The Best Ski Resorts for Hiking with Dogs

Newsroom Summer Mountain Getaways The Best Ski Resorts for Hiking with Dogs

Summer is peak hiking season. While ski resorts are of course known for their ski terrain, once summer arrives, many resorts make for fun hiking destinations. Your favorite glades and ski runs become great hiking trails once the snow has melted. What’s more, many ski resorts welcome dogs on their trails. Though you may not be able to cruise ski runs with your dog in the winter, you can hit many ski resort hiking trails with your dog in the summer, as ski areas across America welcome dogs to enjoy their trails and take in the views. Cap it all off with a post-hike patio beer with your dog in tow.

Below, we’ve highlighted a few of the best ski resorts in America to go hiking with your dog at.

Stowe Mountain, Vermont 

Stowe is home to the highest peak in Vermont, Mt. Mansfield, which makes for one of New England’s best hiking destinations. However, with an elevation of 4,395’, Mt. Mansfield is no walk in the park for pets or their owners. Yet the views are worth it. Just make sure you keep your dogs leashed, which is particularly important in the alpine zone near the summit, where the plant life is particularly fragile. Sunset Ridge Trail is a steep three-mile hike that takes you right to the summit for stellar views. If you don’t want to commit to the full hike up, dogs are permitted on the Stowe Gondola during the summer and fall. At the top of the gondola, hikers can access the Cliff Trail, which follows parts of the exposed summit and provide excellent views of the Green Mountains. 

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poodle standing on rocky summit in Stowe, Vermont

You’ll also find tons of dog-friendly trails and paths in and around Stowe, including Stowe Recreation Path, a 5.3-mile paved public path that welcomes dogs. After a long day of hiking, head to any number of great Stowe restaurants and bars with your pup. Dogs are welcome on the patios of Idletyme Brewery, the Backyard, the Blue Donkey, and the famous Von Trapp Brewery and Bierhall. The Lodge at Spruce Peak is also dog-friendly if you’re making a weekend getaway out of it.

Wachusett Mountain, Massachusetts 

Wachusett Mountain State Reservation is dog-friendly across the board. Both the trails accessible from the ski resort and those spread across the 3,000-acre public land are generally dog-friendly for leashed dogs. Wachusett Mountain has about 17 miles of hiking trails for a variety of different types of hikers and their furry companions. You can access the popular Old Indian Trail to the Summit Trailhead from Wachusett Mountain’s parking lot. This four-mile, medium-difficulty hike begins at the Old Indian Trail and meanders up to the summit, which is at 2,006 feet tall. At the summit, you’ll find an observation tower and sweeping views of the region. You may even catch a glimpse of Boston.

For an easier hike, you can also take the Balance Rock Trail to view the rock structure that the trail is named for. This 0.7-mile out-and-back trail is perfect for beginner hikers or families with small children. 

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Aerial of Wachusett Mountain during the summer
©Wachusett Mountain

Sunday River, Maine 

Sunday River is a great dog-friendly getaway in Maine. The Chondola at South Ridge Lodge is a pet-friendly ride up the mountain for those who can remain on a leash. Once off the lift, you can access the summit of Spruce Peak via the Spruce Cliffs. While it’s a more strenuous hike route with steep climbs, it should be well suited for well-trained, active dogs. You can also choose to hike down from the Chondola via the more relaxed 1.7-mile Adventure Trail. If you want to forego riding the lifts, you can hike the South Ridge Loop, a 1.5-mile loop around the mid-level area of South Ridge. This area of the mountain is one of the best for pets.

The Millbrook Tavern and The Bethel Sugar Shack are great options for post-hiking sustenance in the nearby town of Bethel. 

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Two dogs on a hiking trail near Sunday River in Maine
©Sunday River

Loon Mountain, New Hampshire

Loon is a prime location to take your pup if you’re exploring New England in the summer. Dogs are welcome on the resort’s gondola, which will take you 1.3 miles up to the summit of the mountain. Dogs are welcome to hike down the ski trails with you but must remain off the mountain biking trails. Bear Claw to Brookway is a perfect intermediate hike down the mountain. If you get to the top and want to bag one more peak, head up the steeper Sunset Loop to North Peak, at 3,050 feet, for excellent views of the White Mountains. After hiking around the resort, you and your pup can head into town for a patio lunch at White Mountain Bagel Co. or Gypsy Cafe. 

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Aerial of Loon Mountain in the summer
©Loon Mountain

Snowbasin, Utah

Utah ski resorts can’t quite welcome pets like other destinations. The Cottonwood Canyons are protected watershed areas that provide water to Salt Lake City and do not allow pets. However, during the summer months, dogs are welcome at Snowbasin Resort. Pups on leashes are welcome on the Needles Gondola. From there, you can hike up to the summit of Mt. Ogden via the Needles Trail. This four-mile out and back is a great opportunity to get some exercise and take in the views of the Wasatch. Afterward, you can hike or take the gondola back down. 

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Couple hiking on a summer day at Snowbird Resort in Utah

In Ogden, there is a lovely two-acre dog park for those who don’t want to hike or who want to give their dog a break in the shade. Ogden River Brewing is a good spot to take a load off on the dog-friendly patio with a classic pub menu and a popular weekend brunch.

Northstar, California 

Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America, is a prime spot to travel with your dog. It’s home to a number of dog-friendly ski resorts, including Northstar California, where dogs can enjoy the scenic ride up the Big Springs Gondola to 6,850 feet. Here, guests can choose from a number of different trails. The Tryumph Trail is a relatively easy-going hike to Sawmill Lake, which is a great hike for taking a picnic. More adventurous hikers can continue on the three-mile Carnelian Bay Trail down to Lake Tahoe. This easier but longer trail intersects the popular Tahoe Rim Trail for hiking and biking. All told, the Tahoe Rim Trail is 165 miles, most of which is available for dogs.

While most of Northstar’s hikes are accessed via the Big Spring Gondola, guests can also hike up the Village Run Trail to access these hikes and the Big Springs mid-mountain lodge. 

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Young child raising their arms on a hike overlooking Northstar California
©Jack Affleck/Vail Resorts

Breckenridge, Colorado

Both the town of Breckenridge and Breckenridge Ski Resort welcome dogs. Breckenridge Ski Resort has tons of hiking trails suited for you and your dog, including the half-mile Southside Trail, the Sawmill Trail at the Sawmill Reservoir, and the Moonstone and Sunbeam Trails. Sawmill Reservoir Trail is an easy mile-and-a-half loop that is accessible and approachable and brings you to a beautiful 10-acre lake. Moonstone Trail can be done as an easy half-mile out-and-back or you can turn it into a more adventurous loop by connecting it to the Crater Park Trail and the Sunbeam Trail. Dogs are also welcome on leash on certain bike paths at the resort. Bonus: The Breckenridge gondola is free and pet-friendly. Dogs are welcome to explore off the base of the gondola on Peaks 7 and 8. 

All told, Breckenridge is home to hundreds of dog-friendly trails. Breckenridge Ski Resort’s website has a dog-friendly guide that’s a good starting place with trail recommendations, dog-friendly restaurants, dog-friendly hotels, and more.

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Person looking through binoculars while on a hike near Breckenridge, Colorado with dog

Telluride, Colorado 

Telluride’s gondola, like Breckenridge, is also dog-friendly, connecting the town of Telluride with Mountain Village. Much of Telluride Ski Resort’s hiking trails are accessed from Telluride Station. Telluride Trail (2.4 miles) and the See Forever Trail (5 miles) are a couple of the more popular, moderate trails, both of which consist of more than 1,500 feet of elevation gain. In town you can hike the San Miguel River Trail, which is a six-mile out-and-back walking path that follows the river through the length of the town. Along the way explore the swimming holes to cool off. Afterward, head over to the Smuggler Union Brewery and Restaurant for a dog-friendly patio. 

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Before you take your four-legged friends anywhere, be sure to read up on the resort’s pet policies.

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