One of the activities Luna and I like to do in our free time is exploring the great outdoors. Fortunately Virginia has a decent number of parks and hiking trails. While we are still very far from exploring all that Virginia has to offer, I wanted to share with you where we have already left some foot and paw prints.

Red Rock Overlook Regional Park

Red Rocks (as we like to call it) is a small park located in Leesburg, Virginia. It is actually pretty close to MELT Gourmet Cheeseburgers, which I wrote about earlier this week. The park is great for a short hiking trip as it has multiple short hiking trails and is free to visit. Part of the trail overlooks the Potomac River and there is a bunch of wildlife. Dogs are more than welcome as long as you scoop that poop of course. Be sure to bring some bags because there aren’t any nearby. We have made multiple trips to Red Rocks over the last two years and will definitely go back again!

Luna hikes Red Rock Overlook Regional Park - Hiking in Northern Virginia

Ida Lee Park

Ida Lee Park is also located in Leesburg, Virginia. Growing up I visited Ida Lee fairly frequently, but I didn’t really take advantage of the walking trails until this past weekend. Ida Lee as two pet friendly grass walking trails throughout the park. There are also a few open fields, which are great for some play time or training. We did both!

Luna climbs around at Ida Lee Park - Hiking in Northern Virginia

Bears Den

Bears Den is part of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. It provides hiking trails that connect to the “rollercoaster” region of the Appalachian Trail. Bears Den has some scenic overlooks. It also has a campground and cottages, so it can be used as an over night stop if you are hiking all or part of the Appalachian Trail. There is a small fee of $3 per car to park for the day to help maintain the park. We’ve only been to Bears Den once so far, but will definitely stop by the next time we are in the area.

Luna checks out the view at Bears Den - Hiking in Northern Virginia

Difficult Run Trail

This hiking trail follows none other than Difficult Run in McLean, Virginia. We ended up on this trail when we couldn’t get into Great Falls National Park one weekend. The trail itself is full of wildlife and foliage. There is also a great rock bridge as part of the trail to cross Difficult Run. Difficult Run Trail is free to visit too!

Luna jumps across Difficult Run - Hiking in Northern Virginia

Great Falls National Park

Luna hasn’t actually been to Great Falls National Park, which is in McLean, Virginia, because the wait to get into the park was over an hour long, but I have been several times when I was younger. In addition to great hiking trails, the park has excellent views of the Great Falls in the Potomac River. Because it is a National Park there is a small entrance fee. Also, as we learned, during the summer season the park may be super busy on weekends and holidays, so the line to enter the park may be over an hour long. I’d definitely recommend going on a weekday or arriving early in the morning or later in the evening.

Wildlife seen while hiking in Northern Virginia

If you are looking to branch out of Northern Virginia, I would also recommend two other State Parks.

Westmoreland State Park

Westmoreland State Park was where we had our first camping experience. This State Park has both hiking trails and a beach along the Potomac River. It also has pet friendly camp sites available. We only spent one night there last time, but I would definitely go for a longer trip in the future.

Luna visits the beach at Westmoreland State Park.

Lake Anna State Park

Lake Anna State Park is of course located adjacent to the man made lake, Lake Anna. The park has pet friendly camping sites and cabins, where we spent two nights back in July, in addition to numerous hiking trails. The park also has access to the lake itself with part of it turned into a designated swimming area and beach. Many people come just for the day to swim, relax, and barbeque. This park is also nearby to Lake Anna Winery, which is also pet friendly.

Luna hangs out at Lake Anna Winery

For more photos of our pet friendly hiking and other outdoor fun in Northern Virginia, check out Flickr!

As we explore more places, I’ll be adding them to our Pet Friendly Virginia map. The outdoor activities are in purple.

Learn more about pet friendly fun in Virginia

Where is your favorite spot to hike?

Jessica Shipman

Jessica Shipman

Jessica Shipman is a bargain hunter, food lover, and software engineer figuring out how to be a pet parent for the first time. Jessica has been a long time lover of all animals (especially llamas and manatees) and is happy that she can finally combine that love with technology.
Jessica Shipman
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