10 Pet-Friendly Hikes Perfect for Springtime in Virginia

Spring is the perfect time of year to grab your hiking boots and take your pet on an outdoor adventure! Mild temperatures and beautiful blooms are beckoning you to get explore the beauty Virginia has to offer. With so many hikes to choose from, we’ve curated a list of 10 hikes that are exceptionally beautiful in the Spring.

Before heading out, prepare for your hike. Remember to bring plenty of water for both you and your pet. Make sure your pet is fully vaccinated and on medications to prevent tick-borne illness. Wear sunscreen and bug spray but DO NOT put these products designed for humans on your pets. When on trails, keep your pet on a leash and pick up after them.

1. Cole Mountain

Moderate 5.8-mile hike near Oronoco, Virginia

Photo from The Outbound

Cole Mountain is beautiful in every season, but especially in the springtime. The summit is mowed frequently allowing for incredible views in every direction, plus the opportunity to feel like you’re in Switzerland or The Sound of Music. The hike has an excellent mixture of diverse plants and interesting terrain, including an old-growth pine forest that survived a forest fire in the not too distant past. Although the official name is Cole Mountain, it is often called Cold Moutain. Pictures do not do this hike justice!

2. Potomac Heritage Trail at Riverbend Park

Easy 2.6-mile hike in Great Falls, VA

Photo from Fun in Fairfax

Walk down a winding path surrounded by breathtaking Virginia Bluebells and other stunning wildflowers that bloom in early spring. This quick and easy 2.4 miles loop is perfect for your whole family. The trail follows the Potomac River and, if you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of Bald Eagles that are commonly spotted nearby. For a map of all of the trails in Riverbend Park, click here.

3. Overall Run FallsĀ 

Moderate 6.5-mile hike near Bentonville, VA

Photo from AllTrails

Overall Run is the highest waterfall in Shenandoah National Park at 93 feet. In dry weather, there is little to no flow over the falls so the rainy Spring season is the perfect time to visit. In addition to stunning falls, you will be treated to views of Massanutten Mountain to the west. As with many waterfall hikes, the hike down is easier than the hike back up to the parking area.

4. Spy Rock via Cash Hollow

Moderate 5.8-mile hike near Tyro, VA

Photo from The Outbound

With sweeping 360-degree views, Spy Rock is the perfect place to take your pet on a hike. During spring, the mountain laurels bloom on Spy Rock adding another layer to the beauty of this incredible hike.

Please note: The parking lot at the Montebello Fish Hatchery is now closed to the public. Park at Cash Hollow to avoid the closure. This route requires a creek crossing so exercise caution after a rainstorm.

5) Hemlock Hollow, Bluebell and Overlook Trail Loop in Shenandoah River State Park

Moderately easy 2.7-mile trail near Bentonville, VA

Photo from AllTrails

Looking for a gentle walk through the woods with beautiful views and amazing Spring blooms? This loop in Shenandoah River State Park is perfect for you and your pet to enjoy together.

6. Jones Run/Doyles River Hike

Moderate 6.6-mile hike in the southern portion of Shenandoah National Park

Photo from Travel Experience Live

This popular hike pairs up Jones Run Falls and Doyles River Falls for a 6.6-mile hike with many falls along the way. You’ll have a good chance of encountering wildlife on this trail – and maybe even happening upon one of the many black bears that inhabit Shenandoah National Park.

7. Mary’s Rock Summit

Moderately easy 2.8-mile hike in Shenandoah National Park

Photo from The Outbound

Mary’s Rock Summit is the perfect pet- and family-friendly Spring hike with spectacular views. The quick 2.8-mile out-and-back hike is a wonderful place to watch the sun rise or set. This is a very popular hike so you will likely be sharing the trail with others.

8. Massanutten Storybook Trail

Easy 0.7-mile trail near Luray, VA

Photo from AllTrails

Massanutten Storybook Trail is perfect for the whole family. In the spring, wildflowers start to bloom and add an extra layer of beauty to this quick out-and-back hike. If you’re looking for scenic and short, this is the trail for you.

9. Sky Meadows State Park

Offers 15 different trails ranging in length in Delaplane, VA

Sky Meadows State Park is stunning in the spring with an abundance of beautiful blooms and offers hikes for every skill level. Pick a loop and spend your days exploring and admiring the wonderful views. For a more challenging hike, you can combine a couple of loops for an easy 7.1-mile hike. In pre-pandemic times, the park offered various programming. Check out their website for updates on what they are currently offering.

10. White Oak Canyon / Cedar Run Falls Hike

Difficult 7.9-mile hike in Shenandoah National Park

Photo from Let’s See America

White Oak Canyon / Cedar Run Falls is possibly the most spectacular waterfall hike in Shenandoah National Park. Heavy rains in the spring swell the streams making the falls even more breathtaking. This hike has six falls and provides an excellent opportunity to see wildlife. The trail is difficult and has some sections rock scrambles and river crossing so prepare accordingly.