girl and dog sitting on a mountain in big bear

Tips for Safe Hiking with your Dog in Big Bear Lake

Posted: 02/25/20

Take on Big Bear hiking with your pooch! Follow these tips for keeping yourself and your doggie safe on the trails.

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Pet Etiquette on the Trails

Dogs can make the perfect companion for an afternoon hike on the trails. Exposure to the sights and smells of the wilderness can is invigorating and plays to your dog’s natural instincts. However, proper etiquette on the trails is essential for the safety and enjoyment of yourself, your dog, and other trail users. It is your responsibility to ensure your dog is properly trained to obey commands. Encounters with wildlife can be dangerous for both you and your pooch if your dog decides to chase other animals or become aggressive with other dogs.

Dogs sitting on rocks

The American Kennel Club calls on hikers with dogs to abide by the National Parks B.A.R.K. Rule which also applies to our San Bernardino National Forest trails.

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The National Forest Service allows for dogs in wilderness areas, though they must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet and under your control at all times.

Dogs are prohibited in the San Jacinto State Park Wilderness.

The AKC also reminds hikers to be diligent about keeping their pooches hydrated and protected from harsh weather and terrain.

Overly hot weather should be avoided, as dogs are much more susceptible than humans to the dangers of excessive heat. It’s also essential that you take water for your dog. Dogs don’t sweat the way humans do. Panting is their main method for keeping cool, putting them at a higher risk of overheating than you when on the trail. Plus, if you don’t bring water for your dog to drink, you risk your dog drinking from ponds, streams, or standing pools of water, which can carry a high risk. American Kennel Club
A dog rests on a hike in Big Bear Lake

Always hike with a supply of:

  • Poop bags
  • A collar with ID tags and a sturdy 6-foot leash
  • Water supply and a portable water bowl
  • Dog food and/or snacks
  • A pet first aid kit
  • Pet-safe insect repellent
  • A dog life vest for added swimming safety
  • It is not recommended to let your dog drink from Big Bear Lake or other water bodies.
  • Dog booties for hiking in rough terrain and on hot asphalt

And make sure that if you Pack It In, you need to also Pack It Out! Protect our environment and do not leave trash, excrement or other debris in the wilderness.

Rattlesnake Safety

In the warmer months, rattlesnakes can pose a threat to dogs - and humans! - out on the trails. It’s worth investing in rattlesnake aversion training to help protect your pooch from snake attacks. Here are some snake info and aversion training websites to get you started: