Girl hugging white golden retriever outside

As a dog mom, I know how important it is to find safe, accessible, and dog friendly hikes. Dexter, my two year old golden retriever, is just as passionate about getting outdoors as I am! We go on a lot of adventures together, and thankfully there is no shortage of trails around Asheville. So without further ado, here are my top 5 hikes to take with your furry companion!

Girl looking at a white golden retriever outside

Dexter and I

Bearwallow Mountain

It’s hard to choose a favorite hike, but this one is definitely at the top of my list. The hike to the summit of Bearwallow Mountain is only a mile, but it is definitely still a good workout for you and your dog. Once you reach the top, you are greeted by a breathtaking panoramic view of the mountains. Thanks to the cows that call the mountain home in the summertime, there are no trees or large plants blocking your view. As far as being dog friendly, this hike doesn’t disappoint. There are almost always other dogs on the mountain for your canine companion to socialize with (if they feel comfortable). It’s also the perfect olfactory experience, because there is always a multitude of cow poop for your dog to sniff and explore! It might sound gross… but to your dog it’s like the cherry on top of the perfect day.

A white golden retriever laying down with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background

Dexter at Bearwallow Mountain

Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg Home trail mapThe Carl Sandburg home, located in Flat Rock just outside of Hendersonville, is doggie hike heaven. This National Park Service site has a plethora of activities for you and your dog to enjoy. There are plenty of trails that cater to the short legged shih-tzu, or the athletic and sporty shepherd. Whether you are exploring the land around the house, checking out the goats (the “funny dogs” as Dexter knows them), or hiking up to Big Glassy Mountain, an entire day can easily be dedicated to having fun here.

Girl and white golden retriever at the top of Big Glassy Mountain

Dexter and I at the top of Big Glassy Mountain

Black Balsam Knob

Two people looking at the mountains from Black Balsam Knob

Photo by @dilsworth on Instagram

Definitely one of the most stunning hikes in Western North Carolina, Black Balsam is like something out of a fairytale. The adventure begins at the Art Loeb Trailhead, located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 420. The short stretch of trail leads to the iconic Black Balsam view. I highly recommend this hike for people and dogs who aren’t looking for anything too strenuous. Small, senior, or special needs canines can experience the joys of this beautiful hike and not over exert themselves.

DuPont Forest

There’s never a shortage of fun things to do at the DuPont State Recreational Forest. With a collective 86 miles of trails on protected 10,000 acres, there’s something for everyone and their dog (literally). From waterfalls, swimming holes, and awesome views, DuPont is the place to be. My personal favorite is seeing the waterfalls and exploring the swimming holes with Dex. I especially recommend this place for pups who love to swim. Want to learn more about all the things you can do here? Check out the Friends of DuPont Forest Website for more information!

White golden retriever swimming with a stick in his mouth

Never Dull in DuPont!

Remember: It is never a good idea to have your dog off leash near waterfalls, especially if they love swimming. There are designated spots that are safe to swim and explore, and other spots that are off limits. Please make sure to abide by these rules and regulations for you and your dog’s safety!

Catawba Falls

Catawba Falls, NC

Photo by @dilsworth on Instagram

Another great hike for all the four legged water bugs out there is Catawba Falls! This hike is just short of 3 miles, and offers plenty of opportunities for you and your dog to get your feet/paws wet! My favorite part of this hike is the swimming hole at the base of the falls, which is always refreshing on a hot summer day.

Daniel Ridge Loop Trail

The first time I went here with Dexter, I knew this would be one of our frequent hiking locations. The Daniel Ridge Loop, located in the Brevard area in Pisgah National Forest is definitely a trip you don’t want to pass up on. The trail itself parallels certain parts of the Davidson River, and again, offers wonderful swimming opportunities for you and your dog. Other than the river, there are so many other reasons this trail is worth visiting. The different biomes that you encounter throughout the trip are amazing, and the view of Tom Springs Falls is breathtaking. To top it all off, at the end of the hike you and your fuzzy adventure buddy can visit The Hub and Pisgah Tavern for a good meal in their outside seating area!

It’s a well known fact by any dog mom/dad that as long as you have your four legged companion with you, there is never a dull moment. Hopefully these 5 dog friendly hikes can help inspire you and your pup’s next adventure!

White golden retriever with his tongue out