Take Your Dog on 5 Hikes in Grays Harbor

dog hike grays harbor
Canine friendly hikes are found throughout the region.

hanson motorsThose of us who are dog owners know there are numerous areas around Grays Harbor that allow dogs on trails. We also know that finding the right trail or beach for both you and your dog can be a challenge. What may be an enjoyable day of hiking for you could be extremely uninteresting to your dog and vice versa.  If you are like me, you have your favorite area for your four-legged friend that you return to ad nauseam. Why are we settling for repetition when we have some of the best hiking in the country right in our own backyard?

Looking over the trails in Grays Harbor, it is actually difficult to find many that do not allow dogs. Most of the amazing hikes in Grays Harbor are on National Forest Service land, which are always dog-friendly. While the National Forest Service does have a strict leash law, their trails more than make up to your dog by offering them incredible smells and soft trails.

With so many new dog-friendly areas waiting to be discovered, I picked my Top 5, which total over 36 miles of hiking for you and your best friend.  These five hikes are great for hikers and dogs of all sizes, shapes and colors – from obese Pomeranians looking to get back to their puppy shape to Siberian Huskies needing to work off all of that energy, Grays Harbor has hikes for your pooch that are good for health, heart and soul.

dog hike grays harborJohns River Wildlife Area

Directions: http://goo.gl/maps/yoZsm

Distance: 2.5 Miles Round Trip

Why your dog will love this trail:

Located just 12 miles from Aberdeen, this 1,500 acre wildlife area is home to scents your dog will enjoy year-round. From the smelly saltwater tidal flats to catching brief wisps of other dogs, elk, and rabbits, your dog’s nose will get a workout on this short trail system.  With 2.5 miles of trails, your dogs and legs will get a great workout along the elevated dikes that make the trails. Leashes are required and owners will be fined.

Why you will love this trail:

Aside from being a great, easy walk close to Aberdeen, Johns River Wildlife Area is home to fantastic wildlife viewing, salmon fishing and bird watching. With thousands of shorebirds, birds of prey and even a nesting area for Caspian Terns, bird watchers from around the state migrate and flock to this trail.

While birding here is great, you also have a great opportunity to see deer, elk, black bear, coyotes and occasionally a bobcat. Obviously, while hiking with your dog limits possible wildlife viewing, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife assured us that if you frequent this area, you will see many different animals.

More information on Johns River Wildlife Area can be found here.

Wynoochee Lake Shore Trail

Directions: http://goo.gl/maps/OLw0O

Distance: Up to 16 Miles Round Trip

Why your dog will love this trail:

At 16 miles long, this trail isn’t for dogs that are out of shape. While mostly flat, the distance and somewhat rocky terrain can be rough on the paws, so before heading out on this trail, make sure your dog is ready. Once on the trail, your pooch will enjoy smells of campers, animals and occasionally fish. With areas off trail to explore around and the millions of unique smells that an old growth forest has, your dog will love this hike. With other dogs frequenting this trail, make sure you follow all rules of hiking with dogs, as well as use a leash, as it is required.

Why you will love this trail:

The Wynoochee Lake Shore trail is a loop trail that is 16 miles long and full of amazing scenery. With huge old-growth forests, an excellent view of the lake and quite a bit of isolation just two miles from the start of the trail, this hike is perfect for those dog-owners who want to be alone with their puppy. The trail has 800 feet of elevation gain, but is mostly flat and simple. While the trail is rarely used by mountain bikers, be aware that they may come flying around a corner at any minute. Chances are, if you do this entire loop, you and your four-legged best friend will have it all to yourself.

Get more information by clicking here.

dog hike grays harborFletcher Canyon

Directions: http://goo.gl/maps/5utfH

Distance: 4 Miles Round Trip

Why your dog will love this trail:

While technically Fletcher Canyon is 5 miles outside of Grays Harbor County, your dog won’t know the difference. What your dog will notice is that you have taken it to an area so remote, so primitive and so awesome, your canine pal will be disappointed it can’t see in color. With vibrant rainforest greens, Fletcher Canyon lets your dog smell true wilderness. The trail is rarely visited, making for perfect smelling of animals, old-growth forests and maybe even a Sasquatch.  With numerous creek crossings, this trail is perfect for dogs who love splashing in and drinking out of streams. Leashes are required, but be aware that leashes too long will get tangled in the thick underbrush.

Why you will love this trail:

This trail is about as remote as you can get without hiking for miles. At just four miles long round trip, the isolation along this trail can be quite intense. With views of a luscious rainforest, a deep river canyon and a multitude of reported Bigfoot sightings, hiking to Fletcher Canyon and exploring the region makes for a perfect day. It is sparsely used, so route finding skills and comfort in the wilderness is required. Crossing creeks on fallen cedar makes this trail one of the more fun, short trails in the Quinault Region.

Get complete information here.

Quinault National Recreation Trail System

Directions: http://goo.gl/maps/7ifkG

Distance: Up to 10 Miles Round Trip

Why your dog will love this trail:

While there may only be a few old-growth rainforests your dog gets to enjoy, the Quinault National Recreation Trail System is all your tail-wagger needs. While very few people take their dogs on this trail, the smelling opportunities along this trail system are sure to be a hit. The trail area is frequented by deer, elk, bear and people, making it an aroma-filled masterpiece for your dog. Sure, they might not be able to see the colors of the rainforest, but the smells of the region come alive on this soft, easy to follow trail. Leashes are required, so be safe and follow the rules.

Why you will love this trail:

Considered by many to be the best rainforest in America, the Quinault region has some of the best dog-friendly hiking trails around. The Quinault Trail system doesn’t just weave through towering cedars and fir trees; it also allows you to walk along deep, fern-laden gorges, tumbling waterfalls and old-growth forests untouched by man. Well-maintained and well-marked, taking a day to explore these trails with or without your dog will be memorable.

Click here for more details.

dog hike grays harborDamon Point

Directions: http://goo.gl/maps/Rog42

Distance: 4 Miles Round Trip

Why your dog will love this trail:

If every dog loves a day at the beach, then dogs view Damon Point as the ultimate beach getaway. With water on three sides of this peninsula that juts off of Ocean Shores directly into Grays Harbor, the Damon Point hike may just cause your dog’s nose to overdose on awesome smells. While the smells of the frequently seen deer, shorebirds, other dogs and humans are great, the true awesomeness for your puppy will be the smells of the shore. With the possibility of a dead fish washing ashore, as well as the years of scents each piece of driftwood accumulates, Damon Point is awesome. Miles of wide open beach also makes running, playing fetch and even swimming a great day trip for your dog. Please keep your dog on a leash in the area, as it is a nesting ground for numerous bird species, as well as a winter home to snowy owls. Fines will be given to those who violate this rule and get their dogs or themselves too close to the birds.

Why you will love this trail:

While your dog might overdose on amazing smells, you will also have a great time at Damon Point. In the winter, snowy owls are commonly seen, as are numerous other migratory birds. On stormy days, Damon Point is great for beach-combing, with shells and agates commonly found and glass bottles and floats occasionally discovered. Whales can also be seen from Damon Point, as can Mount Rainier, the Olympic Mountains and all of Grays Harbor. Hiking here alone or with your dog makes for a great hike any day of the year.


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