We’ve always loved hiking and camping with our dogs. And their trail love is equal: touch a backpack and they’re headed for the door, ready for a hiking adventure. While most Georgia trails are dog-worthy, we’ve hiked our favorite dog friendly trails many times over with our labrador retriever Amber and our labrador/boxer mix Jake.
While many of Georgia’s trails are dog friendly, these are our favorite, dog-tested and dog-approved trails throughout Georgia. Grab a leash, your favorite canine hiking buddy and hit the trail for some outdoor, dog-friendly adventure! And if you’re looking for a great hike closer to home, be sure to check out our top ten favorite dog-friendly hikes near Atlanta, too.
Dog perks: Gentle rolling elevation and a deep swimming hole near the trailhead make this Amber’s all-time favorite.
Human perks: Hike the Raven Cliff Falls Trail past beautiful waterfalls to the main attraction: a waterfall that cascades through a 40-foot-tall cliff.
Dog perks: The awesome reward at the end of this semi-difficult Appalachian Trail hike: a swim at Lake Winfield Scott.
Human perks: Wildflowers, views and a creek-filled forest spotlight this classic Appalachian Trail hike on three dog-friendly trails.
Dog perks: Soft compacted dirt and a relatively short distance make this hike easy. And Long Creek’s pools offer splashing fun.
Dog perks: Shady, level trails cross through great swimming holes before climbing elevation to a mountain summit.
Human perks: Mossy boulders and towering old-growth trees make Bear Creek one of the most beautiful North Georgia valleys we’ve hiked.
Dog perks: Our water-loving dogs love the trail’s many creek crossings as it meanders through a shady, cool valley.
Human perks: Splash through the Emery Creek Trail’s 20 creek crossings en route to a beautiful waterfall. Wet boots are guaranteed – a fun summertime hike.
Dog perks: Rolling terrain through high-elevation Georgia forest offers plenty of dog-friendly fun on the trail. There’s plenty to sniff and plenty to see!
Human perks: Gorgeous wildflower filled forests, especially in spring, lead to one of Georgia’s most spectacular views from the Tennessee Rock overlook.
Dog perks: There’s plenty of splashy, wet fun on this 9 mile hike. And an awesome swimming hole at the bottom of Jacks River Falls is well worth the miles!
Human perks: Hike to one of Georgia’s most spectacular waterfalls and through some of the most remote wilderness in the state.
Dog perks: Hike the Wolfden Loop through wildflower fields, forest and along a waterfall filled stream with plenty of spots for a quick swim and a drink.
Human perks: Just south of Atlanta, FD Roosevelt State Park offers miles of ridgeline hiking and stunning views from rocky overlooks.
Dog perks: Begin with a pre-hike swim in the cool creeks at Three Forks before climbing to the rocky summit of Springer Mountain.
Human perks: Catch gorgeous views at the summit of Springer Mountain after a climb through lush river valley and forest.
Dog perks: High elevation and shady forest usually keep the temps pleasant, even in Georgia’s warm summer months.
Human perks: The summit of Rabun Bald offers stunning 360 degree views of the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina.
Know before you go
Before leashing up and hitting the trail, follow these quick tips to keep your dog’s hike comfortable, safe, and fun:
Hiking with dogs: trail safety & etiquette
Dehydration occurs easily on the trail in Georgia’s warm climate, whether you’re hiking on two legs or four, so pack plenty of water for both you and your dog. A collapsable dishmakes keeping your pup hydrated on the trail easy and convenient.
Leash up! A leash provides safety and a courtesy to other hikers, dogs and wildlife. We love Ruffwear’s 6-foot nylon Slackline Leash: it’s durable, resists tangles thanks to a swivel hook, and has an adjustable handle that can clip to your waist when you need both hands on the trail.
Start small, and work up
Different breeds and fitness levels demand different trail distances and conditions. While our labrador retrievers are great trail and water dogs, we watch them closely to be sure they’re comfortable, capable and injury-free on the trail.
If your dog is new to the trail, start with shorter hikes on easier trails. Work up in trail length and difficulty as your dog becomes more fit, more agile and more trail savvy.
Written by Eric Champlin for Atlanta Trails.
Featured image provided by Atlanta Trails