The Best Day Hike You Can Take With Your Dog In Virginia

Devil’s Fork Loop Trail
Jefferson National Forest • Fort Blackmore

Old-timers like to say that the hike to the Devil’s Bathtub really used to be beautiful in the days before social media. So many people have posted videos of the magical wanderings in Jefferson National Forest that the trail has become too crowded. Indeed, with only 14 or so parking spots and aggressive towing on surrounding private land, an early weekday start is practically mandatory now that the secret is out.

The main spine of the Devil’s Fork Loop Trail is actually an old rail trail, although it is hard to imagine how narrow gauge trains hauled coal and timber out of this hemlock forest. Sharp eyes may spot an old rail car by the side of the trail spouting vegetation.

The full loop covers seven miles but this is one canine hike that plays better as an out-and-back. The star attraction is the Devil’s Bathtub 1.6 miles from the trailhead. Getting there will take Seaman into the cold Devil’s Fork waters 12 times - and that won’t even be his favorite part of the hike.

Eventually you will reach one of the most gorgeous blue-green swimming holes your dog is likely to jump into. Many people mistakethis crystal pool for the “bathtub” but that phenomenon is actually 500 feet away, up and behind the rocks. You will recognize the distinctive Devil’s Bathtub; swimming is actually more problematic here as it is encased by steep sandstone sides. If that is not enough water time there are those dozen stream crossings on the way back.

HIKING TIME: 2-3 hours

(from the book 300 Day Hikes To Take With Your Dog Before He Tires You Out: Trails where you won’t be able to wipe the wag off your dog’s tail)

 

National Parks with Hiking

Appomattox Court House National Historic Park
Dogs are allowed on the grounds

Booker T.Washington National Monument
Dogs are allowed anywhere in the park

Colonial National Historic Park
Dogs are allowed on the grounds

Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
Dogs are allowed on the trails in this park

George Washington Birthplace National Monument
Dogs are allowed on the grounds

Manassas National Battlefield Park
Dogs are allowed on the trails on the battlefield

Petersburg National Battlefield
Dogs are allowed on the grounds

Prince William Forest Park
Dogs are allowed on the trails in this park

Shenandoah National Park
Dogs are allowed on most of the trails in the park


Hiking With Your Dog In Virginia