Top 10 Pet-friendly Hiking Trails in Vancouver

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Top 10 Pet-friendly Hiking Trails in Vancouver

Vancouver’s pristine nature and lush landscapes are not just a utopia for outdoor enthusiasts; they are a canine’s hiking haven. Finding a trail that caters to your furry companion is as important as picking a comfortable pair of hiking boots for yourself. Top 10 Pet-friendly Hiking Trails in Vancouver is not just a list – it’s the gateway to bonding experiences and tail-wagging adventures in one of the world’s most livable cities. Now, gather your leash, snacks, and water bottle as we unleash the routes that guarantee paw-prints alongside your footprints.

Why Vancouver is Perfect for Pet-Friendly Hiking

The scenic city of Vancouver is nestled between mountain ranges and the expansive Pacific Ocean, presenting a cornucopia of outdoor opportunities that favour both two and four-legged hikers. Owners of furry friends cherish this city for its inclusive attitude toward pets and its abundance of trails that welcome dogs with open paws. Vancouver stands out as the perfect playground for pet-friendly hiking, offering an array of trails ranging from leisurely seaside strolls to invigorating forest climbs. The relevance of pet-friendly trails in this urban locale is owed to the city’s collective embrace of nature’s proximity and the well-ingrained culture of pet ownership.

Fun Fact: Did you know that Vancouver is home to almost 40 designated off-leash areas spread across beaches, parks, and trails? That’s a lot of territory for your dog to roam free!

Vancouverites are known for their outdoor-centric lifestyle, and this trait extends to their pets. The city and its surrounding areas boast dozens of trails designed to accommodate our companions safely and enjoyably. From the relaxing ambiance of Stanley Park‘s seawall to the challenging landscapes of the North Shore mountains, Vancouver’s hiking scene is tailored for a broad spectrum of needs and preferences. Moreover, the city’s temperate climate allows for year-round outdoor activities, keeping tails in motion regardless of the season.

Freedom and accessibility are key tenets fostered within this community, underscored by copious off-leash parks and free-roam areas. Off-leash trails are not only spaces for pets to explore unrestrictedly, but they also serve as social hubs where they and their owners can foster a sense of camaraderie. Vancouver’s established ‘petwork’ of trails caters to the shared appreciation of the outdoors, carving out opportunities for exercised pups and socialized souls alike.

How to Choose a Pet-Friendly Hike

Selecting the perfect hiking trail in Vancouver for you and your furry best friend involves more than merely finding a beautiful path. It requires considering factors that ensure both safety and enjoyment. One must balance the level of adventure sought with the well-being of their pet, evaluating both the challenge presented by the trail and the amenities available.

Assessing Your Pet’s Hiking Ability

Not all dogs are created equal when it comes to physical endurance and agility. Some breeds are built for long-distance runs on rugged terrain, while others prefer a leisurely walk or may have limitations due to age or health. Before embarking on a hike, honestly assess your pet’s fitness level, considering their breed characteristics, current health status, and past hiking experiences.

Understanding Trail Regulations for Pets

Vancouver’s trails each have their own set of rules regarding pets. While some welcome off-leash exploration, others require dogs to be leashed at all times. Typical regulations include areas where dogs are prohibited, such as environmentally sensitive zones or wildlife habitats. You’ll also want to be aware of whether trails have restrictions during certain times of the year, which can affect mating seasons or other ecological concerns.

Checking for Pet Amenities on Trails

The availability of amenities such as water fountains, waste disposal stations, and shaded areas can greatly enhance the hiking experience for both you and your pet. Trails that provide these convenience features signal a welcoming attitude towards pets and their owners, which can lead to a more pleasant and carefree adventure. Always check for posted information or consult online resources, such as regional park websites, to know what amenities you can expect along the trail.

Related resource: Checklist for a Successful Pet-friendly Hike in Vancouver

When selecting a pet-friendly hike, prioritize dialogue with fellow pet owners who have first-hand knowledge. They can offer valuable insights and can alert you to potential hazards that aren’t evident through official channels. Lastly, weigh the collective advice against your own intuition about your pet’s needs and abilities. Safety is paramount—never place the thrill of an adventure above the welfare of your loyal companion.

Pro Tip: Consider a dynamic harness for your dog on hikes to provide extra control and comfort. Ensure it’s properly fitted and suitable for your dog’s size and the terrain you’ll be tackling. Vancouver specialty pet stores and many online retailers offer a variety of options.

Top 10 Pet-Friendly Hiking Trails

Trail #1: Capilano Pacific Trail

Capilano Pacific Trail

The gravel trail alongside the lower section of the Capilano River. Image Credit: Vancouver Trails

Best for: Waterside Amblers – Dogs with a fondness for tranquil river sounds and cool forest canopies.

The Capilano Pacific Trail is a gem for dog owners in Vancouver, offering a scenic corridor that takes you from the rushing waters of the Capilano River up to the grandeur of Cleveland Dam. This 7.5km trail meanders through rich, coastal rainforest and provides astonishing views of the Capilano Canyon. A gentle incline allows for leashed pups of all sizes and shapes to enjoy a comfortable hike alongside their owners without the strain of steep climbs.

As you and your furry friend venture through varied landscapes, ranging from urban greenspaces in West Vancouver to lush, towering evergreens surrounding the river, the Capilano Pacific Trail offers a meditative escape from city life. The trail is well-maintained, which makes it ideal for dog owners who want to indulge in nature without the worry of challenging terrain that might be daunting for some pets.

Pets are typically required to be leashed on this trail, which helps preserve the serene ambience and ensures respect for fellow hikers and the local wildlife. The trail features clear signage directing pet owners to the appropriate paths and amenities, such as waste disposal stations and occasional water fountains, which are a boon during those warmer days.

  • Distance: 7.5km
  • Round-Trip: 15km
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Elevation Gain: Gentle incline
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Amenities: Waste disposal, benches, water fountains in select areas
  • Access Point: Park Royal in West Vancouver or Cleveland Dam in North Vancouver
  • Parking: Available at both access points

Trail #2: Pacific Spirit Regional Park

Pacific Spirit Regional Park

A wooden boardwalk crosses through an ecologically sensitive area in Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Image Credit: Vancouver Trails

Best for: Forest Frolickers – Canine adventurers who thrive on serious woodland wandering.

Pacific Spirit Regional Park is an urban oasis, with over 75 kilometres of dog-friendly trails to explore. The park provides a network of routes that cater to all levels, making it ideal for energetic breeds ready to cover some distance or older dogs in for a leisurely pace. This tapestry of trails is enveloped by a lush temperate rainforest, offering a cool retreat even on hotter days.

Several trails within Pacific Spirit Regional Park permit off-leash exploration; however, some sensitive habitats require dogs to be on a leash, so pay attention to the signs. Vast open spaces and wide trails await, giving your pet the freedom to sniff and explore every fern and fallen log. Few urban locales offer such an immersion in nature that feels both a world away and yet so close to the city.

Among the cherished trails is the Camosun Bog, a unique ecosystem where your leashed dog can tiptoe along boardwalks, taking in the sights without impacting the delicate flora. The trails are well-marked and the park offers maps at several points to keep you oriented during your explorations.

  • Distance: Varies, over 75km of trails
  • Round-Trip: 10km
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Elevation Gain: Varies, mostly level with some gentle slopes
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Amenities: Waste disposal stations, benches, informative signage
  • Access Point: Multiple entrances around the park perimeter
  • Parking: Street parking available near entrances

Trail #3: Burnaby Mountain Trails

Burnaby Mountain

A wooden board crosses a log on the Dead Moped Trail on Burnaby Mountain. Image Credit: Vancouver Trails

Best for: Summit Seekers – Dogs and owners seeking rewarding ascents and memorable mountaintop moments.

Burnaby Mountain, the recreational heart of Burnaby, offers a diverse array of trails suitable for dog-walkers looking to combine stunning vistas with a good workout. The ascent to the summit of Burnaby Mountain is refreshingly balanced, offering periods of elevation interspersed with flatter sections where you and your pet can catch your breath while enjoying the surrounding beauty. At the top, a panoramic scene of the Burrard Inlet and the Vancouver skyline is your well-earned treat.

For your tail-wagging companion, the myriad of sensory experiences is captivating – from the scent of cedar and fir trees to the curious chatter of forest critters. The multi-use trails are frequented by walkers, hikers, joggers, and cyclists alike, so a leashed and well-behaved pet is a must to ensure safety for everyone.

Burnaby Mountain’s accessible location makes it a common choice for dog owners, while the extensive network allows for a new journey during each visit. With regular maintenance and clear markings, these trails prioritize safety, ensuring your focus remains on enjoying quality time with your dog.

  • Distance: Varies, multiple trails
  • Round-Trip: 7.5km
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Elevation Gain: Moderate incline to the summit
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Amenities: Washrooms, picnic areas, viewing platforms
  • Access Point: Various points along Centennial Way
  • Parking: Available at the eastern side of the mountain near Horizon’s Restaurant

Trail #4: Lighthouse Park Trails

Lighthouse Park

A view of the lighthouse in Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver, BC. Image Credit: Vancouver Trails

Best for: Seaside Strollers – Water-loving dogs and owners drawn to coastal views and maritime history.

Venture to the rugged shorelines at Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver where meandering through towering Douglas firs eventually leads you and your four-legged friend to ocean viewpoints that capture the grandeur of the Pacific Northwest. The trail network within Lighthouse Park is interconnected, allowing you to customize the length and difficulty of your hike to suit your and your pet’s preferences.

The pathways are cloaked with moss and ferns, and some lead to rocky outcrops from which the park’s famous lighthouse can be admired. The park serves as both a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and a historical point of interest for those keen on maritime heritage.

Lighthouse Park’s dog-friendly policy requires that owners keep their pets on a leash at all times. While this ensures the protection of the park’s delicate ecosystems, there’s still ample space for exploration. Visit the many accessible viewpoints where your pet can breathe in the salt air and you can marvel at the yacht-speckled sea and distant mountains.

  • Distance: Varies, multiple short trails.
  • Round-Trip: up to 6km
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Elevation Gain: Minor
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Amenities: Picnic areas, washrooms, historic lighthouse
  • Access Point: Beacon Lane in West Vancouver
  • Parking: Available at the park entrance

Trail #5: Quarry Rock

Quarry Rock

A bridge crosses a creek along the Baden Powell Trail on the way to Quarry Rock. Image Credit: Vancouver Trails

Best for: Viewpoint Victors – Dogs and their owners who relish a sense of achievement amidst arresting panoramas.

The immensely popular Quarry Rock hike, part of the Baden Powell Trail in Deep Cove, North Vancouver, provides a perfect blend of natural canopy and brilliant views of Indian Arm and the mountains beyond. This relatively short hike is compact yet rewarding, composed of wooden stairs, bridges, and well-trodden paths perfect for your pet’s paws.

Despite the popularity and often busy trailhead, an early morning or weekday hike can offer a more tranquil experience. As you ascend, fresh cedar-scented air fills your lungs while your dog enjoys a kaleidoscope of earthen smells. Upon reaching the rock, the expansive lookout is ideal for a rest and a water break with your pet.

Caution warning: there have been reports of dogs becoming stranded on the rocks when climbing down from the viewpoint.

Dogs are allowed to be off-leash but under control at all times. The trail is meticulously maintained, and its status as a favourite is a testament to its ideal conditions for both experienced hikers and first-time furry companions.

  • Distance: 1.9km
  • Round-Trip: 3.8km
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 100m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Amenities: Benches and information boards at the lookout
  • Access Point: End of Panorama Drive, Deep Cove
  • Parking: Limited, more available on Panorama Drive

Trail #6: Lynn Canyon Loop

Lynn Loop Trail

An old piece of logging equipment with trees growing through it is one of many historical artifacts left from the logging days. Image Credit: Vancouver Trails

Best for: Suspension Bridge Enthusiasts – Pets (and people) who aren’t shy of heights and relish spectacular forest vistas.

Embedded in the heart of North Vancouver, Lynn Canyon Loop offers an exciting journey through a quintessential Pacific Northwest landscape. The trail, approximately 5 kilometres long, wraps around the bubbling Lynn Creek, and includes the thrilling suspension bridge high above the canyon floor—a spot that draws many to this forested locale.

The loop is an immersive experience, with opportunities to spot squirrels and birds that call this temperate rainforest home. While the suspension bridge might prove daunting for some dogs, the well-maintained boardwalks and paths that follow provide a more grounded experience amid ancient trees and lush undergrowth.

Dog guidelines: Dogs must be on-leash at all times on the Lynn Loop trail and within Lynn Headwaters Regional Park.

Trails are clearly marked, and designated pool areas provide a cool respite for pets to dip their paws on hot days. It’s a social hiking spot where well-behaved, leashed pets can enjoy the company of fellow canines. Remember to carry waste bags to keep the park pristine for other visitors.

  • Distance: 5km loop
  • Time: 1.5 hours
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Amenities: Bathrooms, cafe, picnic areas
  • Access Point: Lynn Valley Road
  • Parking: Available at the entrance to Lynn Headwaters Regional Park

Trail #7: Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve

Video Credit:

Best for: The Eco-Conscious Explorer – Ideal for dogs and their owners who want to enjoy a sustainable and educational hiking experience while adhering to the guidelines that protect the reserve’s diverse ecosystem.

The Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve (LSCR), a vast expanse of parkland that includes the essential role of protecting a key Vancouver water supply, offers a blend of recreational activities harmoniously integrated with conservation efforts. With over 5,668 hectares of land, this reserve boasts a network that stretches through breathtaking landscapes designed to not only facilitate active lifestyles but also educate and inspire a connection with the natural environment.

Intertwining with these conservation ideals, the LSCR presents several pet-friendly hiking options. This paved path extends for 10 kilometres, providing an approachable and enjoyable route for hikers and their leashed dogs. Dotted with amenities such as picnic spots, washrooms, and drinking fountains, it allows for a comfortable and refreshing journey through a stretch of scenic wilderness.

Catering to a more adventurous spirit, the reserve also presents various trails for walking and hiking that delve deeper into its lush forested areas. Trails like the Twin Bridges Trail offer a more rugged experience, albeit with the expectation that dogs remain leashed and under control in key areas to preserve the delicate ecosystem and respect fellow trail users.

Dogs are not permitted on:

  • the Seymour Valley Trailway
  • the Fisherman’s Trail (north of the Homestead Trail junction)
  • the Rice Lake Loop Trail

At the LSCR, recreational enjoyment is thoughtfully balanced with environmental stewardship. Park visitors are reminded that facilities such as the fish hatchery and wildlife areas enrich the experience, providing educational opportunities alongside the inherent joy of outdoor exploration.

  • Distance: 10km on the Seymour Valley Trailway, additional trails vary
  • Elevation Gain: Varies depending on the trail
  • Difficulty: Easy on the Seymour Valley Trailway, varying on other trails
  • Amenities: Picnic areas, washrooms, bike repair stations, drinking water
  • Access Point: Rice Lake Gate, Lillooet Road
  • Parking: Available at LSCR lot near Rice Lake Gate, Lillooet Road

See the LSCR Dog Walking Guide to learn more about this area’s guidelines.

Trail #8: Dog Mountain Trail

A scenic panorama from the summit of Dog Mountain, showcasing lush evergreen trees in the foreground with a sweeping view of North Vancouver leading to English Bay in the distance. The sky is clear with few clouds, highlighting the natural beauty of the region.

The view from Dog Mountain looking across North Vancouver towards English Bay. Image Credit: Vancouver Trails

Best for: The View Seeker – Suitable for hikers and pets who enjoy hikes with picturesque rewards while requiring minimal effort.

Perched on the picturesque slopes of Mount Seymour, Dog Mountain Trail is a popular destination for hikers and their canine companions. The trail provides a relatively easy hike with exceptional rewards: panoramic views of Vancouver, the serene waters of English Bay, and the bustling cityscape punctuated by the verdant expanse of Stanley Park.

Despite its name, the Dog Mountain Trail is not a strenuous mountain trek but rather a gentle 5km round trip journey that is accessible to hikers and dogs of varying abilities. The trail is well-marked and meanders through a verdant forest, offering cool shade on sunny days. The terrain mixes flat sections with root-wrapped paths and wooden bridges, offering a taste of adventure without considerable elevation gain.

Upon reaching the summit, hikers are rewarded with a stunning vista that stretches out towards the city and beyond, making for an ideal resting spot and photo opportunity. The rocky outcrop at the peak provides a natural viewpoint where hikers and their leashed pets can enjoy a well-deserved break and perhaps a picnic while taking in the sweeping views.

While the trail is beloved throughout the year, it truly comes into its own during winter. Covered in a layer of snow, Dog Mountain offers a magical snowshoeing experience. It is essential, however, to ensure your dog is comfortable and well-equipped for snowy conditions, with appropriate gear such as dog boots to protect their paws from the cold and ice.

  • Distance: 5km round trip
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Elevation Gain: Minimal
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Amenities: None on the trail; facilities available at the Mount Seymour ski area
  • Access Point: Mount Seymour parking lot
  • Parking: Available at the Mount Seymour ski area

Trail #9: Fraser River Trail

Vibrant red roses blooming along the Fraser Valley Trail with mulch-covered ground, under the shade of green foliage with a glimpse of a calm river and a bridge in the background under a clear blue sky.

Nature’s Palette: A Colorful Encounter on the Fraser Valley Trail. Image Credit:

Best for: River Rovers – Great for dogs and owners who delight in riverside promenades and maritime musings.

The Fraser River Trail is one of Vancouver’s unsung wonders, delivering postcard-worthy scenes with an accessible path that runs alongside the historic river. This riverside route appeals to hikers who prefer flatter terrain and offers an array of sights, from bustling harbours to serene stretches where gulls and eagles soar.

The pathway is forgiving beneath paws, consisting largely of packed gravel or smoothly paved sections. Pets of all ages and conditions find comfort on the trail, relishing in the absence of steep climbs and enjoying the elements of a mild but engaging hike. The Fraser River Trail is an exhibition of the delicate balance between urban development and nature preservation that Vancouver exemplifies.

From panoramic viewpoints to intimate riverbank vantage points, this trail caters to reflective walks, where every step leads to a new angle on the ever-changing river scene. Take a moment with your pet at one of the benches along the path to soak in the ambiance, watch the boats drift by, and maybe share a snack before continuing on your casual saunter.

  • Distance: Approximately 8km end-to-end
  • Elevation Gain: Flat
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Amenities: Benches, viewpoints, washrooms in certain sections
  • Access Point: 9149 Hudson St, Vancouver
  • Parking: Limited street parking near access points

Trail #10: Stanley Park Seawall

Stanley Park Sea Wall Trail

False Creek Seawall. Image Credit:

Best for: Cityscape Connoisseurs – Ideal for those who savour the marriage of urban architecture and the natural world as their pets enjoy the coastal ambiance.

Iconic Stanley Park and its famous Seawall trail represent the heart of Vancouver’s outdoor scene and no list would be complete without it. The Seawall, a continuous waterfront path that skirts the park’s outline, offers potentially the best views of the city juxtaposed against nature, satisfying the desire for scenic urban walks that bring the bustling vibe of Vancouver to life.

Pets that tread the Seawall will find themselves amidst joggers, cyclists, and fellow walkers—all sharing in the collective appreciation of ocean views, sandy beaches, and the sapphire hues of the sky meeting the water at the horizon. The trail’s well-maintained surface is gentle on paws and the length of it ensures that even the most energetic dogs can tire themselves out.

Throughout the walk, various beaches and lush meadows invite dogs to take a break and bask in the sun or play with their human companions. Though much of Stanley Park requires that dogs stay on-leash, there are dedicated off-leash areas within a bark’s reach of the Seawall, where pets can run free under the watchful eye of the skyline. Cultivating a sense of harmony, the Seawall isn’t just a trail—it’s an experience that embodies Vancouver’s spirit.

  • Distance: 10km (13,123-step) loop around Stanley Park
  • Elevation Gain: Flat
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Amenities: Restaurants, cafes, water fountains, washrooms
  • Access Point: Multiple along the perimeter of Stanley Park
  • Parking: Multiple lots throughout Stanley Park

Safety Tips for Hiking with Your Pet

Man and dog on top of hike trail overlooking Vancouver

Pre-Hike Preparations

Before hitting the trails with your pet, it’s crucial to ensure both you and your companion are suitably prepared for the activity ahead. Start by checking if your pet’s vaccinations are up to date to protect against potential diseases encountered in the wild. You’ll also want to apply any tick and flea treatments, considering the varied environments you’ll explore. Consider a quick visit to the vet for a pre-hike check-up to guarantee your pet’s fitness for the trail, especially if they’re seniors or have existing health issues.

Next, acquaint yourself with the trail specifics. This means knowing the length, elevation changes, and any difficulties you might encounter. If your pet is not used to long distances or rugged terrain, start training several weeks before with gradually longer walks or hikes.

Finally, pack appropriately. This includes enough water for you and your pet, pet first-aid supplies, and a basic toolkit for any unforeseen equipment issues. Don’t forget the essentials for waste disposal—it’s both courteous and environmentally responsible to carry out what your pet carries in.

Key Takeaway: Every great adventure starts with good preparation. Make sure your pet is healthy, the gear is packed, and you’re familiar with the trail for a safe and enjoyable experience.

On-Trail Pet Safety

The excitement of exploring can make it easy to overlook safety, but on the trail, your pet’s well-being is paramount. Always keep your dog on a leash where required and maintain control, even in permitted off-leash areas. Your leash is not only a tool for compliance with trail regulations but also for protection against wildlife encounters and ensuring your pet doesn’t get lost.

Keep an observant eye on your dog’s behavior. Signs of fatigue, such as excessive panting, lagging behind, or reluctance to continue, warrant a break or potentially turning back. Carry a collapsible bowl for easy water access and provide drinks frequently to prevent dehydration.

Lastly, always give way to other trail users. Not everyone is comfortable around dogs, and some may be afraid. A well-controlled pet is a good trail citizen, contributing to a positive experience for all.

Don’t Forget: The best trail buddies are those who consider others. Keep your pet safe and be respectful of fellow hikers, contributing to a friendly hiking community.

Post-Hike Pet Care

Once you’ve completed your hike, the care for your pet doesn’t stop at the trailhead. Give your dog a thorough once-over for ticks or any scrapes they might have picked up. Follow through with a gentle yet comprehensive paw cleaning to remove any dirt or harmful substances they might have stepped in.

Watch your pet for signs of overexertion or injury post-hike, and don’t hesitate to visit the vet if something seems amiss. It’s also a good practice to plan some rest after a challenging hike, allowing muscles to recover and energy levels to return to normal.

Remember: After every adventure, care for your pet to ensure they’re as ready for the next one as you are. A little post-hike pampering can do wonders!

Best Times to Hike with Your Pet in Vancouver

Happy dog and owner selfie on mountain top

The best times to hike with your pet in Vancouver often depend on the specific needs of your pet and your preferences. Generally speaking, spring and fall offer milder conditions that are neither too hot nor too cold for most pets. These seasons showcase Vancouver’s natural splendor, allowing you and your pet to enjoy the trails without the summer crowds or winter chill.

Consider early mornings or weekdays to avoid the peak times, which not only ensures a quieter hiking experience but also minimizes the stress on your pet from encountering too many people or other dogs. Be mindful of any seasonal restrictions, such as those placed to minimize disturbance during wildlife breeding seasons.

Always check the weather forecast before heading out. Sudden changes can turn an otherwise enjoyable hike into a risky endeavor, particularly if you’re caught in excessive heat or a downpour. Flexibility in your planning will serve you and your pet well.

Pro Tip: Aim for the off-peak hours and keep an eye on the weather to enjoy hiking trails at their best with your four-legged friend.

Pet-friendly Hiking Gear

Hiking Gear for Pets

Essential Gear for Your Pet

When setting out on a hike with your pet, certain gear is essential to ensure their comfort and safety. At the top of the list is a sturdy leash and collar or harness, ideally with reflective elements for visibility. A harness is particularly recommended for hiking, as it offers better control and distributes pressure evenly across your pet’s chest, reducing the risk of injury.

A collapsible water bowl is a must-have, ensuring your pet stays hydrated without adding unnecessary weight to your pack. Bring along biodegradable poop bags for waste disposal and consider a portable paw washer to clean muddy feet before your pet hops back into the car.

Depending on the terrain and weather, other items like doggy booties can protect sensitive paws from sharp rocks or hot surfaces. In cooler weather, a pet jacket can keep your furry friend warm, especially breeds with thinner coats or shorter fur.

Gear for the Hiker’s Comfort and Convenience

Hiking with a pet means packing for two, so it’s important to carry a backpack that can accommodate extra water, food, and pet supplies without causing discomfort. Look for packs with padded straps and ample storage compartments for organization.

Consider a hands-free leash that attaches to your waist if you prefer to keep your hands free for balance or using trekking poles. And don’t forget a first aid kit – tailored for both human and canine use – to address any minor injuries that may occur on the trail.

Leave No Trace with Your Furry Friend

While enjoying the great outdoors with your pet, it’s important to leave no trace and preserve the natural beauty for other hikers and wildlife. This means adhering to trail rules, staying on marked paths to protect flora and fauna, and picking up after your pet.

Carrying out pet waste is a crucial aspect of trail and dog park etiquette. Use biodegradable bags and dispose of them properly at designated areas. Encourage your pet to relieve themselves away from the trail and water sources to prevent contamination.

By practicing these principles, you contribute to keeping Vancouver’s hiking trails clean and enjoyable for everyone. Educate others about leave-no-trace ethics and set a positive example as a responsible pet owner and hiker.

What to Do if You Encounter Wildlife

A bear hiking a trail in vancouver

In the event of a wildlife encounter, the safety of your pet and the wildlife is a priority. Keep your pet on a leash and maintain a safe distance from animals. If you come across more aggressive wildlife, like bears or coyotes, know how to use your bear spray and read up on wildlife safety tips specific to the area.

Part of the joy of hiking in Vancouver is the chance to see wildlife in their natural habitat. By being prepared and knowing how to handle an encounter safely, you can ensure these experiences remain positive for all involved.


After spending a day out on the trails with your furry companion, you might have specific questions that often arise among pet-owning hikers. Below are some common FAQs to help address those post-hike curiosities.

What should I do if my pet gets tired on the trail?
If your pet shows signs of fatigue, take a break in a shaded area and provide water. If they are still reluctant to continue, it’s best to heed their limits and head back. Always carry a pet first-aid kit for emergencies and consider their carry capacity if you might need to assist them off the trail.

Are there emergency vet services near Vancouver trails?
Many areas in and around Vancouver are within reasonable proximity to veterinary services. It’s advisable to research and have contact details for nearby clinics before your hike, especially if you’re venturing farther into the wilderness.

Can I let my pet swim in the lakes during the hike?
Some lakes and beaches do allow dogs to swim; however, it’s important to follow local regulations. Check signs for pet-friendly swimming areas and always supervise your pet around water.

What are the fines for not following pet-related trail rules?
Fines can vary depending on the municipality, ranging from a nominal fee to significant penalties for repeated offences. It’s best to familiarize yourself with local bylaws to avoid any infractions.

How can I find fellow pet hikers in Vancouver?
Numerous social media groups and community forums exist for pet owners in Vancouver. These platforms often organize group hikes and events, providing a great way to meet fellow pet hiking enthusiasts.

Helpful Resources

Fetch Your Hiking Boots – It’s Time to Hit the Trail!

Off-leash hiking in Vancouver

Exploring Vancouver’s natural beauty with your pet offers a wealth of opportunities for bonding, exercise, and creating memories. By being well-prepared, aware of your surroundings, and respectful of the environment, you and your furry friend can enjoy countless adventures on the trails around this stunning city. So leash up, pack your essentials, and hit the paths; the great Canadian outdoors await!