8 Ways to Celebrate National Trails Day with Your Dog

Those of us that love to hike with our dogs don’t need much of an excuse to get out on the trails.

However, if you need a little extra motivation, celebrating National Trails Day with your dog might be the extra push you need.

What is National Trails Day?

The American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day ® is a celebration of America’s magnificent Trail System.

The holiday was created to encourage people to discover their local trials, become active concerning trail issues, and share their excitement for the outdoors.

On National Trails Day, the American Hiking Society asks all of us to take a moment to think differently about the places where we recreate – people who worked hard to develop the trails, people hiking on the trails with you, and people hiking on the trail after you.

The holiday always occurs the first Saturday in June.

What Hiking Causes Fire You Up?

Many of the same hiking-related causes people support can also be applied to hiking with dogs.

For example, before I owned a dog, I was an avid hiker and one of the things that made me the most upset was finding trash on the trails.

I would often pick it up on my way out.

Once I became a dog owner, my focus on trash started to include dog poop bags left along the trail.

A few years ago, I organized a group event with a dog hiking club that I run where the focus was cleaning up the trails.

Altogether, we picked up about 3 lbs of trash, enjoyed a beautiful day on the trail with our pups, and enjoyed good human company.

Lake 22 Trail trash

Picking up trash – especially other people’s dog poop bags – might not be your jam but there are several other ways you can celebrate National Trails Day with Your Dog.

The key to making the most of the holiday is finding what causes you are most passionate about – what fires you up.

Ways You Can Celebrate National Trails Day with Your Dog

National Trails Day is primarily about appreciating the outdoors and sharing it with others.

Doing one of these things with your dog is a way to do one, the other, or both.

1) Get out and hike with your dog alone or with a friend

Make a conscious effort to be thankful for the trails existence and the opportunity to enjoy it.

Think of the people who helped create it in the first place, those that help to maintain it, and those that lobby for environmental, public lands, or trail-protection causes.

2) Take a friend and their dog hiking for the first time

Share some of your favorite hiking stories with them, which may include the story of how you got into hiking.

Tell them about how you started hiking with your dog and share some of your best trail dog “lessons learned”.

3) Take your dog on a mission to pick up trash

Grab rubber gloves, a trash bag, and visit a popular trail to clean it up.

Don’t forget to grab those dog poop bags that got left behind.

Putting the full bags inside a Smell Proof Bag (affiliate link) will help contain the smell of the extra stinky ones.

If your dog wears a backpack, they can even help you carry some of the trash out themselves.

4) Go for a bike ride on one of your favorite trails and bring your dog along

If your dog is trained to run by your bike on or off leash (be sure to follow trail rules in regard to leashes), all you have to do is pick a trail and head out.

If you like the idea of biking with your pooch but you’ve never done it before, brush up on these tips for biking with dogs and give it a try for the first time (warning: you may not get very far your first time out).

5) Celebrate trails on social media

Post one of your favorite pictures of you hiking with you dog, or just your dog enjoying nature, on social media.

Include either a short message about the happiness that hiking with your dog brings you or an educational message about one of your favorite trail-related causes.

Note: be sure to follow the Social Media Guidance from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics when posting

6) Join a dog-friendly trail maintenance party

There are different types of trail maintenance parties.

Not all work parties allow dogs to attend but there are definitely some that are dog friendly.

Check Facebook events for your area for the first Saturday in June, or check the National Trails Day events page, and reach out to the organizer to see if you can bring your dog along.

7) Teach your dog trail skills

Go to a local park or trail and practice teaching your dog trail commands.

Some important ones are leave it, sit, and some kind of place command (handy when you want your dog to step aside to let others pass).

Another great thing to work on in social interactions.

If your dog gets upset by other dogs or people, work on reactive dog exercises.

If your dog is the over-exuberant kind, practice calm greetings with other dogs.

8) Capture your dog loving the outdoors

Head to one of your favorite trails with only the intention of taking photos of your dog really enjoying themselves.

This will give you many memories to keep or share to help inspire others to hit the trails with their dog.

One of my best tips for catching your dog in a happy, relaxed state is to sit down on one spot for a bit and wait for your dog to get distracted.

Final Thoughts

The aim of National Trails Day is to encourage people to discover their local trials, become active concerning trail issues, and share their excitement for the outdoors.

There are a lot of ways you can celebrate this holiday.

So, on the first Saturday in June, grab your dog and hit your favorite trail to help pick up trash, take a friend and their dog hiking for the first time, or do any other things on this list.

For more tips, check out my article on capturing amazing photos of your dog for Instagram

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’ve been studying the Dachshund breed since 2007, owned 3 of my own, and shared in the lives of thousands of others through their owner’s stories. When I’m not sharing what I know on this blog, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.

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