Dog-friendly hiking trails are an excellent way to exercise your puppy while exercising yourself. Your puppy gets to enjoy all the smells found on the trail and you get to enjoy being surrounded by nature. Not all hiking trails welcome dogs and many that do restrict dogs to on-leash hiking. Before taking your dog on a hike, be sure to check the park rules to understand what you can and cannot do with your pup.
If you are new to Ohio or recently adopted a new puppy, here are our picks for the best hiking trails for dogs in the Buckeye State.
Sharon Woods Park
Located at: 11450 Lebanon Road Sharonville, OH 45241
Sharon Woods Park is a lovely park to the north of Cincinnati with plenty of trail to hike with your leashed dog. The park features a 2.6-mile paved multi-purpose trail around the lake, a 1.0-mile fitness trail, and a 0.7-mile Gorge nature trail. There are doggy water stations sprinkled throughout the trails for your pooch to recharge during a hike. There are plenty of activities for the rest of the family, too, including a playground, museum, and snack bar. Your furry friend will have to stay within the designated pet-friendly areas, however.
Hueston Woods State Park
Located at: 6301 Park Office Rd, College Corner, OH, US, 45003
Hueston Woods State Park is a state park with a large lake and 12 miles of dog-friendly, wooded trails. After your hike, your dog can cool off in the lake at the dog-friendly beach area. Another unique feature of Hueston Woods is its abundance of marine fossils found in the lake’s tributaries. Your pooch might encounter some equestrian friends on the trails with them, as there’s horseback riding available to the public as well.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Located at: 1550 Boston Mills Rd, Peninsula, OH, US, 44262
Located along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a huge national park with over 100 miles of dog-friendly trails. The only restriction is that they must be leashed on a 6-foot or smaller leash. We recommend the 7.1 miles of the Buckeye Trail. This steep, windy trail will take you to many scenic vistas and tire out your pooch for a nap after your adventure.
Mosquito Lake State Park
Located at: 1439 Wilson Sharpsville Rd, Cortland, OH, US, 44410
The 2,500-acre Mosquito Lake State Park features plenty of lovely dog-friendly hiking trails. There is also hunting and fishing available throughout if you’re into sporting with your dog. One of the best dog parks in Ohio is also within the state park, Cooperation Station, which you can check out after your hike. If you enjoy camping, dogs are also allowed in all campsites.
East Harbor State Park
Located at: 1169 N Buck Rd, Marblehead, OH, US, 43440
East Harbor State Park features more than 10 miles of trails along the shoreline of Lake Erie. Your pups can walk along the beaches with you but are not permitted to swim. Waterfowl hunting is also available, if you train your dogs to hunt. You are able to reserve dog-friendly campsites if you’d like to stay the night.
Smale Riverfront Park
Located at: West Mehring Way, Cincinnati, OH, US, 45202
If you live in Cincinnati and are looking for a trail in the city, Smale Riverfront Park is a great option! Nestled along the Ohio River, the park trail has plenty of dog water fountains and poop cleanup stations for your convenience. If you’re looking for a longer hike, the park connects to the Ohio River Trail on either end.
Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail
Located at: 4524 E 49th St, Cleveland, OH 44125
The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is one of the longest dog-friendly trails in Ohio, measuring 101 miles long. It runs from the Canal Basin Park in Cleveland to the Canal Lands Park in New Philadelphia. You’ll enjoy any section of the trail with your pooch, but we recommend the section within the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation.
Rocky River Reservation
Located at: 24000 Valley Pkwy, North Olmsted, OH, US, 44070
The dog-friendly Rocky River Reservation trails wind through many beautiful sites, including shale cliffs, meadows, wetlands, and floodplain forests. You’ll need to keep your pooch leashed as there is plenty of wildlife around that they might chase after. There is horseback riding also available on some of the trails, so your dog might meet some friends during your hike.
Hocking Hills State Park
Located at: 19852 State Route 664 S, Logan, OH, US, 43138
Hocking Hills State Park features plenty of hiking opportunities with your pup. You’ll see many natural features along the way, like cliffs, gorges, caves, and waterfalls. The best route in the park is along the Buckeye Trail from the Upper Falls to the Lower Falls. If you’re there late at night, you and your dog can stargaze at the John Glenn Astronomy Park within the state park.
Gallant Woods Park
Located at: 2151 Buttermilk Hill Rd, Delaware, OH, US, 43015
Your leashed pup can hike with you throughout the Gallant Woods Park outside of Delaware, OH. This nature preserve has a couple of gravel trails with little elevation, making it great for people with handicaps or who otherwise find dirt trails difficult.
Swan Creek Metropark
Located at: 4659 Airport Hwy, Toledo, OH, US, 43614
The Swan Creek Metropark is an excellent preserve right within the city with plenty of dog-friendly trails along the creek. One unique feature of this park is its swinging bridge across Swan Creek. Most trails here are well-paved and flat, making them a great option for people with disabilities or who would otherwise have a difficult time on dirt trails.
Marblehead Lighthouse State Park
Located at: 110 Lighthouse Dr, Marblehead, OH, US, 43440
Marblehead Lighthouse State Park offers beautiful views of Lake Erie and the namesake Marblehead Lighthouse along its dog-friendly trails. While your pooch can’t visit the lighthouse museum with you, there’s plenty to see outdoors. Your dog can cool off after your hike at the dog-friendly beach, too!
Slippery Elm Trail
Located at: 515 Sand Ridge Rd, Bowling Green, OH 43402
The Slippery Elm Trail in Bowling Green is a former railroad turned into a hiking trail with the help of the non-profit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. It’s paved and well-shaded, making it a great destination for handicapped people.
Chippewa Inlet Trail
Located at: 6335 Wedgewood Road Medina, OH 44256
The Chippewa Inlet Trail in Medina is another former railroad turned into a hiking trail with the help of the non-profit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Along the path are groves of buckeyes and other wonderful foliage preserved in the adjacent Buckeye Woods Park. Some sections of the trail are paved while others are aggregate.
Lester Rail Trail
Located at: 3654 Lester Road Medina, OH 44256
Yet another rail trail in Medina is the Lester Rail Trail. This trail was also created by the non-profit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. If you have children, they’ll enjoy the miniature train rides available on select dates throughout the year. Most of the trail is through flat farmland and wetlands, where you’ll see some rare species of flowers.
Sippo Valley Trail
Located at: 2069 Skyland Ave NW, Massillon, OH 44647
The Sippo Valley Trail is also a rail trail created in part by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Your dogs are welcome on a leash along the entire 10-mile trail. The trail is asphalt or limestone and relatively flat with wooden bridges crossing the West Sippo Creek at several places. The Sippo Valley Trail connects to the Towpath Trail mentioned above if you’d like to continue your adventure with your pup along more trails!
Zoar Valley Trail
Located at: 799 Park Ave SE, Bolivar, OH, US, 44612
The Zoar Valley Trail is a historic, 20-mile trail for you and your dog to explore. It is managed by the Camp Tuscazoar Foundation, where you can make donations or book a reservation to support the upkeep of the trail. Along the route, you’ll come across the Dover Dam, decommissioned bridges, and other interesting historical sites.
National Road Bikeway
Located at: Reservoir Rd, St. Clairsville, OH, US, 43950
The National Road Bikeway is the only rail trail in Ohio to feature a tunnel. This rail trail was also created with the help of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. The restored tunnel is 532 feet long and 40 feet high with special lights that maintain a cave-like atmosphere. It is an enjoyable and unique experience to hike with your dog along this trail.
Located at: 4949 Tealtown Rd, Milford, OH, US, 45150
Rowe Woods is an excellent nature preserve that features over 14 miles of dog-friendly hiking along trails of various difficulty. The woods are financed by memberships to the Cincinnati Nature Center. You’ll need a membership and to register your dogs before taking them to the park. If you’re traveling from out of town, you can pay an entry fee for just a day of visiting.
Located at: 26400 OH-56, South Bloomingville, OH 43152
Ash Cave, located within Hocking Hills State Park, offers some great hiking opportunities and an iconic location to explore. There are several short but somewhat challenging trails in the park for those looking for exercise and an easier low trail that is handicap accessible. The namesake cave is a huge 700-foot-wide horseshoe-shaped cave with a waterfall cascading down 90 feet to a small pool.