One of our favorite things to do with the dogs is to get out for a hike on a beautiful day. It’s good exercise for us all, and when you combine it with fantastic scenery and some off-leash time for Buster … well, there’s really nothing better.
We spent ten days checking out the local scene in Boise, and frankly, we didn’t find much that would make us want to go back. They do have a lovely Greenbelt that runs along the river for 25 miles, but the city itself felt kind of meh – people were not particularly friendly, there wasn’t much going on, and pet friendly activities were pretty limited. The highlight of our trip was finding the trail system at Table Rock – so let’s talk about that!
Table Rock is a few miles southeast of Boise and parking at the Old Idaho State Penitentiary gives you access to the trails. Because it’s a local landmark, we chose the hike to the summit – and with the fall colors just starting to pop, the views did not disappoint.
The rules for pets are pretty generous: dogs can run off-leash if they are not disturbing wildlife or causing a safety concern with other trail users. Dogs must be under their owner’s control, not more than 30 feet away from you at any time, and dog owners must carry a leash and waste bag with them.
Though it’s less than two miles to the top, the climb will definitely get your heart rate up and make your leg muscles burn. Fortunately, once you’re there, you’ll find benches where you can catch your breath and have a look around.
From the parking lot, there are a number of trails to choose from, but if you want to hike Table Rock, my suggestion is to go before the crowds arrive – especially if you want your dog to run off-leash. This is a heavily used trail for runners, site seers, and families. We were back to the car by 11am and the trail was already pretty congested.
Off-leash trails can create a bit of a challenge for us, because our dogs are so different. Buster loves to run, has a solid recall, and does well with other dogs when he’s off-leash. Ty is basically the opposite – he’s afraid of other dogs and will lunge if he’s approached, and cannot be left off-leash because it would be the last time we ever saw him.
Living with these two dogs that are so different has given us a unique perspective on how to best handle encounters with other dogs on trails. Here are our suggestions:
Do you agree, or am I over-reacting? I’d love to hear your tips for dog hiking etiquette – please leave a note and share your experiences in the comments!
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