Near Highlands, North Carolina, you'll find a trail called Whiteside Mountain. Don't let the seemingly low elevation gain fool you -- this 1.9-mile loop trail is rated as more difficult because it has some very steep inclines in some areas. Dogs are allowed on this trail, but they must be on a leash for their own safety.
The Whiteside Mountain Trail is an astounding landmark with million-year-old rock cliffs more than 4,930 feet high. The trail has plenty of features to appreciate, including informative signage along the way and safety fences lining much of the path, not to mention the breathtaking views at the top. Many hikers complete this path with children, and you'll likely see plenty of other dog walkers along the way, too.
Once you reach the summit, you have the choice to descend via a staircase back down to the base, or turn around and come back the way you came. Most hikers with dogs recommend coming back down the way you came up since this route is much easier with a dog.
Peregrine falcons are often seen around the mountain in spring and summer. They were reintroduced to Whiteside Mountain in 1985 as part of the endangered species program. To protect their habitat, some climbing trails are closed near nesting sights throughout the year. You'll find maps that show any closed paths on the map at the parking lot, so be sure to check this out before you begin your climb.
The views from the top of the Whiteside Mountain Trail are nothing short of incredible, and many hikers pack a lunch or snacks to enjoy at the summit so they can take in the views for longer. At the base of the hike, you'll find basic restrooms and picnic tables. Be sure to use the bathroom before you begin your hike because you won't find any more facilities for the rest of the hike.
Pack water for you and your dog, and be sure to bring a supply of doggie bags for your visit to this incredible trail with your pooch!