Show me a better walking companion than your dog. With bundles of energy, 4-leg active stability and tongue-regulated climate control, dogs are made for the trail.

 

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Country on which this adventure takes place who have occupied and cared for this land and water for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

But deep down, beneath their silly grins, dogs are predators and just a whiff of them can freak out our native species, so they’re forbidden in National Parks. Don’t lose hope though! We’ve sniffed out the best dog friendly walks in and around Sydney. Just don’t forget the Schmackos!

Looking to camp with your pooch? Read: Where’s The Best Dog-Friendly Camping In NSW?

Walking With Your Dog

Just like humans, Fido should keep to the track to minimise his impact. Just because it’s a dog-friendly walk doesn’t mean your dog can run wild; if you’re in doubt keep that leash clipped. A plastic bag is also essential, you can’t leave doggo’s waste in the bush.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

 

Dog Friendly Walks to Sydney’s West

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Blue Mountains was just one big national park, but if you know where to look you’ll find a bunch of dog-friendly walks. Some even have waterfalls!

1. Minnehaha Falls

Distance: app. 1km
Closest town: Katoomba

Minnehaha Falls is just out of Katoomba. It’s about a kilometre to the falls, but it’s a pretty steep drop into the valley so give yourself a few hours. The cascade begins at the end of a gorge and drops 20 metres to the deep pool below.

Minnehaha Falls might not be suitable for smaller dogs because of large steps and a metal staircase on the descent, you’ll also want to keep the leash on near the cliff edges. If your pooch can make it though, #waterfallchasing with your dog doesn’t get much better.

2. Little Zig Zag to Reinitz Pass

Distance: 3km
Closest town: Mt Victoria

This dog-friendly track drops into the Kanimbla Valley behind the quaint township Mt Victoria. It sees the Bushrangers Cave and Pulpit Rock Reserve along a three-hour route, with some clifftop walking and views across the valley to round it off.

 

Courtney Dawson, dog, lookout, water, running, view, dog friendly walks

Relaxing near the water with a dog called Toast | @courrtycub

3. Berghofers Pass

Closest town: Mount Victoria

Heading down out of the western side of the Blue Mountains you drive over this awesome bit of road called the Victoria Pass Viaduct; it’s a stone structure that leaves you suspended above the ridgeline. Back in the day, Victoria Pass was too steep for cars so Berghofer built a new road. Now it’s a cracker historic walk and it’s dog friendly!

4. South Lawson Waterfall Circuit

Distance: 3km
Closest town: Hazelbrook

Three kilometres, four waterfalls. That’s a pretty excellent cascade density even before you find out that it’s a dog-friendly walk. Finish up with a coffee in Wentworth Falls and you’ll be cheering, just go easy on the pupacinos.

5. Horseshoe Falls Track

Distance: 2km
Closest town: Hazelbrook

The Horseshoe Falls Track links a series of tranquil, mossy falls in the bushland behind Hazelbrook. This is a walk for dogs and owners who don’t mind getting a little wet and aren’t afraid of some slippery rocks and large steps. Sorry puppies, you’ll have to grow into those feet first.

 

tom darley, maggie the dog, water, beach, dog friendly walks

Maggie enjoying a dog friendly beach | Tom Darley

Dog Friendly Walks to Sydney’s South

6. Kiama Coast Walk

Distance: 22km
Closest Town: Kiama

How about a sea change? 22 kilometres of it to be exact. The Kiama Coast Walk winds south from the head of the Minnamurra River, along the coast all the way to Gerringong. Along the way you’ll see the epic Cathedral Rocks and Kiama Blow Hole, not to mention ocean views for days. Most of the walk is dog friendly, but they’re forbidden on some beaches.

7. Abrahams Bosom Reserve

Distance: 9km
Closest town: Currarong

Don’t know who Abraham is, but if nestling in his bosom means coastal panoramas for dog and I, count me in. There’s a short dog-friendly walk to the wreck of the S.S. Merimbula that you can extend with a climb up to the trig station; it’s a solid 9km trek so make sure you haven’t been skipping walkies.

8. Belanglo, Wingello, and Penrose State Forests

State Forests are well-known dog-walking hotspots, but it’s not every day you get a trifecta like this. These three dog-friendly state forests create a real choose-your-own-adventure situation with hundreds of crisscrossing trails and camping available.

These state forests are also excellent for mountain biking, or even an overnight dog-bike-packing odyssey. You might even witness some dog-sledding, Aussie style.

 

rebecca d'arcy, wingello state forest, dog, camping, dog friendly walks

Rebecca D’Arcy went camping with her pup Henry in Wingello State Forest! | @beccdar

Dog Friendly Walks to Sydney’s North

9. Arboretum Loop Trail – Strickland State Forest

Distance: 2.3km
Closest town: Gosford

Arboretums are like ancient tree museums and this one dates back to 1887! This arboretum contains native and introduced trees of all sorts within an eerie rainforest setting. At 2.3km, this loop in the Strickland State Forest is perfect for a fresh morning out with your wet-nosed pal.

10. Hunter Lookout and Great North Walk Loop – Heaton State Forest

Distance: 6km
Closest town: Freemans Waterhole

This dog-friendly walk is a perfect loop track for a tough day out, or a fun trail run if your furry friend has a bit too much energy. The track links up the Mcleans and Hunter lookouts with sections of the Great North Walk over nearly 6km. On this trail you’ll see majestic gums, trickling creeks and overhanging sandstone caves.

Dog Friendly Walks in Sydney

11. Narrabeen Lagoon Bush Trail

Distance: 8.4km
Suburb: Narrabeen

Fancy an entire lap of the Narrabeen Lagoon? Keen beans can do an 8.4 kilometre loop of this beachside inlet, lapping up cultural, historical, and ecological knowledge along the way. That’s if you can slow down your canine cousin for a few minutes. It’s a shared dog-friendly trail so if you’re good at holding a leash in one hand and handlebars in the other, go wild!

 

miranda fitzgerald, rox, dog, sunset, water, silhouette, dog friendly walks

Miranda with Rox after a hard day’s walk | @kepiscott

12. Lake Parramatta Circuit

I always feel that decommissioned dams-come-recreation-areas are like some kind of natural gentrification project. But hey I love gentrification, it gives us trendy warehouse cafes, and you know what else you find at cafes? Dogs. Nice.

Lake Parramatta circuit is 4.2km long and offers a fantastic cross-section of Australian flora in the geographical heart of Sydney. Beats hitting the pavement!

13. Burraga Loop Track – Bidjigal Reserve

Distance: 4km
Suburb: Baulkham Hills

Bidjigal Reserve is named after the Bidjigal clan of the Darug people, in fact Burraga is the Darug word for bandicoot. The reserve was created to protect the Aboriginal heritage of the area, as well as the diverse wildlife within. The Burraga Loop Track is a dog-friendly walk and at 4km, it’s a perfect escape from the city without ever having to leave.

 

Feature photo by Jon Harris