There’s nothing wrong with working for your views … but there’s also nothing wrong with hitching a ride. Lift-assisted hiking is one of the biggest draws to ski resorts in the summer, but most people don’t know that dogs are welcome on most gondolas—for free, at that, with their paying two-legged companion.
There are some caveats. Dogs must be leashed on resort trails, and they’re only allowed on hiking-designated routes, so steer clear of mountain bike or ATV trails for your dog’s safety. And please, bring your poop bags and be sure to clean up. That’s just being a good human.
Here are our favorite resorts and routes to hike with your dog this summer at U.S. ski resorts.
5 Ski Resorts For Dog-Friendly Lift-Assisted Hiking
Look for the paw print symbol on the Silver Queen Gondola’s cabins and hop on with your dog for a lift to the summit of Aspen Mountain. From there, the 2.2-mile Richmond Ridge Loop is a moderate option that takes about an hour and a half. There are also plenty of milder and more difficult options, including Ute Trail, a technical option known for its rock hazards. Outside of town, take the pups swimming at Marolt Open Space, where the pond on the west side is dog friendly.
Post-Hike Refreshment: Aspen Tap, the restaurant arm of Aspen Brewing Company, is right by the slopes and has a great outdoor space where your pup is welcome to accompany you. Sourdough pizza is the specialty here, as well as a small but delicious selection of local small-batch beers.
Home to the highest summit in the state, Mt. Mansfield, as well as one of its most charming towns, Stowe makes a great dog-friendly summer outing. You can walk with your dog on any hiking-designated trail, including Sunset Ridge, a moderate three-mile climb that takes you to Mansfield’s summit. In town, the Stowe Recreation Path is a 5.5-mile paved trail with a smaller loop where dogs are allowed off leash.
Post-Hike Refreshment: Dogs are welcome at the outdoor space at Idletyme Brewery, and their owners will dig their famous fried pickles and craft IPAs.
Pups can ride Needles Gondola and are welcome on all hiking trails as long as they’re leashed. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can summit Mt. Ogden with your dog by riding the gondola and following the Needles Trail to the peak, a four-mile out and back. The pair of you will get to take in stunning views out over the Wasatch range. Down in Ogden, the two-acre South Ogden Dog Park is well kept, with shady spots for owners while the dogs play off leash.
Post-Hike Refreshment: The shady and spacious outdoor patio at Ogden River Brewing is dog-friendly, plus the menu of pub eats, sandwiches, pizza, and salads is diverse. Weekend brunch from 10a to 2p is a local favorite.
Hikers and their pooches can start with a ride on the dog-friendly Big Springs Gondola, which will take them to Big Springs Lodge. From there, catch a lift on the Zephyr Express gondola to access the resort’s beautiful ridge lines, and even the Tahoe Rim trail for longer excursions. In Truckee, Donner Memorial State Park has a great lake where you can frolic with your four-legged friends on all of the lakeshores except China Cove Beach.
Post-Hike Refreshment: Truckee’s Fifty Fifty Brewing comes alive in the summer months with pickleball, beach volleyball, cornhole, and more, and dogs are welcome to the party. There’s also 16 unique craft beers on tap and a large menu including creative eats such as birria tacos and watermelon caprese salad.
Sunday River, Maine
Hop the Chondola and get yourself and your pal up to 2,000 feet elevation. From the top of the Chondola, the Summit Traverse is a two-mile hike to the summit of Barker Mountain, at 2,581 feet. In nearby Bethel, the Bethel Outdoor Adventure & Campground loves canines of all spots, and all comers are welcome to take their dog out on a canoe or paddleboard on the Androscoggin River.
Post-Hike Refreshment: Norway Brewing Company is in the small town of Norway, about a half-hour from Bethel and 45 minutes from the ski resort. Pups are allowed on the outdoor patio, where their owners can enjoy local craft brews in the beer garden accompanied by upscale pub cuisine.