Clocking in at over 10,000 acres, Dupont State Forest just south of Asheville is a hiker’s paradise. This park is home to one of the largest, most well-maintained trail systems in southeastern North Carolina. The broad, graveled paths that connect the many waterfalls, lakes, and mountain vistas make it a terrific place for taking your dogs for a fun day outdoors. After a few visits, this state park is likely to become your go-to place for enjoying nature with your dogs. We’ve highlighted a few of our favorite hikes below.
Dense Lake and Lake Alford – Easy and Scenic.
A short, half-mile start on the Three Lakes Trail right off Joanna Rd. connects these two two mountain lakes. The trail is pretty level and doesn’t require any significant up or downhill hiking. Both lakes are surrounded by towering pine trees and have amazingly clear water. They both also have short piers that extend into the lakes and offer a unique vantage point for enjoying the scenery. Lake Dense offers great views of Joanna Mountain in the distance! Stop and turn around when you reach Lake Alford unless the Three Lakes Trail is open to Lake Julia and you feel up to a longer, more strenuous hike.
Bridal Veil Falls – Intermediate Trail to Amazing Falls!
Bridal Veil Falls Rd. will lead you to a short trail that accesses Bridal Veil Falls. Like the name implies, this broad, rather tall waterfall looks a bit like a bridal veil. The falls is located at the edge of dense forest, so it’s a cool, shady place to be on a warmer day. This trail is a little steeper than the Dense lake and Lake Alford, but doable for most people.
High Falls – Strenuous but Spectacular!
High Falls is the tallest waterfall in the park and one of the tallest in southeastern North Carolina. It can be accessed by hiking the Triple Falls Trail to where it connects to the High Falls Trail. It’s nearly four miles with most of it uphill. But the views are more than worth it. Attempt this trail only if you and your pup are in excellent condition!
As always, when hiking be sure to bring plenty of water for you and your dog. Hiking with a friend or family member is always a great idea. Keep your dog on a leash for their safety when you’re visiting the park. If you go alone, let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return. Refer to the official trails map and be sure to ask the park ranger on duty any questions before leaving.