6 best dog-friendly adventures in WV

If you’re a dog lover, you’ll probably agree that taking Sparky (or Rover, or Fido) with you on a walk in the woods adds so much to the experience. A dog’s romping, ever-curious and excited nature makes even familiar trails seem new again.  

Here are some of the best outdoor destinations to take dogs in West Virginia— though, needless to say, follow all leash laws and trail etiquette, and remember that not everybody likes being charged by an overexcited dog!

1. Ski Whitegrass

With nearly 40 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails, Whitegrass in Davis is one of the best winter sports destinations in West Virginia. And, the private park allows dogs on some of their trails!  After a long day of skiing, when Sparky is exhausted, make sure to check out their amazing organic cafe.

2. Hike Long Point

The New River Gorge’s most famous hike, Endless Wall, has gotten pretty popular since being voted the best National Park trail by USA Today, and sometimes the weekend crowds may be a bit much for dogs. Consider the equally awesome views of Long Point, on the other side of the gorge. An easy 2-3 mile trail will take you to an overlook between the New River and Wolf Creek, with excellent views of the gorge and the massive arch bridge.

If Spot is people-friendly, consider stopping by the outdoor dining at Mackie’s Biergarten (just across from the New River Gorge visitors center) afterward. It’s also easy to find pet-friendly cabins in the area!

3. Hike the Cranberry Glades Wilderness

The Cranberry Wilderness is one of the largest roadless areas east of the Mississippi, with open fields, beautiful rivers and thick forests. One of the more accessible trails of the area is an old railroad grade that follows the splashy, stately Williams River for a dozen miles, through thick stands of trees and ferns. There are plenty of spots for Fido to jump in and cool off in the summer.

4. Surf the Gauley River at the Perfect Wave

What? Surfing in West Virginia? Yes, it exists. At most summer river levels, the Gauley River’s “Perfect Wave” is an excellent beginner spot to try stand-up paddleboard (SUP) surfing. And your dog will love it, too, with plenty of pools to jump in and flat, sunny rocks to lounge on after he’s worn himself out.

Since the surfing is literally only feet from shore, you might even try your hand at getting Rover out on that board (though he may never forgive you)! Rent boards and get directions at the ACE gear shop— which is also a good place to find pet-friendly lodging!

5. Explore Dolly Sods North

At around 12 miles, this is a longer hike, so make sure that Bingo (and you) are in shape and have a lot of energy. Still, if you are up for the beautiful Dolly Sods North loop, you and Rex will be rewarded with wide open meadows for romping around in, and some of the nicest high mountain views in the East.

6. Splash in the Greenbrier River

It’s not all about hiking with some dogs. If Pooch loves water and is able to relax a bit, consider taking him on a river trip. They even make lifejackets for dogs, believe it or not! The Greenbrier has more than 100 miles of flatwater and easy splashy rapids up to Class II through beautiful forests, perfect for putting a dog in that canoe or inflatable kayak.

Or, if you think that Rover might not be much of a boat-dog, you can always take him for a walk or run along the Greenbrier’s excellent rail trail, too.

Where do you take your dog in West Virginia? 

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This post was last updated on July 21, 2020