Hiking is our escape from the real world.
Not that there’s much of a “real world” when you’re a dog photographer in Spokane and North Idaho. I hesitate to call it work, that’s for sure.
When I need to get out, though, and reconnect with Bella, it’s time for hiking with dogs in North Idaho.
It’s an important time for us to re-establish our bond. Bella needs Mama/outdoor time after long days waiting while I’m stuck behind my computer editing sessions.
I’m reminded of a quote from Melissa Gray, a mental health counsellor I interviewed last fall for one of my Spokesman-Review stories in the Outdoors section, Hiking with dogs: Busy paths underscore need for respectful pack ambassadors.
“We get grounded when we’re out in nature with our dogs,” she said. “There is kind of this oneness with the world. It’s really amazing.”
Grounded, for sure.
I feel like Bella and I have learned to rely on each other while we’re out hiking in North Idaho and our trust for each other has grown deeper, stronger.
In turn, I grow to love her more every day.
Top trails for hiking with dogs in North Idaho
Here are five of our recent favorite trails for hiking with dogs in North Idaho. We even had company for a few of them!
1. Revett Lake
Distance: 3.3 miles
Revett Lake near Murray, Idaho, was my introduction to glacial lake hiking in North Idaho. When you’re hiking with dogs, it’s always a bonus to have a clean water source along the way or as a destination.
I was struck by the giant hill of rocks we had to pass over near the beginning of the trail. I’ve since learned this is called a “talus slope.” Keep an eye on your dog while you’re crossing this spot. The scree can be rough on their paw pads.
It’s a pretty easy walk in the woods for a couple of miles until you get to the lake. The water was pretty high when we were there last summer so there were few places to sit and snack. The big boulders are a great place for my most beautiful adventure dog and photography.
We didn’t explore around the lake too much, which begs a return to poke around and find some spots.
The best places for epic adventure dog photos, though, are along the trail. Like the one just above of Bella on the rock with a gorgeous forest background.
We hit a few hikers on the way down, including a family with some young children. It’s an easy enough trail for them, too.
2. Blossom Lake
Distance: about 6 miles
Bella and I hit the Blossom Lakes trail near Murray, Idaho, for Shep’s Memorial Day last August. I pick something epic to do every August 20 since the first anniversary of the day I lost my bubba.
It was bright and early on a Thursday morning and the storm clouds were hovering. We had the trail all to ourselves on the way up.
It’s a slow, steady climb up to the lake with little challenge.
It’s a short bit more to the Upper Blossom Lake but a friend had just tried going up days before and reported an overpopulation of mosquitos. I asked Bella and she gave me her “nope” look.
We stopped for our snack of beef jerky and cheese and enjoyed the solitude but for the occasional giggles out of a tent on the other side of the lake.
We encountered several groups of adventurers on the way down the trail but that was OK, since we’d already enjoyed our moments of solitude.
3. Mineral Point
Distance: about 4.5 miles
This was a fun hike with our friend Jolene of Heath’s Haven Rescue & Sanctuary and her new adventure dog Eena. The pair signed up for an Adventure Day session through the Paws of the Panhandle book project.
Jolene is a hiker, explorer and all-around adventurer so I thought Mineral Point might be a little too easy for her. However, she was heading in for hip surgery on a torn labrum the next week so she was grateful for the light hike.
Mineral Point is one of two down-and-up trails that make the list for hiking with dogs in North Idaho. And that’s weird because down-and-up isn’t my favorite kind of hike. I mean, you leave the up for last? That’s just nuts. The homestretch should be downhill!
In any case, we were treated to fantastic views of Pend Oreille Lake and made our way down to a beach that’s adjacent to the Green Bay campground. A log and a rock formation jutting out into the lake made for a perfect adventure in dog photography.
Better yet, there was no one to be found. One tent was pitched on the beach but the camper was off enjoying his day somewhere.
4. Gold Hill
Distance: about 6 miles
The Adventure Day sessions are a great way to get to know someone new, that’s for sure! I met Beth and Sami at Gold Hill North Trail for a great day of hiking with dogs in North Idaho.
It’s a pretty easy hike with lots of switchbacks up to an epic viewpoint looking out over Pend Oreille Lake as it heads into Sandpoint. We stuck around that spot for a while to make sure we got some great images of Beth and Sami. Beth was on a timeline to go camping so we didn’t go all the way up to the second bench.
Man, did it get busy on the way downhill. There were lots of people heading up the hill. Thus, I’ll be avoiding a return trip to hit that second viewpoint until the off-season. Maybe even snowshoe season.
5. Evans Landing
Distance: 4 miles
Ah, I just friggin’ love this trail … even if it is another down-and-up. It hasn’t been too heavily trafficked on the days Bella and I have tripped down to Pend Oreille Lake. (I say “tripped” because I am guaranteed every hike to kick at least one rock or exposed root and very ungracefully fight to stop myself from falling arse over tea kettle. I am a klutz.)
The first couple of times Bella and I hit Evans Landing I had an idea. My friend Cat and her adventure dog Newt had signed up for a Paws of the Panhandle session. I pinged her and said “Evans Landing … sunrise.” She was on board.
And honestly, when Cat is on board with something, she is ON BOARD WITH SOMETHING. She’s an all-in kind of gal and I just love her to death.
The day before our hike down to the lake, some pretty fierce winds blew trees down, uprooting them on the trail and forcing us to crawl over, under and through.
It was a blast and Mother Nature did not disappoint with an incredible sunrise followed up by a wash of warm light for golden hour.
Newt, of course, was a perfect model for an adventure in hiking with dogs in North Idaho.
All around the circle
Y’all, this is only scratching the service. We have so many more trails to explore for hiking with dogs in North Idaho. There’s up around Bonners Ferry and Priest Lake. We haven’t even dipped down into the Moscow area to explore the Palouse region.
While Bella and I are carving out days to live deliberately in the woods, let’s go explore the worldwide pet photographers circle where my friends are introducing us to the favorite trails, walks and parks in their neighborhoods.
When you get back to hiking with dogs in North Idaho, you know you’re home.
Right where you belong.
And if you’re ready to hit the trail for an Adventure Day with me, Spokane’s adventure dog photographer, to tell the story of you and your dog hiking together, fill out this easy-peasy form and drop me a message that says “READY!”