Dog Friendly Ohio State Parks for Hiking

by | Feb 15, 2024 | Hiking and Travel Tips

Want to bring your dog on a hike around stunning caves, beautiful lakes, or along gorgeous rivers in Ohio? We share five dog friendly Ohio State Parks for hiking that are approved for you and your pooch!

Dory getting ready to hike in John Bryan State Park in Ohio.
Dory, ready to go hiking, in John Bryan State Park in Ohio!

Ohio has better hiking options than most think. What it lacks in big elevation gains it makes up for with interesting and peaceful trails. Ohio hiking options range from caves, along rivers, around lakes, and through fascinating rock formations. Plus it’s a super dog friendly hiking state. We’ll explore State Parks all over Ohio perfect for dogs who love to hike in this article!

Hitting the dog friendly Rim Trail in Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio.
Hocking Hills State Park is filled with dog friendly hiking options.

First things first…

It’s a privilege to bring your dog hiking on public lands. Please leash them if the area requests it, clean up after them, and be attentive. And while we are at it…Leave No Trace and Pack Your 10 Essentials :)!
My dog Cotopaxi is a B.A.R.K. Ranger and if you choose to bring the best companions in the world on hiking trails please consider the same.

Now onto the fun stuff…

Five Dog Friendly Ohio State Parks for Hiking!

  1. John Bryan State Park, Yellow Springs, Ohio.
  2. Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, Ohio.
  3. Great Seal State Park, Chillicothe, Ohio.
  4. Strouds Run State Park, Athens, Ohio.
  5. Caesar Creek State Park, Waynesville, Ohio.

John Bryan State Park

Located near one of my favorite small towns in the country (Yellow Springs) is John Bryan. This park features hiking trails, a campground, mountain bike areas, and even a rock climbing wall. The Little Miami River runs through it and the park features great day hiking options for your dog.

My favorite trails to hike with dogs are the Rim Trail and the Gorge Trail. Plus the mouthful of a name “Pittsburgh Cincinnati State Coach Trail!” Note that the adjacent Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve is NOT dog friendly so be on the lookout as you approach this area.

Our airbnb hosts even did a custom message for our dog Cotopaxi to welcome him!

Hocking Hills State Park

This is my favorite state park to hike in Ohio, period. Even without a dog it was. But it’s also very dog friendly. The lodging in the area is as well as you can see from this Airbnb we stayed at! It is called Paws and Unwind! I did an entire article on my website on Hocking Hills dog friendly activities HERE.

The Buckeye Trail is a National Scenic Trail that has miles located in the park. The Grandma Gatewood Trail is named after iconic Appalachian Trail Hiker Grandma Gatewood. And Old Man’s Cave is world renowned.

Conkles Hollow is the only non dog friendly trail area in the park that I am aware of. It’s a good hike though to consider if your pooch is ready for a nap at the cabin!

Great Seal State Park

This park is named after the “seal” emblem of Ohio. The seal emblem is three seemingly non tough ridges to trek up. As someone who has hiked and trail run up and down them they are much HARDER than they appear.

This is another great state park that features dog friendly hikes, a disc golf course, camping, archery options, and more.

The Sugarloaf Mountain Loop and Shawnee Ridge are my favorite trails. They are steep while short dog friendly hikes! If you love to trail run The Buck Fifty is an overnight relay race through this area of the state that I LOVE!

Fall bandana, fall foliage, fall hiking in Strouds Run State Park in Ohio.

Strouds Run State Park

Couple this state park with time in Athens Ohio. Or combo it with Hocking Hills for two outstanding dog friendly Ohio State Parks for hiking.

The Lakeview and Sundown Trails are my favorites and the parking lot has all the options leading from it. There is also a lake that is the main focus of the park. Fall foliage is especially beautiful here and this park is easily accessed to and from West Virginia.

Caesar Creek State Park

For those close to Cincinnati and Dayton Ohio this park is a winner. Dog friendly hiking trail options, waterfall chasing, swimming, kayaking, tent camping, and cabin options are all available.

When I lived in Columbus Ohio I would stop on the drive to and fro Cincinnati for a quick hike. The campgrounds are all dog friendly at these parks, see your options for Caesar Creek HERE!

Horseshoe Falls is the most popular hiking trail in the park and a great waterfall to witness in person.

John Bryan State Park got a new sign so we took a selfie to celebrate!
Goofing off like dogs and dudes do in John Bryan State Park!

Dog friendly hikes are available in State Parks all over Ohio!

One thing I definitely miss in the state of Ohio is the access to so many different dog friendly hiking options. The West Coast of the US takes more fact checking and research. Ohio had very few limitations and very few large concerns for your dogs safety while hiking (outside of TICKS!)

The next time you are thinking of rushing your drive through this state or you are spending a long gray winter living in Ohio think again! There is a plethora of beauty in its state parks and surrounding areas. And a multitude of ways your four legged companions can join you for the adventures.

Happy Trails and Happy Hiking to you and your Pups!
Thanks for reading and supporting Happy People Hike, comment below with any questions or your favorite dog friendly hikes in the state of Ohio.

Mike R

Mike Rudd

Mike Rudd

Nomad, Dood Dad, Planet Lover. Hashtag59 & Happy People Hike Lead Intern. Freelance Writer and Content Creator. Health and Wellness Curator.

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