pet friendly cabins in virginia: the Blue Ridge Mountains With Your Four-Legged Companion

With boundless nature and hiking trails nearby, including dog-friendly routes along lakes and waterfalls, a massive dog park in Staunton, and many local pup-loving establishments and events, Love Ridge makes it easy and fun to bring your furry friend along for your getaway to our pet friendly cabins in Virginia. We welcome dogs in four of our cabins: White Rock, Meadow Mountain, Spy Rock, each sleeping 4, and Sherando, the largest, with space for 12 people. Your pup will love hiking around on our property and relaxing on the deck of your cabin while options abound for fun-filled doggie day trips along the Blue Ridge Parkway, starting with trails and ending with treats. 

Man stroking his old loyal labrador retriever

Paws on the Trails  – Sprawling National Forests, Epic Waterfalls, and Relaxing by a Lake

With easily accessible trails from our pet friendly cabins in Virginia, head out with your dog on hiking outings, enjoying the natural beauty in our backyard. Less than a mile from your Love Ridge mountain cabin, Love Gap provides easy access off the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Appalachian Trail, along which leashed dogs are permitted. The wide trail offers plenty of space and stable footing, and because it’s an out-and-back route, you can go for a more extended 4-mile outing up to Bee Mountain or turn around whenever your pup wants to head back. 

Another option about 2 miles from Love Ridge and within the boundaries of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests – where dogs are allowed on trails as long as they are on leashes –is the White Rock Falls Loop. We recommend parking at White Rock Gap, about 4.5 miles staying relatively high on the ridge. A little further is the adventurous trail leading up to Crabtree Falls, one of the area’s most breathtaking and rewarding hikes. The complete trail loop is just under 3 miles, but you’ll reach the first view of the waterfall within minutes along a paved pathway. If you and your dog are ready for the challenge, continue and enjoy the climb upward as you come upon several cascading falls. There can be icy patches throughout the wintertime, especially after a snowstorm, but it’s one of our fave winter hikes, and the colder months are an excellent time of year to avoid the crowds that peak at this trail during the summer.

We’re fortunate to have the “jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains,” Sherando Lake, just 10 minutes away and practically next door below the ridgeline. If your dog loves being near the water, they’ll be thrilled with the sandy shoreline and shallow waters of Sherando’s lower lake, which is over 25 acres and perfect for a day of relaxation in a gorgeous setting. Although dogs aren’t allowed at the main swimming beach, follow the Lakeside Trail around the water, where you can find other little coves and beaches to post up for the afternoon. Park regulations stipulate that dogs remain leashed at all times and under your control. Bring your pup to the smaller upper lake via the Upper Lake Trail if you’re into fishing. Fed by the fresh spring waters of Back Creek, Upper Lake is one of the best local fishing spots and is excellent for catching trout, bass, bluegill, and catfish. For a fun outing from Sherando, hike up to White Rock Gap with your pup and have a friend meet you in the car. 

Pet Friendly Cabins in Virginia, Sprawling Dog Park, Browsing the Farmers Market, and Tasty Nibbles From a Unique Dog Store

Plan to spend a day in Staunton, less than 40 minutes north from our pet friendly cabins in Virginia, where you’ll have several choices for planning a dog-friendly day in and around their quaint downtown. Start the morning with a visit to the Gypsy Hill Dog Park, which takes the idea of a dog park to another level. Unlike other dog parks that are merely a tiny fenced-in square portion of the grass, Gypsy Hill is huge, with ladders, tunnels, and courses for your dog to tackle and separate zones for small and larger-sized pups. Little touches like a water fountain made specifically for dogs add to the charm, and a lake right next door makes for a scenic backdrop. If you’re on a Virginia family trip with kids or teens, they’ll have a blast on the playground and skatepark in the park, making for an ideal family outing.

Then head into downtown Staunton, where you’ll find the Farmers Market in the Wharf Lot every Saturday morning from spring to fall. The market welcomes dogs on leashes, with the first market of 2024 kicking off the season on April 6th. Browse the local vendors and enjoy the live music as warmer days arrive in the spring and summer. After the market, head across the street to the Well-Balanced Paw, one of the most unique and delightful pet shops you’ll find anywhere. The owner is trained in small-animal massage therapy and offers massage to pups, while their selection of all-natural snacks is a far cry from the mass-produced and preservative-packed treats at grocery stores. Choose from their “raw bar,” which includes artisanal choices like yak milk chews, cow hooves, chicken feet, and salmon skins – canine snacks, as nature intended them, a rare treat for your dog. Stroll a block down to the Byers Street Bistro – where their outdoor patio allows dogs – and share crab cakes or one of their gourmet pizzas (like shrimp pesto or the vegetarian-friendly Happy Hippie)

Cabins in Virginia - family with a pet dog
Cabins in Virginia - girls hanging outside with a dog

Bringing Your Dog on the AT in Shenandoah National Park and Pints, Paws, and Trail Time in Charlottesville

On a different day, combine a scenic 45-minute drive from our pet friendly cabins in Virginia to Charlottesville with a hike at the halfway point, near where the Blue Ridge Parkway meets Highway 64. Enter Shenandoah National Park at Rockfish Gap and after just a 10-minute drive on Skyline Drive, park at McCormick Gap, where you can access the Appalachian Trail (known colloquially as the AT). Between McCormick and Beagle Gap, you’ll traverse near Bear Den Mountain and Calf Mountain, reaching nearly 3,000 feet elevation, with spectacular views as you climb. Of the 500+ miles of trails within Shenandoah, leashed dogs are permitted on all but 20 miles, making it one of the most dog-welcoming national parks in the country, and it’s not uncommon to see Appalachian Trail thru-hikers with dogs along for the journey.

Continue to Charlottesville to one of several pup-loving breweries and distilleries that make up the Ale Trail. At Three Notch’d Brewery, their outdoor patio converts into Pups and Pints on Sundays, when they offer special menu deals, and the heated outdoor space is full of friendly human and canine mingling alike. Sip on one of their impressive 30 beers on tap (including everything from hazy double IPAs and fruited sours to dry cream stouts and local ciders) while munching on half-off apps like pretzel bites, fried pickles with chipotle aioli and spiced sweet potato fries. Afterward, wander next door and check out the art sculptures and public installations at IX Art Park, one of Charlottesville’s hippest spots.

For a trail outing in Charlottesville, bring your dog for a walk or run along the Rivanna Trail, which follows the path of the Rivanna River through the center of town. Start at Riverview Park, which lives up to its name with beautiful river views and where portions of the walking trail permit dogs off-leash on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Plan your stay in our pet friendly cabins in Virginia, where your pup will love the adventurous days and mellow evenings at Love Ridge!

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