Top 5 Dog-Friendly Hikes on the East Coast

Top 5 Dog-Friendly Hikes on the East Coast

Written by Jane Chertoff on

Jane Chertoff is a freelance lifestyle writer who enjoys traveling and exploring with her Chihuahua, Cesar. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

When you live in a big city, chances are you like to escape every now and then—especially if you have a dog that requires a lot of exercise. For east coasters, endless parks and trails are just a short drive from major cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, and can be completed in a few hours to a half-day. All you’ll need is a lightweight backpack, picnic lunch, and plenty of water for you and your four-legged friends.

Take a daytrip out to one of these five trails that give you and your pooch plenty of quality outdoor time together. 

1. Cornish Estate Trail in Cold Spring, NY

Ready to get out of the urban jungle? This trail is only an hour drive from Manhattan (give or take some traffic) but feels a world away. Look for the Cornish Estate Trail, a 4.9-mile (7.9-kilometer) loop in Putnam County just outside the town of Cold Spring. Here, you can hike through old estate ruins with Hudson River and Valley views as your reward. Keep the pups on a leash and your phone, dog treats, and doggie bags handy in a lightweight waistpack. The hike can be completed in two and a half to three hours. 

2. Mountain Lakes Park Trail in North Salem, NY

Another trail option close to New York City is the Mountain Lakes Park Trail, which is located in Westchester County just a short one and a half hour drive from Manhattan. Dogs are allowed on leash on the 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) loop alongside Westchester’s highest peak. The hike is considered easy-to-moderate, and should take about three hours to complete. Pack a lunch and your dog’s food in your daypack so you can enjoy one of the picnic areas, and pack a wet/dry sac if you plan to splash along with your pup in one of the lakes along the way. 

3. Skyline Trail at Blue Hills Reservation, Milton, MA

You don’t need to drive far from Boston to find a dog-friendly hike in picturesque New England: Milton, Massachusetts is just 20 minutes away in minimal traffic. There, you’ll find the Blue Hills Reservation, a 6,000-acre state park to explore with your dog—on a leash, per state park rules. Try the challenging 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) Skyline Loop trail, which ascends and descends five hills with beautiful views of the Boston area—racking up a total elevation gain/loss of 1,100 feet (335 meters). For more of a challenge, hook up to one of the many intersecting trails to extend your hike. 

4. Peabody Loop Trail, Noanet Woodlands, Dover, MA  

Another option is just a short road trip from Boston is the Noanet Woodlands, just about 45 minutes from the city. Once you arrive, you’ll find 17 miles (27 kilometers) of trails to explore. For a short hike or run with your dog, head out on the 2.6-mile (4.2 kilometer) Peabody Loop Trail, which offers wide, shaded paths and rolling hills your pooch is certain to enjoy. Hook up with another shorter trail like the Larabee to add 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometers) to your workout. 

5. Yellow Trail in Wissahickon Valley Park, Philadelphia, PA 

Need to escape from Philadelphia for the day? You don’t need to go far. Just drive about 20 minutes from the center of the city to Wissahickon Valley Park, located in the northwest pocket of the city. Dogs are allowed on leash on the park’s 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) of hiking trails, including the 7.9-mile (12.7-mile) Yellow Trail. You’ll find varied terrain like dirt and rock along the way, with occasional steep, technical climbs to keep your dog challenged. Note: If your dog doesn’t like to hike on rocky surfaces, avoid this park. Most of the trails are at least partially on rocky terrain. 

Wherever you’re heading out to hike with your dog on the East Coast, check the weather before you go. Most trails are accessible from March to early November, but conditions can change rapidly. 

Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

The Ultimate Guide to Traveling with Pets

October Travel Destinations: Top New England Getaways

Most Instagram-Worthy Road Trips in the United States