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Olympic Peninsula, Wa

Every Dog Has its Day: Dog Friendly Hikes on the Olympic Peninsula

Every day, well, more like once a week, I get a phone call or an email with a blog request. It is always the same question, time after time. However, there is no reference in their questions to Cyndi Lauper, in fact, their questioning has gone to the dogs. The question is simple and is always identical; “Where can I take my dog on a hike in the Olympic Peninsula!?!?!?!?!?!” and is usually followed with “Why does the Olympic National Park hate dogs?”

Millie, enjoying the snow almost as much as me!
As a dog owner myself, I always feel horrible leaving my lab at home while I go romp around in the woods. She watches me leave, knowing that her owner is about to live the life that she should be living.  Luckily, after some research and phone calls, I have been able to put together a list of places that not only are dog friendly, but are also beautiful, unique and above all, amazing examples of the vast ecosystem of the Olympic Peninsula.
The following is not all of the dog friendly trails, but a selection that will give you and your dog the full array of what the Olympic Peninsula has to offer. From high alpine climbs, to beaches and forests, you both will be panting and wagging your tail for joy. (Editor’s note: If you have a tail, first of all awesome, and second, you may want to see a doctor)

1) Quinault National Recreation Trail System (All Breeds)
                Located along the South Shore Road of Lake Quinault, this system of trails gives you and your pup access to the rainforest without breaking federal laws. The Quinault area gives you over 10 miles of hiking, ranging from walks along the lake, to seeing giant cedar and spruce trees and even a few waterfalls. Just 2 hours from Olympia, this is a fantastic day trip for you and your four legged friend! With so many smells, trees and miles of trails, you and your dog will have all of your senses reward!
Directions: Click Here
Great Map of trail system!

Why I like this area:
– Different Hikes for different Moods
– Close to a city
– Beautiful Year round
– View of Mountains, lakes waterfalls and some of the largest trees in the world!Why my dog likes this area:
– Smells
– Easy trails
– Trees
– Lots of water to drink on trails1A) !!!!!!!!!!!!!Extra side trip: Fletcher Canyon !!!!!!!!!!! 
2) Tubal Cain Mine Meadows & Buckhorn Lake (Large Breeds)
                At 14 total miles, this round trip hike can long, but is totally worth it. With rhododendrons along the trail, this is a spring time must, as your sense of smell, and your dogs, will give you the feeling that you are walking in the most beautiful French Perfume shop in the world. With numerous animal species in the area, make sure you are following all precautions, are the area does have mountain lions and supposedly bobcats. At just under 2000ft elevation, this won’t be too exhausting and is a great day for larger breeds of dogs!

                                   Why I like this area
o   Not crowded
o   Great smells
o   Not too far from a major city/food or water
                     Why my dog likes it
o   Good Smells
o   Lots of trees
o   Not too many other dogs
o   Time outdoors
– Access to water!
Directions: Click Here
Damon Point

Damon Point

About Damon Point/Point Brown: Located on the southernmost point of Ocean Shores, the collection of sand forms a spit that not only faces the Ocean, but also the interior of Grays Harbor. On a sunny day from Damon Point, one can see the Olympic Mountains, the Pacific Ocean, Satsop Nuclear Power Plant, and Mt. Rainier. After a storm, the beach is prime for collecting shells, agates, floats and the occasional glass ball. In the winter, this area is a hotbed for Snowy Owls and other migratory birds, making it a birders heaven.
4) Mt. Ellinor- See Link for information and directions

While technically not allowed, dogs frequent Mt Ellinor almost as much as people. On a summer day, the trail is packed with creatures big and small, all struggling to get up this beast of a climb. While I think this is good for some dogs, be aware that I have seen more than my fair share of people having to carry down their furry friends. With few water sources in the summer, make sure you pack enough for you and your pet!! Also, Mountain Goats are common and can be aggressive. Be advised.*If there is snow on the trail, use good judgment…Don’t me a jerk and force your dog to glissade. That is animal abuse!!!!Why I like this area:
– Easy to get to from Olympia, Seattle and Bremerton.
– Amazing views year round
– Tough, but rewarding
Why My dog likes this area:
– A combination of trees and high alpine trails
– Smells from Mountain Goats, other dogs and people
– Snow packs and mud!
4A) !!!  Extra Side Trip: Mt Rose!!!!!!! http://www.summitpost.org/mount-rose/152716_
5) Ruby Beach (All Breeds)

Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach is one of the few places in the country where a dog is allowed in a National park trail. However, be aware that this place is crowded year round, and while many people do not bring dogs, there is plenty of wildlife along the shore that may get spooked easily. From seals to baby bald eagles and even otters, your dog needs to be on a leash at all times! Drinking water is also a problem, but since the parking lot is near the beach, you don’t need to lug it around when you or your dog gets thirsty!

Why I like this area:
– A beautiful drive along the Washington Coast and through the Rain Forest.
– Birding is always amazing, and sometimes the tide pools are full of creatures!
– Tie this with the Lake Quinault Area and it makes an amazing day!

Why my dog likes this area:
– The smell of the ocean
– Endless stretches of beach to run on
– Dogs and people
– Strange things in the tide pool to be scared of

6) Murhut Falls (Good All Breeds)

Murhut Falls

 This short trail is perfect for an afternoon/evening getaway from the Olympia area and allows for a magnificent view of a double tiered waterfall. It is wide, easy to navigate and best of all, just over a mile! The main problem will be getting your dog down to the river area, but only if they are scared of going down dirt slopes to rushing water. This is typically empty and remote enough to have a good picnic with your best friend! It is also good for families, so click the link below and have a blast!

Why I like this area:
– Close to Olympia
– An Incredible beautiful waterfall
– Usually not too crowded
-Open all year

Why my dog likes this area:
– Trees
– Water
– Happy Owner

 Don’t get me wrong, I love pet policies in the Olympic Peninsula and I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me, but setting up a few more dog friendly hikes in the area would be amazing and helpful. Remember to clean up after your dog, bring them food and water and keep them on a leash when posted! Check out these listed dog friendly hikes and tell us what your dog’s favorite one is!
Until next time, have a good time and keep your dog happy!!!
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