Pet-Friendly Leaf Peeping Destinations
Posted by Jennifer Joyce on 21st September 2016
Probably because we live in New England, this is our favorite time of year. The air is crisp, the scenery is beautiful, and it’s just safer to take our dogs out driving and hiking without fear of dehydration or overheating. Plus, it’s a lot more comfortable to share a bed with Fido when it’s not sweltering out!
One of our favorite things to do with our dogs is hiking and seeing the fall foliage. As we all know, most National Parks are not friendly to dogs. And it’s often difficult to find a pet friendly hotel let alone one that embraces them and makes their stay comfortable and fun too.
We have put together some of our favorite pet-friendly fall foliage destinations that also happen to welcome your pup. Do you have a favorite destination? Tell us in the comments below!
Now, on to the list:
Hudson Valley, New York & the Catskills
In the Hudson Valley of New York are the Catskills which offer many activities friendly to your pup. Catskill Park, which is a group of public and private lands, is open to hikers and their pups. There are hundreds of miles of trails and 35 peaks in the park. Apple picking abounds in the area and most orchards welcome dogs. Bring a picnic or a BBQ and spend the day at Wright Farms or Prospect Hill Orchards. Emerson Resort is not only pet friendly, but they offer Catamount Dog Park with a 6,000 square foot dog run. When booking ask for a Pupgrade, which is a specialty package that includes gourmet dog treats, toy, bowl, and doggy place mat. See this list of the Top Dog Parks in the Hudson Valley if your pup is looking for some friends to play with.
Eastern Sierra, California
The Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway, 150 miles of Route 395 in Eastern California is said to be one of the most scenic drives in California after Route 1 along the coast. With peaks ranging from 5,000 feet to 10,000 feet, the area has many rugged canyons, rushing streams, and a long fall color season. Leaves start to change at the highest elevations in mid-September with lower elevations lasting until mid-November. Mid-October is peak time. Though your dog isn’t welcome at Yosemite, within the area of Mammoth Lake, there are many hiking trails that allow pups. Dogs are allowed on the shuttle bus to Reds Meadow and almost all the Inyo National Forest trails except Bighorn Sheep Habitat areas. Water lovers can swim in Horseshoe Lake if it’s not too chilly! For lodging in the area, the Westin Monache is pet friendly and includes a Westin heavenly dog bed, food bowl and mat, water bowl and dog amenity kit. For a rustic feel, Tamarack Lodge welcomes pets and runs fall specials every year.
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
There are several fall foliage drives in and around Asheville, NC, but if you’re visiting in October, drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway south to US 276 South. This will take you through the Pisgah National Forest and there are many hiking trails in this area. See this list of the Top 10 Dog Friendly Hiking Trails in Blue Ridge. Pets are also welcome on the historic Biltmore Estate grounds, which was the former George Vanderbilt estate. If you want to stay in a historic town & enjoy city life, the ComfortSuites Biltmore in Asheville is offering 15% off their best available rate in their Pet Friendly package. The Lake Lure Inn offers history, ‘dirty-dancing’ cabins, and open arms for your pet.
Acadia National Park, Maine
One of the few pet-friendly national parks, Acadia National Park has over 100 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads that are open to leashed dogs. At the Jordan Pond House within Acadia National Park, you can enjoy refreshments at the outdoor tables on their lawn with your pup or bring a picnic. This is a great place to mountain bike with your dog too. You can bike the carriage roads and they can run alongside you. A drive up Cadillac Mountain is breathtaking for everyone. For off leash hiking and swimming, check out Long Pond near Seal Harbor with miles of trails and a lake for getting wet. The Balance Rock Inn offers pet-friendly rooms overlooking Frenchman’s Bay and right in the bustling town of Bar Harbor. For camping, both Blackwoods & Seawall campgrounds allow dogs. Both are open through October. If you are in the mood to dine with your pup check out these Bar Harbor Dog Friendly Restaurants.
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
There is much to see along the 70-mile Columbia River Highway in Northern Oregon in addition to spectacular fall foliage. Besides the dramatic Columbia River Gorge itself, there are many waterfalls, Mt. Hood, and over 30 historic bridges built in the early 20 th Century. Don’t miss Multnomah Falls, a 630 foot waterfall you can see from the highway. You can also picnic near it or take one of many walks in and around the falls. There are miles upon miles of hiking trails friendly to pets in the many parks & forests along the highway. There are many orchards and wineries in the area too for apple picking or just wandering around. You will have to get off the Columbia River Highway, but Hood River County’s Fruit Loop takes you 35 miles through the valley’s orchards and wineries with Mt. Hood in the background. The Best Western Plus in Hood River offers comfortable accommodations overlooking the Columbia River. For more history and a bit fancier, try the Columbia Gorge Hotel, set atop a waterfall and overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. Both welcome dogs.
There are so many beautiful places to see fall foliage in Vermont we can’t pick just one. Review this list of 20 Scenic Drives in Vermont for Fall for ideas. DogFest on October 8 is a dog festival just for your pup. It’s held at Dog Mountain, a 150 acre dog park set atop a private mountain in St. Johnsbury, VT. Designed by the artist Stephen Huneck & his wife Gwen, now both deceased, the dog park includes trails and ponds as well as Huneck’s art featuring dogs. From crafts to food to brews, Vermont has so many Fall Festivals and most are pet friendly. The Paw House Inn in West Rutland is a Bed & Breakfast that caters to pups & their owners. The complimentary onsite daycare enables you to also go out to restaurants or antique stores that might not welcome your pup. For a quintessential New England getaway, visit the Inn at Weston on the Weston Green. Pets are welcome in all guest rooms with several that have immediate outdoor access. With the highest number of breweries per capita, a beer tour of the state is a fabulous way to also see the leaves. See the Vermont Brewers Association website for a list of breweries. Those with a paw symbol indicate they are dog friendly.
Texas Hill Country
Yes, Texas. Between Austin and San Antonio and out to the west is what is known as Texas Hill Country. With 14,000 square miles, there's a lot to see and high variation in peak color through the season. There is also lots of water with over 80 natural springs and water sources. Located Northwest of San Antonio and in Texas Hill Country, the Lost Maples State Natural Area has 2,000 acres of forest that includes plateau grasslands, limestone canyons, creeks, and forested areas. Dogs on leash are allowed to hike throughout most of the park, but are not allowed in swimming areas. If your dog likes to swim, visit Inks State Lake Park where she can be off leash. In nearby San Marcos, 10/15 marks PetFest, a 5K fun run and celebration to benefit PALS. October is Wine Month for Texas Hill Country Wineries, many that welcome picnics and pets. For pet-friendly lodging, try Fox Fire Log Cabins or Clear Springs Lodging which manages several pet friendly houses. For a more upscale resort experience Lakeway Resort and Spa has views of the lake and full amenities for you and your dog.
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