Hiking with your dog is permitted in most areas of Harriman State Park.
You’ll see them everywhere on the trails, and in every style, shape, age. From papillons to pit bulls and everything in between. City-dwelling dogs love to be free with their families, and because Harriman is just an hour’s drive away, it’s the perfect place to spend an energetic day.
Take your dog to Harriman. A dog is only free when he gets to hike with his peeps!
Make sure he’s got good recall.
Obviously, if your dog isn’t too keen on coming back to you when you call (or if your dog is deaf), don’t let him off the leash. Dogs can and do go missing in Harriman, to which the “Lost Dog” signs in surrounding communities can attest.
Beware of Going Vertical
Some trails are just too difficult for your dog, especially if he’s elderly. Watch for trails that have steep ups and downs — they’re easy for two-leggers, but not so much for our pets. Study your intended route on the map, which includes contour lines. If those contour lines are super-close together, this hike might not be the right one for your dog.
We’ve heaved our two elderly shepherds over many a rocky incline. They’re too old for that kind of thing now, even going so far as to express themselves (in English): “Please. No more hikes up cliffs.”
If you’re overnighting…
- Put a flashing LED on your dog’s collar so you can see him in the night.
- Keep him close to you; don’t let him wander into the woods.
- Make sure he’s up to date on shots.
- Is he afraid of lightning and thunder? Bring the Thundershirt to curb his anxiety.
- Be aware that there is wildlife — large wildlife — in the park, and that it gets active at night. Bears, raccoons and skunks all have been seen in the areas surrounding the lean-tos, and they’re looking for food. If your dog’s into the chase, be mindful of the other denizens of the forest.
There are some rules, though….
The New York State Park page for Harriman State Park states that dogs are the only pets (if you still think of your dog as a “pet” and not a member of your family!) allowed in the park. They also state that dogs must be muzzled.
(Note: in all the years I’ve visited Harriman State Park, I’ve never seen a dog wearing a muzzle. And I have to say, I’m glad.)
The old “no-longer-than-six-foot-leash” rule applies but, again, this is seldom adhered to. You are more likely to see off-leash dogs in the park than on the leash.
Also note that dogs are not allowed in buildings, camping, picnic or bathing areas or on walkways. There is a two-dog maximum for campsites where dogs are allowed at all.
If You Love Hiking With Dogs Near New York City, Don’t Miss “Gone Hikin'”:
For a consistently-good review of hikes near New York City, see the blog, Gone Hikin’. The woman who writes this blog brings her rescue shepherd on nearly every hike, and she’ll let you know what Ol’ Shep thinks of the trail (including whether he’s dog enough to handle it!) Pictures, coordinates, trail descriptions, challenges — including where parking is available.
Read these tips and strategies for finding a lost dog in Harriman State Park.