10 Great Dog Friendly Hikes in New Hampshire
Posted by Brooke Spater on 16th May 2019
Photo by @gusandtug_frenchies on Instagram who live and hike in New Hampshire
Live Free or Hike. Although not exactly New Hampshire’s slogan, perhaps it should be! Countless opportunities exist to hike with your dog by your side in the gorgeous White Mountain range and beyond. Unlike most states, New Hampshire allows dogs in its major forest, the White Mountain National Forest. While in the forest, you must carry a lead no more than 6’ long in case your dog needs to be restrained. Dogs are also allowed in most state parks, though not at picnic areas or beaches. Check this complete list for more detailed information. Below we have shared some of our favorite New Hampshire hikes ranging from easy to difficult.
In a meandering mood? Check out these easier options.
Franconia Falls Trail, Lincoln, NH (White Mountain National Forest)
Pack your picnic basket and before you know it, you and your pooch will be enjoying a tasty lunch on a giant flat rock area with views of the gorgeous Franconia Falls. There is only a 300-foot elevation gain and this one of our favorite easy hikes in NH and it’s great for families, seniors, and less conditioned dogs. It is a wide 6.8 mile trail that runs along the Pemigewasset River. Pack your bathing suit, because on a hot day you’ll want to cool off by coasting down the natural rock water slide into the falls. Dogs are allowed on leash and there is a lot of foot traffic on weekends, though the wide trail makes it easy to manage excited pups. Mountain biking is also permitted.
Beaver Brook Nature Center, Trails & Gardens, Hollis, NH (Southern NH, Nashua)
Live in the Boston area? No need to pack an overnight bag because peace and tranquility can be found just a short trip away. Located close to Nashua, you will find over 35 miles of trails that are relatively flat with a few moderate hills. If you are looking to cool off, there’s a lot of water in this area with ponds, streams, and waterfalls. Love flowers? There are also 12 themed gardens and a wildflower trail to admire. Dogs are allowed on leash.
Lake Massabesic Trail, Auburn, NH (Southern NH, Manchester)
Looking for a leisurely Saturday afternoon hike or that perfect spot for a low-key dog jog? This relatively flat 4-mile hike loops around Lake Massabesic and allows the opportunity to take in the water views and spot a lot of wildlife. Enjoy a snack on the stone walls overlooking the water and see if you spot some sailboats out on the lake. Your pup is allowed on leash but leave his life jacket in the car because he is not allowed in the lake or on its beaches.
Falls in the River Trail, Pittsburgh, NH (Great North Woods)
With stunning midpoint sights, this hike is another favorite. If you’re up for adventuring North almost to the Canadian border, the Falls in the River Trail is a favorite 3.5-mile hike due to its accessibility to all levels and the breathtaking gorge and flume in the middle of the hike. It goes along the Connecticut River for much of the hike and there are openings where you can get down to the river. It’s not uncommon to see a moose, so leashing your pup might be a good idea. If you are on a quest to see a moose, continue on the Moose Alley Trail for another 2 miles to increase your chances of seeing one.
Photo by @gusandtug_frenchies on Instagram who live and hike in New Hampshire.
Looking to up your game? Here are some intermediate options.
Mt. Major and Brook Trail Loop, Alton Bay, NH (Lakes Region)
Did someone say tail-wagging trail party? This is one of the more popular trails we’ve hiked, often filled with what seems like as many dogs as humans. Everyone is there to have a good time, so if your dog has trouble socializing with other pups, it’s best to choose a less traveled trail. Lake Winnipesaukee is arguably one of the prettiest lakes in New England and you’ll enjoy beautiful scenic views on this loop hike. It is 3.7 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 1,148. The rules require dogs to be on a leash, but unfortunately many people do not follow this rule. There are also a few rocky scrambles as you near the top. On the way up, you can take two routes. We recommend the steeper and faster one on the left as the alternate trail is easier to go down with less rocks. Grand finale at the top? You bet. Enjoy hiking along a pretty brook where your pup can get a drink and swim.
Mt. Chocorua, Conway, NH (White Mountain National Forest)
Try saying this mountain’s name 5 times fast! By the time you figure that one out, you and your pup might be well on your way to the summit of this local stunner in Conway, NH. We recommend taking the Champney Brook Trail which offers views that won’t disappoint (be sure to pay close attention, because other routes are more difficult). You and your dog can cool off in the brook or from the mist of the waterfall. Although this route is only a 700-foot elevation gain, it is 8.4 miles long which puts it into the intermediate category. Dogs are allowed on leash.
Arethusa Falls Trails and Frankenstein Cliffs near Bartlett, NH (White Mountain National Forest)
Hike, swim, hike, swim, repeat. Does this sound like the perfect outing for your dog? This is a popular hike due the abundant streams and waterfalls. It is 5 miles round trip with a 1,400-foot elevation gain with stunning views along the way.
What makes it so special is that dogs are welcome to drink the water and enjoy cooling off in the pools at the base of the waterfalls as you hike along. It is recommended to leash your dog due to the popularity of the trail.
Looking for something longer? Here are some options to tackle.
Mt. Cube Trail, Orford, NH (Connecticut River Valley)
Seeking quiet bonding moments on the trail with your pup? Although not as busy as some of the 4,000 footers nearby, it’s a great hike for dogs given less traffic and many beautiful streams and waterfalls. It is a 6.8 mile out and back hike with 2,162 elevation gain. Dogs are allowed off leash.
North Moat Mountain and Diana’s Baths, Conway, NH (White Mountain National Forest)
If you think your pooch is up for a few extra miles, this might be the perfect hike. It’s a long and more difficult hike that is 10.2 miles round trip with a 3,196-foot elevation gain (add 750’ for Diana’s Baths). Be sure your pup is a conditioned and experienced hiker. There is little water on the trail, so be sure to bring plenty along with you. Within the first .6 miles, you can enjoy Diana’s Falls, a popular and sometimes very crowded swimming hole. The good news: dogs are welcome on the trail and in the water.
Mount Osceola, Lincoln, NH (White Mountain National Forest)
If you’re looking to tackle one of New Hampshire’s famed 4,000 footers, this is a great choice. With gorgeous views of the Kancamagus wilderness and abundant wildflowers, this 12.3 mile out and back hike has been described by some as tough on your quads but well worth the effort. There are two ways to the summit. One is the Greeley Pond Trail to the East Osceola Trail, which is easier, but the Greeley Pond Trail is very high use and there’s a major rock scramble to get to the top. Some people with dogs prefer the Tripoli Road approach. This hike has a 5045-foot elevation gain and features 220-degree views. There is a more intermediate/shorter version of this hike that you can do as well.
Do you have a dog-friendly hike in New Hampshire you love? Comment below so we can add it! Do you love to hike with your dog? Check out our round-up of hiking guides by state and region. Before you grab your gear and hit the trail, be sure to check out our Dog Hiking Checklist to make sure you have everything you need.
Brooke Spater runs Social Media Marketing at Kurgo. Among other things, she manages the Kurgo blog and enjoys spending time with her husband, 3 kids, and 90 lb. Goldendoodle named Baxter.
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