Where To RUFF It
Lucky we live Hawaii, eh? But where do we take our dogs for hiking, playing at the beach, or strolling in a park? Click on the links below to see descriptions and photos and what you need to know before you go:
Ala Kahakai Trail (south of Spencer Beach Park) – **PLEASE READ 4/6/16 UPDATE**
Pololu Trail (hiking & camping)
1871 Trail to Ki’ilae Village (from Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park)
Paws University (Yappy Hour) – Most Sundays (10-11:30 am – Small Shy Dogs; 11:30 am-1:00 pm – Big Puppies/Shy Dogs; 1:00-2:30 pm – Big Dogs) – All dogs must be pre-screened. $10/Yappy Hour.
Manini Beach (South Kona)
Pebble Beach (South Kona)
Pu’u Wa’awa’a Forest Reserve – Halapepe Trail (is currently the only trail that allows dogs)
Hawaii Island Humane Society BARK PARK (Kailua-Kona)
Animal Community Center (Keauhou) – UNDER CONSTRUCTION. ESTIMATED OPENING: WINTER 2016!
Gilbert Carvalho Park**
Machado Acres Park**
University Heights Park**
**In 2014, the County ran a “trial program” to allow leashed dogs at the above four County parks. It was a success, and all four parks are now permanently open to dogs and their responsible dog owners, as long as they follow the rules: 1) Dogs wear up-to-date license dog tags, 2) leashed at all times on no longer than a 6 foot leash, and 3) pick up after our dogs.
Let’s continue to respect the rules, so that this can be considered in other County parks. It is up to all of us to show we can be responsible dog owners. Mahalo to everyone who helped make this a success! Hilo side dog owners asked the County Parks & Recreation Department for dog-friendly places to walk their dogs, and the County graciously made it happen. Mahalo!
Reed’s Bay County Beach Park (NO DOGS ALLOWED) – We are listing this because there’s a misconception that this park allows dogs, but the County of Hawaii has confirmed (5/16/16) that no dogs (except for service dogs, as permitted by law) are permitted in this park or any other Hawaii County beach park.
Ha’ena Beach (Shipman Beach) – also called “Puna Trail”
Reservoir Road Hiking Trail (Hilo)
Namakani Paio Campsites (Dogs only allowed at the 16 campsites in which you pitch your own tent)
Waipio Valley (*Caution is advised: Waipio has one of the highest instances of Leptospirosis Virus in the entire state of Hawai’i. Once exposed to the virus (through contaminated fresh water), Lepto can be contracted from dog to human. Even with a Lepto vaccine, there is no guarantee against all 15 strains. We recommend staying out of Waipio’s fresh water. The ocean water is fine.)
Kaumana Trail (Two trailheads on Hwy 200: Both are between 18 and 20 MM)
Pu’u Huluhulu Trail (Native Tree Sanctuary and Nature Trail on Saddle Road near the 28 MM)
If you know of other “ruff” places for dogs, please contact me with a place name, location, description, and any other helpful information.
Please practice good doggie etiquette whenever enjoying the outdoors including respecting wildlife and the aina, paying attention to rules regarding where dogs can be and whether or not they need to be on a leash, and picking up after your dog. Oh yeah, and always remember to hike with plenty of water for you and your dog. The more places we list, the more dog fun for all! Mahalo!
For tips on hiking with your dog, I recommend Hike With Your Dog website. Although it is Mainland-based (Thank goodness we don’t have to worry about snakes, skunks, bears, porcupines, or alligators!), they offer excellent, practical information on hiking for beginners, ticks, carrying enough water, dog’s feet/pads, hiking with your dog in the summer, overheating, dog swimming, and more.