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Happy Tails in Dog Friendly Asheville

Back to: Blog Vacation Tips
2 Jun 2019

Dog City U.S.A., Official Dog Welcome Center in Downtown Asheville

Please note that this blog has been updated to reflect 2022 event dates. 

Asheville has become the destination of your four-legged friend’s dreams. With so many travelers looking for experiences they can share with their dog, Asheville has made every effort to not only welcome you, but your dog as well. Beer City U.S.A. has now officially taken on the title of Dog City U.S.A. and with good reason.

Asheville is home to the only official Dog Welcome Center in the United States. Located in downtown Asheville, near the historic Grove Arcade, The Dog City, USA Official Dog Welcome Center is a perfect first stop. Here you’ll find doggie drinking fountains and goodie bags, a dog potty area, dog-friendly public restrooms, and pet store, where you can purchase locally made toys and treats.

For the most unique tour of Asheville, schedule The Dog Tour- a tour of downtown’s most dog-friendly locations. Dog tours are available Fridays at noon and feature stops at Asheville staples like Sunshine Sammies, Tasty Beverage Company, Chevron Trading Post, and many more (several mentioned below). While the Dog Tour is an excellent way to get introduced to Asheville’s pet-friendly scene, you can absolutely trek out on your own and discover for yourself just how pet-friendly Asheville is.

Explore the eclectic studios of the River Arts District- many of which allow dogs inside, walk the grounds of The Biltmore, or spend a day at the North Carolina Arboretum. Check out our Pet-Friendly Asheville Guide below to create the most memorable trip for your and your dog.

Pet-Friendly Hikes

There are hundreds of miles of pet-friendly trails, waterfalls, and scenic balds to explore around Asheville. Most notably along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a breathtaking ride of a lifetime for you and your furry friend. They’ll love hanging their head out the window and feel that incredible mountain air blow through their fur. Here are some of our favorite pet-friendly hikes along the parkway and others within 50 miles of Asheville.

Craggy Gardens- 20 miles north on the Blue Ridge Parkway from downtown Asheville. The drive alone is almost as beautiful as the destination, with many overlooks along the way. The trail is

View from Craggy Gardens Visitor Center

approximately 2 miles roundtrip amidst the rhododendron and features stunning views. This is your stop for those picture perfect selfies with you and your pup. Bonus: temperatures are anywhere from 10-20 degrees cooler than Asheville, making this an ideal summer hike.

Mt Pisgah- 26 miles from Asheville, another beautiful drive along the parkway, this popular 3-mile round trip hike is worth the challenge. The view from the summit is killer and on a clear day, you have long range views of the Great Smoky Mountain, Asheville, and Mount Mitchell. At an elevation of 5,721 feet, the hike up is strenuous and rocky so you’ll need your best walking shoes.

Catawba Falls- if dogs had a vote this hike might be the winner. Located 26 miles east of Asheville and only about 3 miles from I-40, it is one of the easiest trails to reach. While a steady, uphill 1.5 mile hike up to the falls, this trail isn’t all that difficult and follows the Catawba River up to the 100 ft Lower Falls. The trail is mostly shaded and features several wading pools along the way so it’s easy for your dog to stay cool and hydrated.

Dupont State Forest- 40 miles from Asheville and wedged between Hendersonville and Brevard, these trails offer the most bang for your buck (although admission is free). Here you have a “choose your own adventure” type of decision to make: take the 3-mile roundtrip hike to three distinct waterfalls, Hooker, Triple, and High Falls or embark on the more lengthy 8.5-mile roundtrip hike to also add in the incredible Bridal Veil Falls.

Honorable Mentions: Black Balsam Knob, Chimney Rock State Park, Graveyard Fields, and South Mountains State Park.

(Quick Note- dogs are not allowed in most of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park- with the exception of a couple of trails: the Gatlinburg Trail and Oconaluftee River Trail).

Pet-Friendly Restaurants and Breweries

One of the most unique aspects of Asheville’s pet-friendly culture is that so many of the restaurants and breweries in the area also welcome dogs. So after a day of exploring the great outdoors together, you can also explore Asheville’s incredible food and craft beer scene. Asheville Pizza & Brewing, Pack’s Tavern, Catawba Brewing, The Funkatorium, and Avenue M are some of the many restaurants and breweries that have covered patio or outdoor sitting areas that are pet-friendly. Here are some restaurants that even offer a not-so-secret doggie menu:

Restaurants

Twisted Laurel: Fresh, Mediterranean, Italian, and American inspired menu. Twisted Laurel is a great spot for brunch, lunch, and dinner. They are also featured on the Dog Tour, where they provide you and your pup with a delicious meal. Twisted Laurel has locations in downtown Asheville, West Asheville, and Weaverville.

Posana: Farm-to-table menu serving a seasonal and sustainable cuisine of locally sourced ingredients. Posana is located in the historic Pack Square area of downtown. Their menu, while constantly changing, consistently includes vegan and vegetarian options, along with gluten-free. They also offer a doggie menu.

The Hop Ice Cream Cafe: No trip to Asheville is complete without a stop here. Serving a variety of homemade dairy and vegan ice cream, along with sorbet, milkshakes, and sundaes, there’s really something for everyone- including doggie ice cream!

Breweries & Bars

Wedge Brewing Company: A neighborhood brewery with 2 locations in the River Arts District. Both locations have distinctive environments. Wedge at Wedge Studios has an excellent outdoor gathering area with a covered patio and outdoor picnic tables. Wedge at Foundation has a large indoor space, perfect for those less than ideal weather days, and is recognizable for its large graffiti murals. Wedge Brewing beers are crafted and served at Wedge locations only. Their menus feature high-quality, small batch crafts. Both locations are pet-friendly, inside and out. Bonus: rotating food truck schedule.

Hillman Beer: This local, family-owned brewery prides itself on its pub-style environment. It’s laid back, pet-friendly, and craft focused. Hillman’s beers are a blend of Belgian, English and American style ales. With 18 beers on tap, maybe start with a flight and order of soft pretzels with beer cheese (don’t forget to share a pretzel with Fido).

Hillman Beer

Wagbar: Ranked #1 in Best of WNC's  outdoor places to take your pet and pet friendly bar, this local joint in Weaverville combines a beautiful off-leash dot park with a modern walk-up bar. Bring your pup along as you enjoy their selection of gourmet food and beverages both alcoholic and non. They have frequent community events, entertainment, fun bar games, and plenty of adorable dogs that will have you never wanting to leave. 

Down Dog Bar & Yoga Studio: This cleverly named spot allows you to enjoy one or all of your favorite activities under one roof. From the off-leash dog park to the social bar to the Yoga studio to the community events, you and your pup will embrace holistic living at its best. 

Urban Orchard Cider Company: Named the #1 Best Place to Drink Cider in America, this craft cidery should be on everyone’s list to visit while in Asheville. They produce unique, Gluten-free ciders, many of which are seasonal and all made from apples grown in Hendersonville. Their two locations, downtown’s South Slope location and the West Asheville location are both pet-friendly. If cider isn’t your thing, they also serve wine and local beers (but really you should at least give them a chance to change your mind).

Shopping

Undoubtedly there’s plenty of places throughout Asheville to shop and many of those shops also welcome your pets. Mast General Store and Battery Park Book Exchange are popular shops in downtown that also welcome four-legged visitors. They even keep treats on hand for pets that stop in. There are also several places to stop in that are solely for your pooch to enjoy:

Patton Avenue Pet Company- Three locations, including one in downtown, stop by and pick up anything you and your pup may need or may have forgotten to pack. The West Asheville location also has a small dog park for your pup to enjoy and play around.

Pet Pantry in Weaverville

Three Dog Bakery- As indicated by its name this bakery caters to dogs and prides itself on baking human-quality dog biscuits made from natural ingredients. They serve freshly baked and pre-packaged dog treats, along with pet supplies.

Bone-A-Fide Pet Boutique- Also serving fresh-baked, human quality treats, this Black Mountain pet shop also carries organic treats, pet food, and a large variety of pet products manufactured in the USA. For those special doggie birthdays, you can even pick up a birthday cake. As a bonus for us humans- they also stock artwork and gifts from local artists.

Pet Pantry- Located in downtown Weaverville you can shop here for healthy pet food, treats, toys, supplies and more. They sell many local pet products, and the staff is very knowledgeable and helpful.

Off-Leash Dog Parks

Asheville and surrounding towns do require dogs to be leashed at all times. This is for your safety, as well as your dog’s safety while you’re visiting. If your pup is used to a little more off-leash excitement there are a few dog parks nearby for them to let loose:

The French Broad River Park- features a large fenced-in area, right along the edge of the French Broad River. Fresh water and clean-up bags are available.

Azalea Dog Park- located in East Asheville this dog park has two separate fenced areas, one for small dogs and one for large dogs. Fresh water is also available here.

RiverWalk Park- small fenced in dog park in downtown Black Mountain, about 15 minutes from downtown Asheville. Great spot to let your pup run free for a bit after a walk along the Greenway in picturesque Black Mountain.


Despite being exceptionally pet-friendly, there are places in Asheville you’ll likely want to explore that do not allow pets. Don’t fret. There are several doggie daycares in the area where your pup can go for the day to play. Camp Bow Wow, a doggie day care in South Asheville, offers dog boarding, training, in-home pet care, grooming add-ons and more. They’ll send you a report card via text, along with photos or videos to keep you updated on how your fur baby is doing. Other doggie daycares in the area are The Woof Lodge, You Work, I'll PlayThe Pet Vet on Patton, Happy Tails Country Club, Mills River Dog CampAt Play With Sparky, and Bed & Biscuit Pet Spa. Your dog must be up-to-date on vaccinations (always good to pack your dog’s vaccination records) and you’ll likely need to make a reservation in advance.

Just like emergencies sometimes spring up when we humans travel, there are times when emergencies occur with our beloved pets. While we hope we don’t ever have to worry about these moments, it is best to be prepared. R.E.A.C.H. of Asheville, just 10 minutes from downtown Asheville, offers 24/7 emergency veterinary services, even on holidays.

Upcoming Dog-Themed Events & Activities

April 2, 2022 & April 24, 2022: Paint Your Pet-Asheville's Painting With a Twist is offering two different opportunities to capture the adorable and feisty nature of your best pal. Choose the Family Friendly Pop Art Style class (April 2) for a colorful and funky portrait or the Van Gogh Style class (April 24) for a portrait with a fine art spin. 

May 11, 2022 & July 27, 2022: Doggies at the Diamond-The only thing Americans love more than baseball is their pups. Combine two great loves and bring your dogs out for an Asheville Tourists baseball game during the height of Summer. Sponsored by Patton Avenue Pet Company, all friendly, leashed dogs are welcome. Grab a hot dog for you and your best pal, and bring them home a brother or sister, as Mountain Pet Rescue will also be in attendance with adoptable dogs!

June 18, 2022: Strut your Mutt 5K Furry Scurry & Pet Festival- Run, strut, or scurry the 5K or 1 Mile Bill in Moore Community Park in Fletcher to support the animals of Blue Ridge Humane! Afterward, stick around to enjoy a pet festival complete with pet-related vendors, adoption opportunities, and food and beer vendors.

July 9, 2022: Coon Dog Day Festival-Bring your pup along to this quirky, fun, and free street festival that offers great food, live music, a very fun parade, crafts, street dance, dog competitions, and more in the small town of Saluda (approximately 45 minutes from Asheville). While Coon dogs are the stars of the entire day, all dogs are welcome!

September 11, 2022: The Mills River Valley 10K/5K/1 Mile Doggy Dash-Come out and support the Blue Ridge Humane Society and Mills River community at this dog-themed race.

Dog-Friendly Places to Stay

Greybeard Rentals offers over 100 properties that are pet-friendly. From secluded cabins to downtown cottages, our pet-friendly properties are places where you’ll create unforgettable memories. For the privilege of bringing your dog, there is a nonrefundable fee per pet with a maximum of two dogs allowed.

To view all of our pet-friendly properties, click here. From here, you can search for:

Our Greybeard vacation planners are also eager to help you find the perfect rental. Give them a call at 855-688-9574. If you’re looking to relocate to Asheville, we also have several monthly furnished rentals and long-term rentals available that are pet-friendly or will consider pets.