Virginia Is For Dog Lovers / by Christin Healey


Adventure dogs and exploring just go together, and there is no place like Virginia for hitting the trail with your furry friends.  With the exception of a few trails with tricky rock scrambles, Shenandoah is about as dog friendly as it gets, and there are parks galore with refreshing streams and lakes for your pup to frolic in. Below are some of my doggies favorite spots to get out and play, and why they deserve to come along. 


Three Ridges Wilderness is one of my favorite spots to bring the pups along. It's a challenging hike, with rewarding views, and a camping spot with a perfect little stream running by to rehydrate after a long day on the trail. Remember that your pups are usually doing twice the mileage you are with all that running around, so be sure to either carry in enough water or camp somewhere (preferred) that provides plenty for them to recover from the adventure. The same goes for food: when doing big mileage, be sure that you pack in more calories than normal to keep them going strong. 

So you want a little down time after all that backpacking? You're not the only one who loves great views of the Blue Ridge! This scenic drive stretches 105 miles through the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park, allowing for more than enough chances to hang your head out of the window, take in a sunrise, sunset, or anything in between.  Make it a multi-day event by either booking a campsite, or checking out some of the dog-friendly lodging that dots the road. 

Catch a sunrise! Friends don't want to rally to catch the first rays of light? Luckily your pooch is almost always up for an adventure and will great the day with the same enthusiasm as when you have been away for an entire 5 minutes. In Virginia, there are few places that are more iconic than McAfee Knob, with its rocky outcrop and views for miles of the Catawba Valley and Tinker Cliffs in the distance, it's the perfect spot to spend a morning with your furriest pals.  

Take to the water! Especially in the dog days of summer (sorry, just couldn't help it!), there really is no better way to cool off than taking a dip, and Virginia is a prime spot for finding the perfect swimmin' hole.  Beaver Creek is perfect for any kind of paddling, and you can't beat Walnut Creek for jumping in for a few laps.  No matter where the destination, a day on the water is a day well spent. 

Get out and play! No matter what the elements throw at you, it's important to get out there and take it all in. Virginia has endless opportunities for humans and canines alike, so here's to many adventures with your best friend. 

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