Scents along the trail your dog will loooooove

When you hit the trail, it’s sensory overload. The bright shades of green, the uneven roll of the land beneath your hiking boots, the sound of a hawk screeching overhead, the fragrance of freshly blooming rhododendron.

When dogs hit the trail, all of those observations are packed into one sense: smell.

Hiking with man’s best friend provides a smorgasbord of smells, especially in our plant-diverse mountains.

To provide a 5-star scent buffet for man’s best friend, some areas are better than others:
Because of the moisture gradient from river to rim, the New River Gorge area supports an incredible plant diversity.

The 750-acre botanical area at Cranberry Glades is home to an array of unique smells your pup usually can’t get this far south

Dolly Sods’ cooler temperatures give us blueberries, blackberries and huckleberries (all of which your dog can enjoy, too!).

Be on the lookout for super-pungent plants your pup might be drawn to. Let them stop and smell the roses… or just the Trilliums:

Wild ramps with roots, West Virginia

*Note: Your dog will want to sniff these plants, but don’t let him eat them! Some are dangerous.

1. Ramps

Each spring, the Appalachian soil gifts us with these edible green sprouts. These babies are really    pungent— even to the human nose— so Fido is a ramp hunter’s best friend.

2. Skunk cabbage

If a skunk cabbage is bumped or bruised, it releases a meaty smell. The name says it all: this remarkable plant produces its own heat, which helps spread the skunky scent that attracts flies, beetles and other pollinators. These guys will definitely catch the attention of an inquisitive pup, but be careful; they’re poisonous to dogs!

Autumn forest shadows, West Virginia

3. Trilliums

Stinking Benjamin. Wet Dog Wake Robin. Wet Dog Trillium. These are all nicknames for trillium species native to our state.The Trillium erectum, usually found by mountain laurel and rhododendron, is known for smelling just like a wet dog, and Trillium sessile emits a yummy raw beef smell. (But the leaves of trilliums are toxic to pups!)

4. PawPaws

Ah, the good ol’ hillbilly banana. PawPaws, America’s delicious forgotten fruit, are odd little green shapes that taste like a citrus-banana-mango mix.The flowers though? Their description isn’t as pleasant. The maroon blossom is said to smell like rotting meat— which will actually sound enticing to your pup!

Which scents on the mountain trails does your pet love most?

Discover West Furginia > 

This post was last updated on March 16, 2022