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Shoreline Trail: A walk along the lake for dog photos

    senior Lab swimming in Lake Pend Oreille

    From the minute I saw Buttonhook Bay, I knew it was going to be one of my favorite spots for dog photos.

    Buttonhook Bay is on the Shoreline Trail at Farragut State Park in North Idaho and there’s one word that comes to mind: perfection.

    scenic view of buttonhook bay along the shoreline trail at Farragut State Park in Idaho
    Buttonhook Bay at Farragut State Park

    I shot that image the first time I really saw Buttonhook Bay, hunting locations for great dog photos. That was way back in 2018 when I was just getting started with dog photography.

    Now I’ve done a few sessions there, including a couple for Paws of the Panhandle, and I know I’ll keep going back.

    Along the Shoreline Trail

    There are a few access points to Shoreline Trail, probably the most popular of the hiking trails (it’s a good idea to stop at the visitor center and pick up a Farragut State Park map).

    I like to meet my clients at either the boat launch or the Beaver Bay Swimming Area parking lot. Buttonhook Bay is a bit of a hoof — about 2 miles — but that’s part of the fun, isn’t it? It also gives a chance to get an epic shot of your dog on this rock:

    hiking with dogs in north idaho
    Bella on my favorite rock at Farragut State Park
    heeler posing for dog photos along shoreline trail at Farragut state park
    Newt on my favorite rock at Farragut State Park

    Well, yeah, we all have a favorite rock, don’t we? Oh just me? OK, carry on …

    There’s lots of grassy areas, too, especially near the playgrounds where we can go for a more classic type of portrait.

    black Lab poses near the campgrounds at Farragut in North Idaho
    Regal Reagan

    And please note while Farragut State Park is a dog-friendly area, dogs are not allowed in the Beaver Bay swimming area. You can access Shoreline Trail from the parking lot but please please please stay off the beach area.

    You do risk getting a finger wag from a park ranger, even in February when there’s no one around. I won’t tell you how I know this.

    The entire park is also a leash-required and that’s where Photoshop skills come in handy.

    From the Farragut boat launch

    I freakin’ love jumping in the water and playing with your dogs. I might shoot “blind,” meaning I’ll lower my camera to water level and let the shutter release button rip. You’ll first hear the whirr of my D500 and then me squealing or muahahahaing because I know I just got your dog having his Best. Day. Ever.

    And yes, I am usually up to my arse in the water, too.

    spaniel playing in Lake Pend Oreille along Shoreline Trail
    Zoe having a Best. Day. Ever.

    There are all kinds of spots to jump in the water along the Shoreline Trail. Now mind you, when the water level in the lake is low, like through the winter months, the beach is very rocky and navigating a stroll to the water can make you feel like you’ve had a few beers.

    And the views of the Selkirk mountains on the other side of Lake Pend Oreille are breathtaking.

    At Buttonhook Bay

    Once we make our way along Shoreline Trail to Buttonhook Bay, that’s when the real work begins … at least for me anyway. One of my priorities during your dog’s portrait session is to make it fun and relaxing for everybody.

    Buttonhook Bay has three key features for me: the boat docks with a woodsy background, the quaint little bridge and the beach with epic mountain views.


    1. Docks

    docks at Buttonhook Bay
    Maverick the corgi at Buttonhook Bay
    Maverick on the docks

    2. Bridge

    man and his boston terrier on a walking bridge at Farragut State Park
    Jonathan and his “ride or die,” Badger

    3. Beach

    boston terrier at Buttonhook Bay

    In the spring, we might also find a few spots with wildflowers but my most recent clients were really more interested in me getting great photos of their dogs playing in Lake Pend Oreille.

    Because it’s way more fun than sitting a dog in a patch of flowers. After all, jumping in the water is your dog doing dog things and that’s how we want to remember our adventures together.

    I mean, do they look happy? Nope.

    corgi in patch of North Idaho wildflowers
    Grumpy Maverick
    Maremma sheepdog in North Idaho wildflowers
    Grumpy Bella

    All around the circle

    Isn’t Farragut State Park stunning?

    It’s just one of the locations this adventure dog photographer loves to go.

    Our pet photographers blog circle is highlighting our favorite locations this week and I can’t wait to see all the spots they love to go.

    Let’s head to Steeltown, USA, to visit my friend Jessica Wasik with Bark & Gold Photography who returns to Mingo Creek Park for a pit bull session celebrating rescued love.

    When you get to the bottom of her post, click the next link in the circle and then keep going until you find yourself back here to working with reactive dogs at locations in Spokane and North Idaho. That’s when you know you’re home.

    Right where you belong.

    And then head here so we can get started on planning your session at Buttonhook Bay!


    Dogs. Adventure. Outdoors. These words set Angela's heart afire. Angela Schneider, an award-winning writer and dog photographer, documents the story of you and your dog and the adventures you take together. Your portraits will be a statement piece in your home, art that will make your friends and family beg to hear its story.

    8 thoughts on “Shoreline Trail: A walk along the lake for dog photos”

      1. That one wooden dock is just so quaint and lovely! There are two newer metal ones next to it but I can’t bring myself to use them because they’re so boring looking. 😀

    1. I love docks, but unfortunately, we don’t have many parks with dock options. The name Shoreline Trail speaks volumes about what greatness you would find there.

    2. My goodness—the water, the trees, the fun features…I’d be all over this if I lived where you do! It’s a great spot and I’m sure your clients love it there.

    3. I LOVE the idea of a 2 mile hike- how fun! I wish everyone was interested in that! 🙂 What and absolutely gorgeous place. Loving the rustic bridge for sure. Thanks for sharing this beauty with us!

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