View Full Version : hiking with dogs

07-02-2010, 10:32 AM
I was just wondering if anyone knew what trails to avoid whilke hiking with my dog?

07-03-2010, 10:32 PM
That's a pretty open-ended question - A little more info will help those of us who hike with dogs to offer some tailored advice. Are you speaking solely of Mount Washington? If so, any trail, especially the sections above treeline, can be particularly hard on a dogs paws to the point they can become abraded enough to bleed. The rocks around the summit cone are indeed that rough. I would also steer clear of trails with a lot of scrambles like Huntington Ravine and possibly the Great Gulf. I wouldn't bring a dog on any trail where a significant fall could occur. Along those lines, how large is your dog? Could you carry him/her out if an injury does occur? The wind can howl up there too, and a 40 lb dog might find it awfully hard to keep 4 paws on the ground. And don't forget the eyes. If you run into bad weather (we just saw snow July 1!) dog-goggles might be necessary if you run into frozen and wind-driven precip above treeline.

I can't think of any trails on the mountain, other than the two I've mentioned above, that a well-conditioned and experienced trail dog can't handle. But every dog is different, so tell us about you and your pooch.

07-05-2010, 12:22 PM
I'll let Kevin chime in as he his dog has more miles racked up in the Whites probably than most people here.

I will add that last year I brought my Australian Cattle Dog up for Seek the Peak last year to hike Boots Spur to the summit of MW. She is a VERY active dog, pretty fit, not over-weight. I've taken her hiking with my on day hikes many times in the northern Virginia area. Given her athleticism I thought she would do fine up north.

We did great for a good way up the trail until we got above treeline and the trail gets rocky. Just below the final push to the top of the headwall (around 5,000 feet) my poor lil pup just gave up, sat on a rock and gave me this look that said "I'm done! Get me outta here." It wasn't the roughness of the trail on her pads or the cold weather that set in that got to her. The constant jumping from rock to rock just burned her out. At this point we decided it was best to head back to the gully trail and exit via Hojo's. The bright side is that we were early for the big dinner!

So, depending on the type of dog you have, evaluate the trail carefully. Even though dogs may SEEM fit for it, when the trail gets mainly rocky, this type of activity can be very difficult on their joints and hips. And, as others will note (and mentioned by other posts here) S&R will not take kindly to being called out to rescue your dog. So be prepared to carry your dog out.

07-05-2010, 09:13 PM
Thanks BlueDog in addition to the thanks button!

I'd also mention that free-flowing water availability on the trails in the WMNF is never a sure thing, and adequate water needs to be carried for the fur-kids needs as well as human consumption..... but then there are dogs like MY dog.

She would be fine and happy as a lark as long as there is natural/ running/stream water, but she will turn up her nose at bottled or canteen water. She also doesn't want to eat anywhere that isn't a settled < several nite stay site> or when she is on the move. Hey, it is what it is and I know. She IS a dog who would dehydrate and starve herself to stay in the game until < the quit> . THE QUIT would become obvious and traumatic. Nuff Said.

Obviously, she isn't and will never be a hiking companion and I'm glad I know what is up with her. I'd be beyond mortified to need S&R or F&G assistance because I allowed or encouraged or enabled my dog to go past her physical limits just to accompany me.


07-09-2010, 09:43 AM
Dogs will usually follow along until they just decide enough is enough and then....I had to carry my dog on my shoulders once after she stopped (90 lbs!!). The rough footing above treeline in the Whites can be rough, but I have found that my dog handles the cliff faces and ledges better than I would have anticipated. Chocorua and Whiteface were not much problem, but I would not try Huntington Ravine with a dog. Like Smitty says, I wouldn't want to kill the dog on the rock hopping that comes with most of the Presidentials on the North Side. The approach from Lake of the Clouds side is a little less rock hopping and would be better IMHO. Tuckerman Ravine Trail would be OK with a dog and water is readily available all the way up to the top of the headwall (and then again at the summit). There are other trails up that would work too (for ease of dog and water availability).