Amy Potter, visitor center manager at Green Mountain Club (GMC) and avid hiker, thru-hiked the 273-mile Long Trail with her two dogs in 2015. Potter shared her tips for hiking with dogs and some of her favorite places to hike with her dogs in central Vermont. “Hiking with dogs can be fun and rewarding for both hiker and pup,” she said.
“It is important to know the rules and regulations surrounding the trails you will be visiting,” she said. “Dogs are permitted on all trails managed by GMC but be sure to check in with other land managers before heading out with your dog. Your dog should be under control at all times by voice command or by leash. Keep in mind that not all hikers love being approached by dogs, so please respect any requests to leash your dog. Leashes are required in alpine zones, found above 2,500 feet on peaks like Camel’s Hump, Mt. Mansfield and Mt. Abraham.”
“Start slow until you get a sense of what your dog can handle,” she said. “Look for wide, well-maintained trails with plenty of room for your dog and other hikers. Avoid trails that are particularly steep or contain obstacles like ladders, rock scrambles or steep drop-offs. If you’re interested in taking your dog on overnight or long-distance hikes, they need training and preparation just like a person would.”
She also said it’s important to keep in mind the habitats where you’re hiking and how dogs may impact natural resources. “Dogs can trample the fragile alpine plants that live here, so they should stick close by you on the marked trail,” she said. “Practice Leave No Trace and clean up after your dog. If the trail is open to multiple uses, including hunting, take precautions to keep your dog safe.”
Potter suggests these day hikes as starting points for hiking with dogs:
1) Smuggler’s Notch via Route 108, Stowe – EASY
3.0 mi round trip, approximately 400-foot elevation gain. “Closed to vehicle traffic in the winter, Route 108 through Smuggler’s Notch provides a beautiful and easy snowshoe or ski option. Most people choose the Visitor Center at the height of land as their destination, but …….