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Help us hike with our dog in Pennsylvania next week!
December 21, 2012 3:08 PM   Subscribe

Help us hike with our dog in Pennsylvania! We'll be driving from NJ to Chicago in the last week of December, and would love to stop somewhere along the way for a few days of hiking.

We tend to enjoy what park maps usually call moderate trails that take a couple hours. Dog is mid-sized - 45 pounds and pretty fit and agile.

We know we'll have to go off I-80 and we're fine with that - it doesn't have to be easy-on/easy-off. We were thinking of the Allegheny National Forest or some of the state parks in that area, but are looking for recommendations for specific trails/areas and towns to stay that would make a good base. Bonus points for a nice-ish town, but we can stay in a pet-friendly Super 8 on a strip if necessary. We're also open to Ohio or anywhere else en route to Chicago. Thanks in advance for your wisdom, hive mind!
posted by walla to Travel & Transportation around Pittsburgh, PA (6 answers total)
 
I'll let a local answer with location suggestions but I would like to point out that deer season (rifle) in Pennsylvania extends into January in some WMAs. That's not a reason to not hike, but it is a reason to wear blaze orange (vests and caps for humans and a vest for the dog) and use common sense.

I hike all winter in wilderness areas with my dog and encounter hunters from time to time. Never had a problem with 'em but I like to be obvious that we're not bambis.
posted by workerant at 3:30 PM on December 21, 2012


That's a great point, thanks, workerant! Being city folk ourselves, we wouldn't have thought of it. Adorable dog!!!!
posted by walla at 3:36 PM on December 21, 2012


State College would be a good base for you. It's essentially right on I-80.

The Days Inn in town allows dogs. You have a number of State Parks, State Game Lands and State Forests are nearby. All of these types of land are open for hunting (only portions of the State Parks, but the more remote areas typically are open). Bear Meadows Natural Area is a great hike for a dog (I'm doing on Sunday with mY dog and kid on the way out east). Black Moshannon SP is always good. Bald Eagle SP has some great hiking trails as well.

Also, no hunting in PA on Sundays.
posted by buttercup at 4:03 PM on December 21, 2012


I bet you'd like Wellsboro. It's about an hour north of I-80 though. It has small-town charm and a nearby attraction is the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, with hiking. See info here.
posted by scratch at 4:28 PM on December 21, 2012


S. B. Elliot State Park is right off of I-80 near Clearfield. There are some nice but sometimes steep trails there. Last time I was there, not all the trails were well marked.


Parker Dam State Park
is just a few miles north of S. B. Elliot and has more trails including a link to the Quehanna Trail.

I have no idea what the regulations are regarding dogs in the parks.
posted by maurice at 5:04 PM on December 21, 2012


Howabout the Indiana Dunes? off I-90/94, which is an hour outside of Chicago. Dogs allowed most everywhere, if I recall... it's more of a few hours of hiking, not a few days, but it's pretty swell at any time of year.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:02 PM on December 21, 2012


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