Pet-Friendly Places To See the Changing Leaves Near Charlotte NC

by | Oct 26, 2022 | Blog & News, Pet Care

If you’re looking for the perfect places to explore this fall with your dog before the onslaught of holiday planning and cold weather hits you, look no further.

The start of October brings a special feeling of renew. There is something magical about the way the world feels in Autumn. The weather is finally cooling off, Halloween Décor is going up, football is on, and the trees are changing. This calm serenity is not only enjoyed by humans, but dogs too!

We’ve rounded up a few of the best dog friendly, safe, fun, and beautiful places to take your pup. The best part, they are all within two hours of Charlotte, NC.

Let’s start exploring!

1. Dupont State Park

Coming in first on the list is Dupont State Park. The perfect place for chasing beautiful waterfalls, framed by ever changing fall leaves. There is an abundance of flowing waterfalls all throughout this 10,400 acres of lush forest. With 27 different trails to choose from, you and your dog will have ample options to choose the best path that works for you. Please keep in mind that this is a state park, which means your dog needs to be on leash at all times, and please remember to be a good human and clean up after them. We’ve made it easy and picked out one of the best hikes that even the most inexperienced hiker will enjoy:

Hooker falls

Hooker Falls is only a short, 6 minute walk from the parking lot to the falls. But we all know how easily a 6 min walk can turn into a whole hour when your dog needs to stop and smell every single rock and leaf. Hooker Falls also has a beautiful observation deck, so make sure you bring your camera and capture you and your dog enjoying the finer things in life.

2. Linn Cove Viaduct

A short two hour drive from Charlotte will land you in arguably the most scenic and breathtaking engineering marvel in the state. This 7 mile picturesque road hugs the face of Grandfather Mountain and swirls you into the falling leaves and views of the valley below. We’re getting real Pocahontas vibes over here. Peak season for viewing the changing leaves is now, so skip work, grab your dog and your hiking boots, and hit the road. We’ve picked out a moderate hike off the route that leads up to a massive overlook that both you and your dog will enjoy.

Rough Ridge

This is a moderately rated hike just under a mile uphill from the parking area. After about 1/3 of the way, you’ll reach a boardwalk that protects the vegetation from feet and paws. But don’t stop there, keep going up about another ½ mile and you’ll reach Rough Ridge Summit. At a breathtaking 4,773 feet, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. Make sure you take pics, we are living vicariously through you.

3. Crowders Mountain Drive

Not a huge hiker? Have an older dog? Don’t worry, we have something perfect for you. This scenic byway does not require you to even get out of your car to see the foliage. Make sure you have a Spotify playlist ready for this one. Only a short 40 min drive west from Charlotte, is the sprawling 5,126 acres of Crowders Mountain State Park. Winding roads, sloping valleys, diamond clear lakes, and colorful leaves frame the view from your car. Make sure you have your windows rolled down so your dog can enjoy it too! If you’re feeling frisky, there are some beautiful hikes you can check out along the way.

Crowders Mountain and The Pinnacle

From the parking lot of Crowders Mountain you will be faced with a decision. To the left takes you to the peak of The Pinnacle Hike. This is about 4 miles long and will take you about 2 hours to complete. To the right is Crowders Mountain, about 6 miles long and will take about 4 hours to complete. Make sure you pack plenty of water for you and your dog. You won’t be disappointed by the views, and your dog won’t be disappointed by anything, really.

Fall Foliage Precautions for Your Pup

Before you grab your Pumpkin Spice Latte and your favorite scarf, make sure you prepare your dog for their adventure, too.

Do your research:

Make sure you check the weather and the condition of the hikes. Some hikes are 4+ miles, and you want to be sure your dog can handle it.

Protect the Paws:

Just like humans, even the most seasoned adventure pup can develop cuts, scrapes, and raw skin from Mother Earth. Always have an emergency kit handy, and maybe invest in a cute pair of dog booties.

Bring treats and water:

This is a no brainer. Having fresh water for your pup available at all times is important, and will help create a better and more positive hiking experience.

Leash your dog:

Probably the most important takeaway from all of this. Most trails and parks require a leash, not only to keep the wildlife safe, but your dog safe from the wildlife. North Carolina is home to black bear and other large animals that can bring harm to your dog. On top of that, it’s respectful to other hikers and other dogs you may encounter on the trail.

And finally….

Clean up after them. ‘nuf said.

Happy Hiking and Happy Fall, Y’all