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 Pennsylvania or recently adopted a new puppy, here are our picks for the best hiking trails for dogs in the Keystone State.
Wissahickon Valley Park
Location: Valley Green Rd, Philadelphia, PA, US, 19128
Wissahickon Valley Park, located in northwest Philly, has over 50 miles of hiking trails The main feature of this park is the Wissahickon creek and its tributaries. There are designated biking trails as well, so if you’re hiking on those trails, be sure to keep your dog from running in front of bicycles. All dogs must be leased while in the park on a leash no longer than 6 feet. A non-profit called Friends of Wissahickon hosts events throughout the year in the park.
Gettysburg National Military Park
Location: 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA, US, 17325
The Gettysburg National Military Park is where the turning point in the American Civil War was fought. It’s also the location where President Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address. If you’re a dog owner who’s also a history buff, definitely check this out! There are 33 miles of trails where dogs are allowed on leashes. Dotted along the trails, you’ll find signs and monuments recounting significant events and locations of the battle. If you’re planning to visit inside any of the buildings or the national cemetery, someone will have to wait outside on dog duty, as dogs are prohibited indoors.
Presque Isle State Park
Location: 301 Peninsula Dr, Erie, PA, US, 16505
Presque Isle State Park is a peninsula on Lake Erie that boasts the state’s only “seashore” with miles of public beach. There are 11 miles of trail, including a paved trail around the entire peninsula as well as wooded trails and a beachfront to hike. There are several lighthouses to check out on your visit. Dogs are allowed throughout the park, so long as they are leashed. Be weary during high tide; there may be sections of trails closed due to flooding.
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Location: 1400 N Outer Line Dr, King of Prussia, PA, US, 19406
Another must-visit park for dog owners who happen to love history is the Valley Forge National Historical Park. The Continental Army, under the command of then-General George Washington, camped at this location over the winter of 1777-1778. It was here that the army emerged with a sense of national unity to eventually defeat the British and gain independence. There are 35 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. You are permitted to hike with your dog as long as they are leashed. Along your journey, you’ll come across historical markers noting where significant events occurred and where famous leaders stayed during the winter.
Location: Rhawn St &, Holmehurst Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19136
The Pennypack Trail is a Rails-to-Trails Conservancy trail that runs through northeast Philly and Abington Township. There are 16 miles of trails divided among a northern and southern section of the park, and both are worth hiking! You’ll follow an old train track that’s been refurbished as a trail along the Pennypack creek. Along the way, you can see many interesting sights, like where a deadly train crash occurred in 1921. Dogs must be leashed while hiking the multi-use trails.
Northwest Lancaster County River Trail
Location: 551 Vinegar Ferry Rd, Marietta, PA 17547
The Northwest Lancaster County River Trail is situated along the Susquehanna River with multiple entrances around Marietta and four other municipalities. The multi-use trail is 14 miles long and mostly follows the old Pennsylvania Mainline Canal and train tracks. Dogs are permitted as long as they are leashed.
Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center
Location: 835 Jacobsburg Rd, Wind Gap, PA, US, 18091
The Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center is a state park with an 18.5-mile network of trails and a visitor’s center with educational exhibits. Your pooch will have to stay outside, but the trails are dog-friendly as long as they remain on a leash. Hunting is permitted in certain areas of the park and you can train your dog to hunt with you. If you are hiking during hunting season, however, be sure to wear blaze orange clothing.
Newlin Grist Mill
Location: 219 S Cheyney Rd, Glen Mills, PA, US, 19342
The Newlin Grist Mill is a historical park with 8.5 miles of dog-friendly trails to hike with your pup. There are several creeks in this park and, of course, a historical water mill - the namesake of the park. This mill was built in 1703 and ran continuously until 1941. Restored in 1960, the Newlin Grist Mill still works today and is preserved as a historical landmark by the Nicholas Newland Foundation. Dogs hiking the trails around Newlin Grist Mill must be leashed and please avoid wading in the creek, as it could damage the historical mill.
Location: 100 Wildwood Way, Harrisburg, PA, US, 17110
Wildwood Park is a nature center and park located in the state capital of PA, Harrisburg. There is a mix of paved and unpaved trails of various difficulty to fit what you’re looking for. The 5.3 miles of trails wrap around a small lake where waterfowl are often seen. Dogs with a leash are allowed on all trails. The park will host various events throughout the year, including an annual “Wild About Dogs” event perfect to meet other nature-loving dog owners.
Natural Lands Stroud Preserve
Location: 454 N Creek Rd, West Chester, PA, US, 19382
The Stroud Preserve, owned and operated by the nonprofit Natural Lands, is a nature preserve of grassland, farmland, and woodland. It was created in 1990 by the estate of Dr. Morris Stroud for public and scientific use. The Stroud Water Research Center uses the land to study the effects of streams and rivers. There’s a historical 1740’s farmhouse to see and, of course, plenty of hiking available on its 9 miles of trail. Dogs are permitted if they’re on a leash and you may also come across some horseback riders on the trails.
Monocacy Hill Recreation Area
Location: Rte 422 & Hill Rd, Birdsboro, PA, US, 19508
The Monocacy Hill Recreation Area is a wooded park with over 5 miles of trails, all of which are dog-friendly. They are required to be leashed on the trails and there is hunting allowed, giving you the opportunity to train your dog if you’d like. During the hunting season in the park, be sure to wear orange! The trails get rocky at times and proper footwear is recommended.
John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
Location: 8601 Lindbergh Blvd, Philadelphia, PA, US, 19153
The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge is a refuge located right next to the Philadelphia airport. They have more than 10 miles of hiking trails around the preserve, including wheelchair-accessible trails. There is an observation tower overlooking the marshland, some boardwalks across the water, and a visitor’s center. Dogs are permitted on the trails with a leash.
Tobyhanna State Park
Location: 114 Campground Rd, Tobyhanna, PA, US, 18466
Tobyhanna State Park is located in the Poconos in northeastern PA. They have 10 miles of trails with varying difficulty from rugged trails to crushed gravel pathways. You can take your dogs on these trails on a leash and camp with them at the in-park campground. There is also hunting allowed, so you can train your pup off-leash to go hunting.
Lancaster Junction Trail
Location: 99 Champ Blvd, Manheim, PA 17545
The Lancaster Junction Trail is a former railroad rehabilitated into a trail by the non-profit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. This well-shaded trail is about 2.3 miles long and has creek access for your dog to cool off on a hot summer day. Pets are permitted on the trail as long as they are leashed.
Natural Lands Wawa Preserve
Location: 127 Valley Rd, Media, PA, US, 19063
The Wawa Preserve, owned and operated by the non-profit Natural Lands, offers about 6 miles of trails in a variety of environments to hike with your leashed dog. You’ll hike through dense woodlands and sunny meadows filled with milkweed, goldenrod, and little bluestem. This preserve was created in 1973 and expanded in 2012 by the Wood family, who operated a dairy farm in the town of Wawa.
Natural Lands ChesLen Preserve
Location: 1199 Cannery Rd, Coatesville, PA, US, 19320
The ChesLen Preserve, owned and operated by the non-profit Natural Lands, has over 9 miles of trails and is the largest nature preserve open to the public in Chester County. There are many flower-filled meadows and is designated as a “Pennsylvania Wild Plant Sanctuary.” For the kids, there’s a nature playground where they can climb logs, ride a seesaw, and more. Dogs are permitted throughout the park but must be leashed.
Lackawanna River Heritage Trail
Location: 101-199 W Elm St, Scranton, PA 18505
The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail is another trail made from a former train track, refurbished by the non-profit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. The Scranton section of the trail is 6.1 miles long but the whole route is more than 70 miles of trail. There are 7 access points in the Scranton section trail. You can hike this trail with your dogs as long as they’re leashed.
Lebanon Valley Rail-Trail
Location: 31 Valley Rd, Hershey, PA 17033
The Lebanon Valley Rail Trail is an 18-mile stretch of railroad that’s been refurbished by the non-profit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. The trail passes through many amazing towns in PA Dutch country with 10 trailheads to access the trail. There are many historical landmarks from the 18th and 19th centuries close to the trail, so there’s no lack of sites to see along your hike. Dogs can hike with you if they’re on a leash.
Stony Valley Railroad Grade
Location: 2680 Stony Valley Railroad Grade, Dauphin, PA 17018
The Stony Valley Railroad Grade is a former railroad turned into a trail by the non-profit Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. It features almost 20 miles of trails for you to hike with your leashed dog. This trail takes you through state game lands and crosses paths with the Appalachian Trail. Then it ends with the Lebanon Reservoir, which delivers fresh water to the city of Lebanon.
D&L Trail - Lehigh Canal
Location: 134 River St, Bethlehem, PA 18018
The D&L Trail is a former railroad that runs for 142 miles right through the heart of the Lehigh Valley. The Bethlehem section, in particular, is very nice. This scenic trail is right on the water in between the Lehigh River and the Lehigh Canal. On your walk, you can see the old steel stacks. Dogs are permitted on the trail with a leash.