This pawtastic multi-use trail has a variety of ratings, from the simple "hard" to "black diamond", depending on the source and the context. The terrain can be steep, and there's some serious elevation gains between the trailhead and the peak, which is the summit of Nelson Ridge. The view from the top is absolutely breathtaking. In season, you'll find a myriad of wildflowers. If you choose to tackle the climb in snow shoes, you'll have a gorgeous view of the frozen valley around the snowy peak. The trail may be tough, but the going is smooth, and is primarily hard packed dirt. Wear sturdy shoes (whatever season) and avoid going after a heavy rainfall, as the trail can turn to mud in the wrong conditions.
Your dog will have to stay on leash while you tackle the trail, and with plenty of reason! The path is used for hikers and dog walkers, but it's also very popular with mountain bikers. Equestrians can also use the trail. You don't want your dog to startle a horse--or vice versa! Keeping your dog on leash ensures everyone's safety.
You should prepare for an all day hike. Bring plenty of water for you and your dog. Snacks will help keep your energy up as well. This trail is out in the wilderness, and there won't be a snack shack along your way!
If you and your dog think you can go the distance, take the Nelson Ridge NRT 186 challenge!