A trip to the Upper Peninsula wouldn’t be the same if you had to leave your pet behind. After all, the area is filled with thousands of miles of trails that turn taking your dog for a walk into a real adventure. Whether you’re planning to chase waterfalls, play a game of fetch with your pup on the beach or feel like strolling through a tree-filled wonderland where you can do some birdwatching together, you’ll find all of these activities are possible to do with your pet when you know where to go.
When you aren’t exploring the wilderness, you’ll also find that the small towns around your favorite trails are uncrowded and extremely pet-friendly. In fact, you might even find people asking to give your pup a pet as you stroll through downtown Ironwood. Upper Peninsula hotels also tend to offer accommodations that allow for pets, and knowing that you have a safe and comfortable place to return to after your hike makes it possible to enjoy the outdoors to the fullest.
While most towns in the U.P. are dog-friendly, it is crucial to be cautious about where you take your pup for a hike. Some trails have restrictions regarding dogs, but there are tons of options available for everyone who prefers to bring their pet along for the fun. We love dogs so much that we’ve even compiled this list of dog-friendly trails in the Upper Peninsula that you can use to start planning your trip.
Explore the Porcupine Mountains
This outdoor lover’s paradise can’t be beaten when it comes to finding dog-friendly trails close to Ironwood hotels. The Porcupine Mountains State Park is dog-friendly, and you’ll find many hiking paths to explore from the moment you pass through the entrance and register at the Visitor’s Center.
While hiking in the Porkies, you’ll want to remember to keep your pup on a six-foot leash. This helps to keep your pet from wandering off into the vast wilderness, but don’t worry! They’ll still have miles of trail to walk or run along by your side to burn off their energy. If your pup loves streams and creeks, then they won’t be disappointed.
One of the biggest draws for pet owners who visit the mountains is the chance to hike along trails that offer access to the Presque Isle waterfalls, which are all within walking distance from each other along the river. The Lake of the Clouds trail is another fun one to enjoy with your pup before heading back to your Porcupine Mountains hotel.
Visit the Yellow Dog River
With a name like Yellow Dog, this river practically begs you to bring your favorite canine along. Several beautiful waterfalls line this river in Marquette County, and the Yellow Dog Falls has a majestic 30-foot drop that splits over a beautiful boulder. You can access this waterfall by taking your pup for a short mile-long hike along a trail that begins at the parking lot by County Road 510. Here, you can also see the Big Pup and Little Pup Creek Falls.
Bulldog Falls is also located along the Yellow Dog River, but you’ll want to bring a compass or map. The Bulldog Falls are located in the McCormick Wilderness, which doesn’t allow for marked trails. Instead, you’ll use your navigation skills to follow the mostly well-beaten path.
Romp Along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
If you’re planning a road trip from Upper Peninsula hotels to other hot spots along the coastline, then you’ll want to add Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to your itinerary. While this park has more restrictions regarding dogs compared to the Porcupine Mountains, you’ll still find breathtaking views of cliffs, waterfalls, unique rock formations, and access to beautiful beaches when you come here with your pet.
Service dogs are allowed throughout the park, but you’ll want to be aware of the areas where non-service animals aren’t allowed to go. Make sure to double-check to see if these areas are still open to dogs before you go, but here are a few of the best dog-friendly trails in the Upper Peninsula that you’ll find at Pictured Rocks.
- Miners Falls Trail
- Munising Falls Trail
- Sable Falls Trail and Beach
Similar to other areas, you’ll want to keep your dog leashed and dispose of their waste properly. For more open spaces to roam, your dog is welcome at the beaches directly in front of the campground and day-use area. The Sand Point beaches, Miners Beach, and Lake Superior Overlook Beach are also open for you to explore with your pup.
Soak Up the Quaint Beauty of Mackinac Island
A trip to Mackinac Island starts off with a dog-friendly ferry ride that allows your pup to accompany you for free, provided that they are on a leash or in a crate. Once you arrive on the island, you’ll discover that this town has a quaint charm and dog-friendly atmosphere that reminds you of Ironwood. Here, most restaurants and venues post a sticker on their doors or windows that lets you know when dogs are welcome inside.
When you’re not grabbing a souvenir or a bite to eat, you’ll have 61 miles of roads and trails available to hike. Although these are some of the most dog-friendly trails in the Upper Peninsula since they don’t allow motorized vehicles, you will want to be alert for bicyclists and horseback riders. Trail etiquette requires giving horses the right of way, so make sure your dog is held firmly on their leash as you wait for the larger animals to pass.
Wander Through the Hiawatha National Forest
The Hiawatha National Forest is filled with scenic natural land that spans the shoreline of Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan. If you loved the idea of touring Mackinac Island, then you may also enjoy planning a trip to this popular dog-friendly destination. Here, you can take your pup on a ferry to the Grand Island National Recreation Area, where you can travel along several popular trails to see beautiful hardwood forests along with breathtaking beaches. Since you’ll be spending most of the day on the island, make sure to bring all you need to keep your pet happy. A collapsible bowl, some food, and lots of water are all important items to pack in your gear kit.
Once you’ve picked out a few trails to explore, remember to make sure to pick dog-friendly lodging. When you aren’t exploring with your pup, our pet-friendly hotels provide you both with a cozy place to rest and warm up. Plus, your favorite canine will be happy to discover that our Ironwood Hotels are located close to dining options that keep pets in mind. Just think how excited they’ll be to enjoy a mug filled with doggie treats and whipped cream at a local coffee shop or to share a meal with you on an outdoor patio. When it comes to pampering, Ironwood has you covered, which makes traveling with your dog a breeze.