You will find Asheville and many places in the North Carolina mountains to be very pet friendly. Since so many travelers bring along their canine companions, here are some helpful tips and resources.
In addition to parks, there are many pet friendly businesses in downtown Asheville. See our top places to visit on the Dog City USA trail. During warmer months, many restaurants, breweries and coffee shops have outdoor dining that welcome dogs. Walk the Urban Trail with your dog. Most festivals do not allow dogs since areas can be very crowded.
Pets at Biltmore Estate
The grounds of Biltmore Estate are perfect for walking your pets, but please make sure to keep them securely leashed at all times. Naturally, pets are not allowed inside Biltmore House or other estate buildings such as the winery, restaurants, and shops.
Pet Friendly Shopping Center
At Asheville Outlets, shop 75 national and local outlets in this beautiful outdoor shopping village. It's located on I-26, just six miles from Biltmore and seven miles from downtown Asheville. The common areas are very dog friendly (stores vary).
One of Asheville's most beautiful parks, the French Broad River Park meanders alongside the tranquil French Broad River, and features a vast area of open green space with old trees, a wildflower garden, a paved trail, a gazebo, picnic tables and grills, an observation deck, and a small playground. The Dog Park features a large fenced-in one acre area made for exercising and socializing your pooch! Water and poop bags provided. Located at Amboy Rd. and Riverview Dr. in west Asheville, not too far from Biltmore Estate. From the Biltmore Village area, take a left on Meadow Drive.
New in 2017 is a very fun, quirky small museum packed with 10,000+ curiosities that "CatMan2" has collected for the past 30 years. Located near Dillsboro, it funds a nearby no-kill cat shelter. Read more about the American Museum of the House Cat.
Pet Friendly Cabins & Hotels
Tip for Lodging: Call and ask plenty of questions about pet policies/fees, facilities and places to walk your pet. Ask about pet sitters (avoid leaving your dog alone in a strange room). Keep your pet leashed outdoors and in all public areas.
Campground for Dogs: 4 Paws Kingdom Campground near Rutherfordton is the first and only dog-dedicated campground (campers & RVs) with a fenced-in swimming pond, off-leash play areas, agility park, doggie bathhouse and more. If you don't have a RV or camper, rent one or a cabin. It's like summer camp for dogs! Adult owners only - 18 years or older.
Hiking with Dogs
With the exception of hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, dogs are allowed on a leash on almost all trails in the national forests and Blue Ridge Parkway. This includes most all of the hikes and waterfalls we feature! Here are more details:
Dogs on the Blue Ridge Parkway: In addition to being a great place for a dog to hang its head out the window and enjoy the fresh mountain air, dogs are allowed on the more than 100 varied trails throughout the Blue Ridge Parkway. Dogs and other pets must be on a leash or under physical restraint at all times while along the Parkway.
Dogs on Hiking Trails in the National Forests: You can take your dog on any of the hiking trails in the Pisgah National Forest and Nantahala National Forest, including to most waterfalls. Be extra careful of letting your dogs get into the water of a rushing stream or waterfall! Dogs may not be left unattended, and they must be leashed and cleaned up after. Dogs are not allowed in buildings. The camping and tent areas also allow dogs. Read more about camping.
Dogs in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Dogs are allowed in campgrounds, picnic areas, and along roads, but must be kept on a leash at all times. The leash must not exceed 6 feet in length. Dogs are only allowed on two short walking paths—the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail. Pets are not allowed on any other park trails. Pet excrement must be immediately collected by the pet handler and disposed of in a trash receptacle. Pets should not be left unattended in vehicles or RVs. Large national parks that have extensive backcountry areas as a rule do not allow dogs on trails. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has prohibited dogs in the backcountry since the park was first established in the 1930s. The park prohibits dogs on hiking trails for several reasons:
- Dogs can carry disease into the park's wildlife populations.
- Dogs can chase and threaten wildlife, scaring birds and other animals away from nesting, feeding, and resting sites. The scent left behind by a dog can signal the presence of a predator, disrupting or altering the behavior of park wildlife. Small animals may hide in their burrow the entire day after smelling a dog and may not venture out to feed.
- Dogs bark and disturb the quiet of the wilderness. Unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells can disturb even the calmest, friendliest, and best-trained dog, causing them to behave unpredictably or bark excessively.
- Pets may become prey for larger predators such as coyotes and bears. In addition, if your dog disturbs and enrages a bear, it may lead the angry bear directly to you. Dogs can also encounter insects that bite and transmit disease and plants that are poisonous or full of painful thorns and burrs.
Dog City USA
Take a downtown Asheville tour with your dog, starting with the Doggie Welcome Center, then to a bakery, and have lunch from a dog menu! Read more about Dog City USA.
Pet Rescue and Adoption
Asheville Humane Society is dedicated to the respectful, humane treatment of animals and to providing helpful animal services to the people of our community.
Brother Wolf Animal Rescue: Visit their community adoption center and Second Chance thrift store, located at 31 Glendale Avenue in Asheville, seven days a week (Monday-Saturday from 8am-8pm, Sunday 8am-6pm) with many cats and dogs looking for homes.