Hiking Etiquette (with Dogs)

Hello fellow adventurers!

As much as I like solitude when I hike, it fills my heart with joy to see other people getting outside and being active! From novice hikers to seasoned trekkers, I am so inspired by your willingness to make time on the weekend to go on an adventure. However, I would like to go over some trail etiquette, specifically with those of us with dogs. I want to address some of these common faults so that we can all keep our trails peaceful and beautiful!

  1. Uphill hikers have the right of way- I know it’s so easy to let gravity do its thing and get your momentum going downhill, but remember when you and fido were panting on the hike up? Give those working hard to fight gravity and get to the summit the right of way. This is especially important when you have a dog. Try to shorten the leash as much as possible and maneuver your dog to the side of the trail. Although I have a hard time believing it, not everyone wants to be kissed and greeted by Scout when they’re working hard to get up the trail.
  2. Keep your dog on a leash- I love letting Scout run around in open fields and exploring all of the funky smells (and finding poop…gross). BUT, the trail is not an ideal place to let him off leash because you never know who is not a dog person. You also never know if there are more aggressive dogs just up ahead even if your furry adventure pal is the most friendly guy. I’ve seen my fair share of dog fights that could have been prevented by a leash. Lastly, it’s a safety issue for your dog. There are lots of snakes sunning on/ near trails now that it is summer. Scout has already attempted to put one in his mouth. If your dog is running around, then you can’t stop them from annoying rattlesnakes.
  3. Pack in/ Pack out- If you get as ticked at seeing trash on the trail as I do, then you may have been taught the “leave no trace” principal from a young age. I can’t stress the importance of this rule enough for human trash, but it’s also vital for your doggy doo-doo. You know how you’re supposed to bury your own waste at least 200 ft from a trail? Well, do the same with your dog OR pack it out. Trash and feces along the side of heavily trafficked trails can really ruin the ambiance of a hike. It can also ruin your day to step in dog poo. I guarantee your canine’s poop won’t stink if you double-bag it in some doggie bags. If you are taking responsibility for your dog on the hike, you should take responsibility of ALL parts of your dog.
  4. Be friendly, but ask if your dog can be friends with their dog- Hiking really gets those endorphins pumping, and it’s nearly always a beautiful hiking day if you live in SoCal. It is important to be friendly and say hello to others on the trail- build up the hiking community! When encountering another dog, it’s also polite to ask if your pets can also say hello and meet! I love when Scout makes friends on the trail, but sometimes he gets tired (or the other dog is exhausted) and then he gets moody towards dogs who would normally be his buddies.

This is my short list of dog hiking etiquette. If you have some human hiking friends that maybe bend these rules, then a friendly reminder probably wouldn’t hurt them. If your fur-friend bends these rules, then they don’t really get a choice when you make them follow this etiquette.

Have I missed anything? Please let me know if you think there’s more to address and I’ll add it in!

Thanks for being responsible adventurers!



Tahquitz Peak

Hey Adventurers!

Most people probably think only of hiking San Jacinto peak when they venture into the San Jacinto Mountains, but there are many hiking gems near Idyllwild. I actually prefer to tackle some of those other hikes because you don’t have to commit an entire day or weekend to them (unless, you’re peak bagging, which I completely respect).

One of my favorites is Tahquitz peak. It’s frequented by climbers and lots of locals, and it is 100% dog-friendly! I prefer to hike the South Ridge trail rather than the Devil’s Slide route. You have to get to the the ranger station in Idyllwild pretty early on the weekends in order to get one of the limited permits for Devil’s Slide, and this trail is usually quite crowded. On the other hand, South Ridge trail is typically quieter and the permits are not limited. This trail is about 7 miles out and back, and takes us about 4.5-5 hours with a nice break at the fire tower at the summit. You get nearly constant views of the valleys towards Temecula and Hemet, as well as beautiful views of the southern regions of the mountain range.

Elevation: 8,846′

Difficulty: Moderate-difficult. There is a steady incline, but no tough scrambling.

Scout loves this trail because he doesn’t have to do a lot of rock scrambling, although he is still learning how switchback trails work. He also loves that he can come home and sleep in his own bed instead of camping because this is a shorter day hike, but that definitely depends on my adventure level for the weekend. Overall, this is a great little hike if you need to escape from the SoCal smog and traffic and feel like you can’t dedicate an entire weekend to a trip (or are hungover like I was).

Just remember to keep your dogs on a leash and have your permit with you! Volunteer rangers are often on this trail, and their motives are to keep you and your fur-baby safe.

Have you ever hiked Tahquitz? Maybe try a different trail to the peak next time! Challenge yourself to do a new route. The wonderful thing about this hike is that you don’t even have to summit to get rewarding views.

“Wow mom, is this what flying feels like? Can I have my treats now?”

Meet and Greet

Hi Everyone!

My name is Marissa, and my adventure companion is Scout. He’s a 55-lb kelpie/ cattledog/ german shepherd mix, and the best thing about leading an active lifestyle with him is that he will never complain. Well, he doesn’t as long as I keep giving him treats. I want to share our adventures, experiences, and ideas with you all.

Desert hiking in the SoCal winter.

I am a full-time graduate student, but sometimes I need to actually get outside and feel the endorphin rush from a long run or a gorgeous hike rather than get that rush from some good data in the lab. Scout is an incredible motivator for me to get up and go, even though I often just want to binge-watch The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or do some more data analysis on the weekends.

I think it is incredibly important for people to have a passion outside of grad school or work because sometimes work just is not as fulfilling time to time. Or you just have a bad day. If you feel lost at work and your progress is not where you would like it to be, you can always fall back on the progress you make in your personal life. Hiking, running, yoga, and climbing are my fallbacks when I just can’t seem to get ahead in grad school. The life I lead outside of work fuels my productivity and commitment when I am working. Honestly, I believe I am more motivated and productive at work when I know I have a busy adventure weekend planned.

I spend my weekends with Scout (and my boyfriend). It’s these amazing adventures that pull me through the week, but also give me the power to get up and tackle Mondays. I hope that my fellow dog-parents and adventurers can see a glimpse into my dual life; first, a workaholic scientist, and secondly, an outdoor enthusiast.

Perfectly content on our New Jack climbing trip.

I hope to someday see you and your 4-legged friends on the trail. Happy hiking!


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