We have two dogs.  In the picture below, you’ll see Shelby, a Jack Russell Terrier Mix on the left and Remington, a Springer Spaniel on the right.  Anyone who knows us will tell you we have two of the most spoiled canines on the planet.  They love our RV, because packing up the motorhome means they get to go with us!  No doubt you are familiar with everything you need to do to care for your four-legged critters on the road.  This article will familiarize yourself with the rules of the road Fido is likely to encounter in Alaska.

Ready to go in the RV
Ready to go in the RV

Leash rules:

When we moved to Alaska, we brought city dogs with us.  Thus they were accustomed to life on the leash.  Seven years later, they are far less tolerant.  Given the general nature of the state, leashes are less frequently required if you have an obedient pet.  It is perfectly acceptable in Alaska to let your pup run free with you on hiking trails and beaches.  Most campgrounds are a bit more strict and ask that you keep your pets leashed during your stay, but may have a place where you and Spot can play catch.

Most importantly, I tell you about this to prepare you for your first encounter with other dogs.  Don’t be suprised the first time a lab comes bounding up to you, soaked from playing in the lake with a ball in his mouth.  His owner is nearby guaranteed, but as with most things, we don’t follow the same rules as the Lower 48 does when it comes to leashes in Alaska.  If your dog is less than a social butterfly, take appropriate precautions when out walking and be prepared for leashless encounters.

One word of caution on allowing your pet to run lose.  They might bring unwanted creatures back to the hiking trail with them.  I suggest keeping them close to prevent them from ticking off a bear, moose or porcupine.  The bear or moose may follow them back to you on the trail.  The porcupine may gift your sweet dog with an Alaskan souvenir you could have done without.  There’s nothing worse than the vet bill and pain Fido will experience from a face full of quills.

Shelby found a great rock to sunbathe on while Remi swam.
Shelby found a great rock to sunbathe on while Remi swam.

Places in Anchorage to take your dogs:

Here’s a map with location details of the six most popular places to take your dog OFF LEASH.   We like the one near Sand Lake and the Ted Stevens Airport, called Connors Bog.

Anchorage Bowl Dog Park Map

Secluded places to let your dog run free:

So drive out of Anchorage about 50 miles, see that beautiful open meadow off to the right?  Your dog can run and play there, see the forested area to the left, he can run there, too!  Starting to get the idea?  The list of possibilities is endless, but here are a few of our dogs’ favorite places…you’ll quickly note that we tend to gravitate towards the water:

Remi at one of the lakes in Captain Cook State Recreation area...he doesn't really like to swim that much ;)
Remi at Stormy Lake in the Captain Cook State Recreation area…he doesn’t really like to swim that much 😉
  • Any of the beaches in Ninilchik, but especially Deep Creek.  Do be aware that many fish carcasses wash up on shore here.  I don’t know about your dog, but our Springer Spaniel,  has acquired the nickname Ralphy particularly in relation to his intolerance of raw fish.
  • Any hiking trail in the state.  Do check ahead though, as some national parks (Example: Exit Glacier Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park) prohibit Fido from joining in on the fun.
  • Bear Lake, Seward.  This is a great place, if your dog loves to swim.  There’s a small beach area on the south end of the lake where you can throw a ball or stick into the lake.
  • Captain Cook State Recreation Area.  You’ll find a multitude of small lakes and perfect beaches to play on with the whole family.
  • Lake Louise.  Not too far from Glenallen, we actually went swimming WITH the dogs at this lake a couple of summers back.  They didn’t know what to think, other than it was pretty great.
  • Lowell Point Beach, Seward.  You can take a lovely stroll while the puppies burn off some energy on this beach with an amazing view of Resurrection Bay.

You’re probably starting to see a trend here.  Fido is pretty much welcome anywhere you are.  Just exercise good judgement, keep them in sight and think about wildlife safety.  In high traffic areas, remember to collect their tokens so everyone can enjoy the trails in comfort.

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