The largest national forest in Montana is called Beaverhead-Deerlodge, and it sits on more than 3.35 million acres of land. In that space, there are all sorts of activities, including hiking, camping, and swimming. There are several trails for hikers to choose from within the park. One dog-friendly option is known as the Haystack Mountain Trail. This 3.6-mile out-and-back trail is rated as difficult, and your dog can complete it with you if they remain on a leash.
The Haystack Mountain Trail is loved for many reasons. One thing visitors can't get enough of is the panoramic views you'll get of Elk Park, Delmoe Lake, and the Boulder River Valley from the top. While the hike is challenging at some points, the views are well worth it, and a hike that your dog can join you for is always fun!
Your hike begins with a series of switchbacks through densely wooded areas. You'll get a few moments of reprieve on some flat ground where you can catch your breath or stop for a water break. On that note, be sure to pack lots of water for you and your dog to drink during your hike. Hikers appreciate that the trail is well-maintained and easy to navigate the whole way through.
If you pack a lunch, plan to eat it at the summit, where you can recharge and take in the views while you eat. The descent is relatively easy, but it can be a bit taxing on your knees in certain places. If you'd like to try the trail during the winter, be sure to bring snowshoes. Some visitors also use snowmobiles on the path. If you plan to snowmobile, follow the orange signs, rather than the blue signs you follow on foot.
There are different parking lots in the National Forest, and you can pay $5 for a daily pass or $35 for an annual permit.This strenuous and scenic hike is a pawfect way to spend some quality time with your pooch in Montana!