Wondering where you can hike with your dog near Mt. Rainier or just looking for a good, easy hike that allows dogs and is fun for kids?
The short answer is that you can’t hike with your dog within the actual park, but there are several dog friendly hikes just outside the park on National Forest Land, and they are hikes that are kid friendly and dog friendly, so you can take the whole family!
Here are three favorites! I’ve linked to the WTA site for each of them, and I always encourage you to bring the Ten Essentials and check current conditions. Please also do make sure that you are recreating responsibly and that your four legged friend is a good canine citizen, so keep him leashed and under control and be prepared to clean up after!
Our rescue lab and the hubs at Skookum Falls-with water!
- Greenwater and Echo Lakes This one is just after the little town of Greenwater (Watch the speed limit signs here!!) and well before the Mountain. It’s a great option for an easy, closer hike. There are a lot of skinny log bridges to cross, which may not be fun with a toddler. It’s shaded and gentle the whole way, with lots of lovely views of the river. Note from SFM-Early in summer the water will be high and fast. You may want to wait for later. In any case, do read the trip reports. There are also lots of good turn-around points-no need to go farther than you want! This area would also be an excellent first backpacking destination. Open but trail reports mention bugs and some issues with out bridges. Go with a flexible spirit (and bug spray!). You’ll need a Northwest Forest Pass.
- Skookum Flats/Skookum Falls Pretty views, and almost the whole hike is flat and shaded. You do have to scramble straight up a hillside if you want to get right up by the waterfall at the end-NOT for anyone but the sure footed (or mountain goats). Young children can just enjoy a peek-a-boo view. Do note that getting to the trailhead requires going down one very bumpy road! If you want to see the waterfall in full force go during the late spring/early summer. Open; you need a Northwest Forest Pass. This is a very popular trail with mountain bikers and folks hiking with their dogs, so do be prepared to share the trail and socially distance. Also, you may need to go early to score parking.
- Sheep Lake A bit of this goes up hill, but it’s generally easy, and very pretty. The very first bit is the steepest, and may not be suitable for young children on their own. We also had relatively little company on this one, something that can’t be said for most of the hikes on this list. It ends at a bona fide alpine lake where kids (and your dog) could easily play the day away. You do need to bring bug spray. We got eaten alive doing this one late in August. Open; a few snow patches to cross. You will need a Northwest Forest Pass.
You might also like this post on easy hikes and nature walks, some of which are Fido Friendly.