7 places you didn’t know you could take your pooch to play

Get out in the West Virginia wilderness, and get a little closer to man’s best friend.

Here are 7 adventures you didn’t know your pooch could enjoy alongside you:

1. Canoeing… the perfect fit for your lethargic Lucky

Throwing your pal in a canoe requires no work on their part, so it’s the perfect fit for aging, physically challenged doggies.

Canoes are large enough to fit yourself, a furry friend and a non-furry friend, plus some gear and snacks (your spoiled pup might request a snack as he sunbathes, of course).

Summersville Lake is the perfect oasis to explore by canoe. Paddle into solitary coves, rest in the shadow of hundred-foot sandstone cliffs and take a dip in the crystal clear waters. The Summersville Lake Retreat has dog-friendly canoe rentals, as well as pet-friendly cabins to cozy up in at the end of the day.

2. Get into downward-facing dog

Dogs + yoga = doga. Yep, it’s a real thing. Believe it or not, doga is becoming popular. Owners and pets bond over a series of breathing, stretches and poses.

Some outdoor yoga classes may be open to a tagalong, but make sure to ask first.

Keep an eye out for special doga events, too. In April, Little Victories Animal Rescue had a donation-based doga event at Studio 8 in Huntington, where you could bring your own pup or borrow one of theirs.

White dog on Appalachian Trail, West Virginia

3. Hit the famous Appalachian Trail

If hitting the Appalachian Trail is on your bucket list, then West Virginia is a great place to start. The 4-mile segment that stretches across the eastern panhandle is rated easy to moderate and it’s fido friendly!

After a scenic hike on the ridge, venture less than a half mile off the trail to stop by The Appalachian Trail Conservancy Headquarters.

Some official AT guidelines for a happy hike: Keep your furry friends on a leash at all times, don’t let your pup stand in springs or other sources of drinking water, and bury waste just like you would your own.

4. Celebrate the dog days of summer at the pool

Something your dog will look forward to all summer long: a dip in the “People Only” pool.

Before the end-of-season-drain in August or September, many pools open their gates to furry friends. Oglebay Park in Wheeling is known for it’s annual “Drool in the Pool,” Dreamland Pool in Huntington has a great “Doggy Dip,” and pups love making waves at the “Dog Splash” in Morgantown’s Marilla Pool.

Check with the pool to see when it’s time to take Daisy swimsuit shopping.

Black lab standing on boulder in West Virginia wilderness

5. Backpack in the Dolly Sods Wilderness

Is your Aussie shepherd running circles around your backyard? We’re positive the 17,371 acre Dolly Sods Wilderness can wear ’em out.

Take your buddy for a real workout in the high Allegheny plateaus, adorned by wind-carved sandstone, grassy meadows, bogs and vistas so big you’ll feel like a couple of flecks of sand.

Backpackers can camp anywhere in Dolly Sods as long as they are 100 yards from the road, so take a few days and cover dozens of miles of marked trails.

Backpacking with a dog takes extra planning. Think about tick treatments, dehydrated dog food, collapsable bowls and some paw protectors (they make adoooorable hiking booties for your buddy, but there’s also protective wax).

The best (and possibly cutest) part? If your pup’s up for the challenge, you can stuff this all in his own doggy-sized saddle pack.

Little dog on a stand-up paddle board (SUP) in West Virginia

6. Balance a board with man’s best friend

One of the hottest outdoor trends is SUP, stand-up paddleboarding. Pretty much anyone can do it (I mean, the boards are so stable you can even do yoga on them!) And paddleboarding with a dog is a great bonding experience, since it requires complete trust to stay afloat. Just be sure to get them a life jacket, too!

There are plenty of great spots in the Mountain State for SUP-ers of all levels. Get some practice solo before throwing Spot on. Start out on flatwater, like the peaceful deep blue waters of Sutton Lake, and make your way up to slow moving water, like the Greenbrier River.

Before you know it, you guys will be showing off your skills surfing Gauley River’s “Perfect Wave.”

 7. 2 wheels, 4 legs

Has your Husky been begging for a good run? Biking alongside your pooch is a great adventure for both human and hound.

The Greenbrier River Trail is a great place to start, with 77 miles of leisurely rail trails covered with finely crushed limestone. Chances for water breaks are endless, as the entire trail follows its namesake river.

There are plenty of more rugged mountain biking trails, too. Make sure to ease your dog in before hitting the big trails. And remember, your canine companion is running barefoot, so protect his paws!

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This post was last updated on March 16, 2022