail is a winner for all.

Rattlesnake Gulch Snowshoe | Central Wasatch Mountains, Utah
This close-to-town winter adventure serves up a lot of bang for its buck. Stellar views, relatively short mileage, and dog friendliness make it an excellent choice for a quick afternoon trip with furry and human friends.

Journeyman Lodge Snowshoe/Ski Tour | Squamish-Lillooet, British Columbia
Not only is the lodge an absolute dream, but the terrain in which it's situated is world-class for pups and humans alike. Whether you’re in for a guided tour or a leisurely stroll through the towering trees, this area is a winter adventure haven.

The Bigelows + Horns Loop | Carrabassett Valley, Maine
This one is for the seasoned veterans that know how to prepare for a long excursion. Nearly 3,000 feet of elevation gain over 15 miles is no joke in the snow. But the incredible views and the memories made here are truly priceless and well worth the effort. 

Hickory Run Trail Snowshoe | Poconos, Pennsylvania
This trail is the epitome of a quiet walk in the woods. Here, congestion is low—along with the elevation gain and the mileage, so for an aging dog or one that is just getting used to winter conditions, this ambient walk is choice.


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