It’s hard to be a dog mom in Jackson Hole Wyoming. There are snakes and wild moose everywhere. The Snake River is moving too fast for your furry friends to swim. And most frustrating of all; Every trail from Jackson to Moose to Teton Village seems to outlaw man’s best friend! What is the traveling cross-country dog mom to do? The nearby national parks, the Tetons and Yellowstone may be stunningly gorgeous but they are no place for a dog to live its best life. So where are the best dog-friendly Jackson hikes you may be pondering?
To be fair, national park travel is not my favorite form of vacation as I kind of hate crowds and hordes of other tourists. That is why when I go on holiday, I mainly choose to stay outside the national parks but if you do have a hankering to road trip through the Tetons or Yellowstone this summer, what can you do with a dog? The answer is really not much.
But it is late June, you are on holiday from work and life stress. If you are anything like me, you are itching to explore this great nation of ours, including our U.S. national parks. The Tetons are a great place to start. Yet they are a frustrating place to be a dog mom.
If you wish to avoid the crowds in national parks, I sure hope you love the rain as much as I do! I honestly think the views of the Tetons are just stunning on a rainy day with all the dark clouds on the horizon. Drive into the Tetons on a rainy summer’s day and you will be shocked how few tourists are out and about, even on a Saturday!
- Did you know when you drive into the national parks, your entry receipt is good for seven days?
The only way to find close parking at scenic places like Jenny Lake is to plan on arriving at these tourist attractions at first light. You get the best photos early in the a.m. also! Jenny Lake has a paved path that goes around part of the lake and yes, you can walk your on-leash dog here! Don’t ruin it for all us other dog moms; Pick up your pooch poo and don’t, for heaven’s sake, leave bags of puppy poo behind. Rainy days are the best time to visit the Tetons. The view of the Tets is so gorgeous with the clouds. You can pull over at the Taggart Lake Trailhead. Taggart Lake is only a three-mile round-trip hike, so quite easy, but it is not a dog-friendly trail. You can however snap a few scenic shots without your pup by the trailhead. The rain will make it cool enough that you can leave your pup in your vehicle for a few minutes while you grab some photos.
Take my advice, and head into the Tetons as early as you. Sunrise is perfect! I like to already be at the entrance to the parks at six a.m. and this is the best time to enjoy the parks without them being crowded. You can even find parking! And this is the best time to view wildlife. You can also take the scenic drive down the dirt road to the Lupine Meadows and let your pup enjoy the view with the windows down. Look out for deer grazing in the meadows in the early morning. There are a few turnouts along the road here. You can roll down your windows, and let your pup enjoy that mountain’s fresh air, while you grab some nearby photos of the purple lupine meadows.
You would think that lovely paved walking trail going into the Tetons would be dog-friendly. Nope. Not in the Tetons. The saying in the national parks is “Paws on pavement” But that does comes with some restrictions. Dogs are even prohibited from being on boats and vessels in the Tetons besides Jackson Lake. Jackson Lake is the only waterway in the Tetons where you could rent a kayak and take your pup kayaking. (If your pup is calmer than mine!)
Signal Mountain is such a beautiful drive through the park with majestic views from above. It’s really not too far from the Moose Junction entrance. The winding road to the top of the mountain takes you through such a lovely Englemann spruce forest. Keep an eye out for conifers like the lodgepole pine and Douglas fir. There are meadows of yellow mules ear, purple lupine and Wyoming buckwheat absolutely everywhere if you visit the parks in late June. Once you park at the top of Signal Mountain you can walk your pup on the paved path at the top and get some epic snaps of the view looking down at the Gros Venture buttes and across Jackson Lake. This is a most do when it comes to dog-friendly Jackson hikes.
Looking for dog-friendly Jackson hikes? As you enter the Tetons, about five miles past Jenny Lake is a dirt road on the left. It seems to be a little loophole. You can drive way back into the wilderness, pull over on the shoulder and get away with walking around with your pup just a little. Snap a few photos before you hop back in your Jeep and allow Fido to enjoy the parks from the backseat with the windows down.
- Make sure you do not leave trash or dog poo behind. Leave the Tetons as pristine as you found her!
Cache Creek is very close to the town of Jackson so if you are looking for a place for your pup to splash and swim this is the one. Especially if you do not feel like driving very far! That Jackson traffic is famous for having the worst congestion in the summertime. I like this meandering trail system because you don’t have to deal with too much stop-and-go Jackson summertime traffic.
So Cache Creek requires dogs be on leash for the first half mile to protect the local wildlife. Don’t forget your leash! After this half mile you will run into many local off-leash pups. Don’t be surprised to see many local mountain bikers ith their canine pups running along beside them. Cache Creeks location being right in town is nice no matter where you are traveling in the Jackson area. The start location is right at the bottom of Snow King Resort. Cache Creek is great for splashing and swimming if you are researching dog-friendly Jackson hikes. I would do this one mid-week, not on a weekend. Its close proximity to Jackson makes it popular on weekends without driving very far.
Looking for the best dog-friendly Jackson hikes with a lake? If your pup loves to swim, check out Goodwin Lake. I mean, if you have got the balls and the Jeep to get there. Goodwin Lake is three miles from the trailhead. But Jeeping to the trailhead well that is another story.
To reach the Goodwin Lake trailhead you have to travel around ten miles up a dirt road near Curtis Canyon, Wyoming. The dirt road starts at the far end of the Elk Refuge and is scenic and a well-graded dirt road. Then you start to climb into the wilderness near Sheep Creek. And continue climbing. And the road starts to get very rutted. It seems nuts that local citizens of Jackson are able to reach the Goodwin Lake parking area in their Subaru Outbacks, yet I did see two Subarus at the trailhead! The last two miles of the drive just get worse and worse as you approach the trailhead. But that scenic drive overlooking Jackson as you reach over 8,000 feet; It’s just breathtaking.
But here’s the deal; At the last trail junction, a mile before the trailhead the road was so rutted, we had to drive about three miles per hour up and over each rut. If I did this hike again I would just walk this section because I think it would be faster than driving it!
You can also camp in this area. The campsites I saw were spectacular. All of these campsites sit at the edge of the mountain overlooking the valley below. However, this is grizzly country and I would personally not want to tent camp where there are grizzly bears are roaming.
Now to the best of the best of dog-friendly Jackson hikes
Looking for the absolute best dog-friendly Jackson hikes? You survived the drive up Forest Road 30444 now you get to experience one of the most scenic rails I have ever had the privilege to trek. This trail reminded me of hiking in Telluride, which to this day is the most stunning place I have hiked. However, unlike Telluride, Colorado, there were hardly any mosquitos on the Goodwin Lake trail! Yea! It’s around ten miles total to the top of Jackson Peak. This hike is close to town so if you don’t feel like dealing with that Jackson summertime traffic, this is a good one.
Once you make it to the hiking trail, the trail climbs steadily in altitude for the first three-quarters mile. It’s pretty strenuous. But after that first almost mile the trail levels out, you pass meadows of wildflowers and the trail is just so scenic and mellow before that last climb to Goodwin Lake.
When we trekked this the last week in June there was still a foot of snow here and there the last quarter of a mile below Goodwin Lake. If your goal is dog-friendly Jackson hikes, then your pup is going to love the snow! We ran into just six other groups of trekkers on this entire hike. Amazing for crowded Jackson Wyoming in the summer months on a Saturday! They all had friendly off-leash pups with them and we had a great time letting our pup play with some local dogs. If you find yourself in Jackson on a weekend in the summer this is an excellent hike to avoid the crowds. When it comes to dog-friendly Jackson hikes they are few and far between but this had to be the best one we did in the week we spent in Wyoming.
This one starts up the Teton Pass. It’s a little outside of Jackson but a great easy trek for you and man’s best friend. Ski Lake is only four miles roundtrip and is very popular with the dog-friendly crowd in Jackson. There is tons of parking here also, on both sides of the highway.
Cliff Creek Falls
This high-altitude trek is an amazing 12-mile hike to a waterfall you can swim in. But, this hike is well over an hour outside of Jackson. If you feel like taking this drive with your pup south of Jackson, way past the suburb fishing at the Hoback River, have fun. Pack a picnic lunch for you and Fido to enjoy once you reach the falls. Bake up my Sweet Potato Dog Treats the night before for your pup’s waterfall hike lunch.
Shadow Mountain is a great off-the-beaten-path trek. The hike is only five and a half miles roundtrip. This trek gives you some of the best views of the Tetons you can find outside of the park. You do have to traverse five miles through the dirt roads to get up here. The dirt road section is very sketchy. You will need four-wheel drive and you may just choose to park your vehicle and hike some of that last mile.
- If you are anywhere near downtown Jackson, stop for a few snaps with man’s best friend at one of the many bison statues you find all around downtown. (If your pup is not afraid of the taxidermied bison like mine is!
Looking for a hike with some unique Wyoming history? You found it! Slide Lake is the sight of the biggest disaster in Wyoming history. In 1920 there was a massive landslide above the Gros Venture River and upstream of the town of Kelley, Wyoming. The landslide dammed the river and built the huge Slide Lake. The dam collapsed in the wet winter of 1925, (You know the winter that Jackson recorded minus 55-degree temperatures?) drowning the entire town of Kelley, Wyoming.
There are many areas you can stop on the graded dirt road drive down to Slide Lake and read about the unique history and Geology of this area. About a mile above Slide Lake is a little interpretive trail you can walk down and see the remnants of the original rock slide from 1920. Keep an eye out for marmots in this area! You can also stop at the Wedding Tree. Seeking dog-friendly Jackson hikes, definitely walk the trails through the wildflower meadows near the Wedding Tree. Check out the views of the snow-capped Tetons in the distance.
Slide Lake is more about your pup taking a swim lakeside than actually hiking very far. It’s not much of a hike but an off-leash dog party! Slide Lake is a great location to hang out with your pup and picnic on a hot summer’s day in Wyoming.
Emily Stevens Park
Are you desperate for dog-friendly Jackson hikes yet? It’s flat and easy but Emily Stevens Park is the pup-friendly destination you have been looking for! This dog park/hiking trail area is great for your furry companion to meet and romp with other off-leash pups. With three miles of easy walking trails to choose from near the Snake River, this is a winner when it comes to dog-friendly activities in Jackson Wyoming.
- Enjoying a walk around downtown? Make sure you snap a photo of you and your pup at the Jackson Antler’s Arch.
Need a bite to eat and a cup of Joe after all your dog-friendly adventures in Jackson? Have lunch outside on the patio with your pup at Cafe Genevieve. The Cheesy Bacon Grits are the very best. Or try the Biscuits with Cajan Gravy if you like a lil spice. Sit outside for some breakfast and a latte with your pup and plan out tomorrow’s dog-friendly adventure in Jackson Wyoming!
I’m not going to lie. Finding dog-friendly Jackson hikes is not easy. Some of my favorite ones are more like a stroll through meadows and conifer forests. They are not exactly what I would consider a butt-busting fourteen-mile trek. But Jackson Wyoming is such a scenic place to spend a week in the summer outdoors with man’s best friend.