This author is a paid content writer for Idaho Tourism.
Often when we travel, we leave the comforts of home behind, but for dog-lovers, leaving your four-legged best friend behind simply isn’t an option. Luckily for you, dogs love Idaho and Idaho loves dogs! Many of our cities are canine-friendly with hiking trails, restaurants, and hotels encouraging you to bring your pup. The spring and summer months are especially welcoming, with exciting events, swimming holes, and hikes to keep you and the family busy for days. Check out our list of five cities to visit with your canine – these destinations have a pet-centric culture where nearly everyone owns dogs!
It’s a no-brainer that Boise would be on this list. By mid-March, The City of Trees comes to life and droves of people are trail-running, hiking, and biking with their pups. Visitors can take strolls through parks along the Boise Greenbelt, such as Barber Park, Municipal Park, Julia Davis Park, Ann Morrison Park and Kathryn Albertson Park. The Ridge to Rivers trail system is also a popular draw for those with pets – the majority of Foothills trails are controlled off-leash and easily accessible.
Journey to McCall during the summer and play on the calm waters of Payette Lake. Take a stroll along the beach and let your pup splash in the shallow waters with the kids or venture to Ponderosa State Park, which offers lake access for boating and swimming, biking and hiking trails, and cabin and campsite rentals. McCall has a unique small town vibe – walking and cycling are the primary forms of transportation, and dogs are welcome most everywhere.
Most Idahoans know how special Stanley is, but for those of you coming from out of state, this is one destination you’ll have to put towards the top of your list. Between the Sawtooth Mountains, Redfish Lake, and the Salmon River, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better vacation spot. There are endless miles of trails to explore with your pup, and there’s even a dog beach on Redfish Lake.
4. Coeur d’Alene
Explore Silver Valley on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes with your family. This 72-mile paved path follows the Union Pacific Railroad from Plummer to Mullan and features stunning views and clean mountain air. You can also stroll along the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene, Heyburn State Park, and the Palouse prairie. There are many other dog-friendly trails in the area, including the Marie Creek Trail and the North Idaho Centennial Trail.
5. Sun Valley
Sun Valley’s dog-friendly to-do list is seemingly endless. Travelers who venture here experience first-class hiking trails, mountain biking, hot springs, restaurants, and luxury resorts. Those who frequent the area will tell you, the trip wouldn’t be the same without your furry friend. Get some exercise and fresh air while taking in stunning views of Bald Mountain and the surrounding Wood River Valley. Check out this list of 10 dog-friendly hikes to get your adventures started. Keep in mind, your canine friend is welcome on all hiking trails in the area, although some paths require you to keep them on a leash. For trail maps and info, check out BCRD summer trail info online.
- Anyone who’s been to Idaho knows the weather can change quickly here. Dress appropriately, considering you’ll likely be outside with your pup.
- Bring water and snacks for you and your dog if you plan to venture out on the trails.
- Be sure to pick up after your pup – many trailheads have doggie waste bags for your convenience.
- Make sure you bring a leash no matter which city you visit. Many of trails you visit in each area are actively used by hikers and mountain bikers.
- Prepare your dog for the great outdoors with a tick treatment. Depending on the season, you’ll likely run into these pests so it’s best to be prepared.