Best Places in Georgia to Hike with Your Dog
Best Places in Georgia to Hike with Your Dog
It’s September, which means these sweltering summer days are drawing to a close and Autumn is on its way. Is anyone else ready for some adventure? Here in Georgia, it can be difficult to enjoy being outside in the blistering heat unless you’re by the water. This is why many of us can’t wait for Fall to come around—you can finally enjoy the outdoors without breaking out in a sweat after two minutes!
The heat can be tough on our dogs, too, and it’s often unsafe for them to spend a long time outside when it’s so hot. But if you’re looking for some fun outdoor adventures to go on with your pup this Fall, we have some great suggestions!
From hiking trails to scenic walks, there are beautiful places right here in Georgia that you, your dog, and your family can explore together. Take a look at some of these hidden gems:
- Cloudland Canyon
This state park is a paradise for those who love adventure. Located on the west edge of Lookout Mountain, Cloudland Canyon has a lot to offer. You’ll find plenty of walking trails as well as caves, creeks, waterfalls, biking trails, overlooks, as well as camp sites and recreation areas.
This park is a great place to bring your dog for either a weekend trip or a full-day excursion.
- Amicalola Falls State Park
Located in the Chattahoochee National Forest, this park is truly special. Amicalola Falls is one of Georgia’s seven natural wonders, and the trail that runs through the park is a popular choice among many hikers both local and non-local. The park is located in Dawsonville, GA, in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains.
The trail itself is 10 miles long, but it’s a moderate terrain that dogs could easily navigate. Keep in mind that all hiking trails are more suited for active, athletic dog breeds that are in good physical shape to navigate through the woods or up hills.
- Sweetwater Creek State Park
A series of smaller trails, Sweetwater Creek offers a scenic getaway without having to go deep into the mountains of North Georgia. The 5-story New Manchester Mill, a mid-nineteenth century mill that originally burned during the Civil War, is on the Red Trial—a short trail ideal for a simple walk in the woods.
The park features 9 miles of trails, and you can choose to walk them all or just a few. Sweetwater Creek is great for those who want to get their dogs out in nature but who don’t necessarily want to climb mountains all day.
- Canyon Loop in Providence Canyon
If you want to see a “Little Grand Canyon,” this trail is for you! Who would ever think that you could get a taste of the American southwest in Georgia?
It’s true, though! Although much smaller than the actual Grand Canyon, this 4.8 mile trail in the Providence Canyon Recreation Area has canyon hills and caverns reminiscent of the southwestern landscapes of Arizona. Located near Omaha, Georgia, this is truly one of Georgia’s best kept secrets.
Canyon Loop is a great area to bring your pup along. It can be quite dry here, so be sure to have plenty of water on hand for both yourself and your dog. Your dog will get plenty of exercise but since this trail is not much of a “mountain trail,” you won’t have to navigate difficult terrain.
- Panther Creek Falls
This lush forest path in the Chattahoochee National Forest is full of waterfalls, mossy boulders, and gorgeous hardwood trees. The trial is 7 miles long with several waterfalls along the way before ending with Panther Creek Falls—a multi-tiered waterfall giving way to a deep pool below.
This trail is a moderate hike and could be considered difficult for some dogs; however, most large or athletic breeds will navigate it easily. There are also campsites (first come, first serve) along the trial, making this area an ideal spot for a weekend getaway in the woods with your dog and the family.
Panther Creek Falls is located near Turnerville in Habersham County.
- Bartram Trail
This 35-mile stretch of remote forest is a hiker’s dream. If you and your dog love getting lost in the mountains, this trail is your next adventure!
The Bartram Trail is named after William Bartram, and explorer who found his way through the dense forests of North Georgia in 1775 documenting various species of flora and fauna. This multi-day adventure is perfect for those who want to go somewhere with less foot traffic and more wilderness. There are numerous rivers, streams, and lookouts to explore on this 70-mile round trip.
If you enjoy backpacking with your dog, Bartram Trail offers the best of adventure for you and your pup. With campsites along the way, there are places to stop, rest, and relax before getting back on the trail.
If you plan to travel much of the trail, or even make the round-trip, be sure that you prepare well for such an excursion. Take care of both yourself and your dog with plenty of snacks, meals, LOTS of water, and emergency supplies. There are intersections along the trail such as Warwoman Dell and Pinnacle Knob Trial where there are paved roads, rest areas, and rest rooms as well as campsites found along the trail.
Planning for the Outdoors with Your Pup
Hiking, backpacking, and camping with your dog is a great way to bond with them. Dogs can be great company and most breeds that are able to handle walking long distances will have a great time on these trails.
To help you be prepared for bringing your dog along, here are some useful quick tips that might come in handy:
- Know how much physical activity your dog can handle. Don’t push them too hard if they aren’t able to handle much exercise or if they aren’t used to it.
- Bring waste bags with you on hikes or walks. Some trails may request it, but it’s also common courtesy to pick up after your pup.
- Bring a first-aid kit for your dog.
- Having your dog carry their own backpack is also a good idea. This way, you can keep their supplies separate from your own such as their travel bowls, first-aid supplies, and treats. Anything that’s heavier should be stowed in your own pack.
- Always bring a leash and an extra leash just in case something happens to one.
- If you’ve never taken your dog hiking or camping, start out with a small trail and a small trip so they can get used to the process.
- Be sure that your dog has a good grasp on obedience techniques. If your dog has never been in obedience training, we highly recommend that your pup be exposed to obedience courses to ensure they are well-prepared for trips.
- Yield to other hikers. When you see other people approaching, it’s best to yield to them and let them pass by while you and your dog wait on the side of the trail instead of trying to pass other hikers at the same time, especially if the trail is narrow.
- Be conscious of temperatures, tough terrain, and substances on the trail that your dog might want to eat. Watch them at all times to make sure they don’t eat a plant or a foreign substance while you’re on a hike.
- Socks and booties for your dog can help protect their paws.
- Brush your dog to make sure there are no ticks or injuries.
- Bring plenty of food, treats, and water for your dog. Even though there are creeks and streams along many trails, it’s not a good idea for your dog to drink unfiltered water. Bring enough supplies for them to last however long you’ll be on the trail or until you can get to a rest stop.
Go on an Adventure!
There’s really nothing like going on an adventure with your dog. As the Fall season approaches, it’s prime weather in Georgia for spending time outside and letting our dogs get outside for some exercise.
We hope that these hiking trail suggestions give you a dose of inspiration for some outdoor adventures.
- Kirsten Starling