6 Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Melbourne

dog friendly walks
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Planning on taking your furry friend on a walk in Melbourne? You’re in luck! Melbourne is home to some of the best dog-friendly hiking trails in Australia. Take your dog out to stroll, sniff and explore the great outdoors with you.

Most pups, regardless of their breed, share a love of nature and make excellent hiking companions. Spend time with them exploring the outdoors while they sniff around and see new sights. Here are some of the top dog-friendly hiking trails in Melbourne.

1. Mathias Walking Track

dog on hiking trail

Put your dog’s harness on and head out to the Mathias Track. The walk starts at either end of Stewart Street and takes you through the towns of Olinda and Wonga Park, where you and your pooch can explore the natural beauty of the Dandenong Ranges.  This dog-friendly hiking trail is mostly flat, with only one short incline, making it suitable for everyone, including seniors, children and those with physical disabilities. 

Things to keep in mind:

  • The track is quite wide, and no directions are required to follow this route.
  • On weekends, this walk can be very crowded.
  • There are no bins, so take whatever you brought in with you.
  • Bring a poop bag and a water bowl for your dog.
  • There are no restrooms on the trail; the nearest public facilities are near the old Olinda Golf Course playground or at the Hamer Arboretum.

Olinda VIC, Australia
Distance: 4km each way
Difficulty: Fairly Easy
Leash: Yes, at all times

2. Warrandyte River Reserve

Warrandyte River Reserve should be on your list if you enjoy walking your dog while learning a bit of local history. Start by strolling along the Yarra River as it winds its way through the village of Warrandyte and on to the historic Stonehouse Café. Beautiful scenery awaits you as you roam, and if you need a break, there are plenty of benches to rest and sit on along the way. Additionally, there is a playground for children, gym equipment in a corner and food outlets nearby if you need something to eat or drink while out on your walk. Plus, if your dog needs to burn some extra energy, there are off-leash areas where they can run around and play. There are steep dirt steps leading down to the river, so it can get a little tricky, but it’s well worth it if your pup loves a dip in the water. 

Things to keep in mind:

  • Check the fire risk warning before embarking on this walk.
  • In summer, be cautious around deep water, rapids, and snakes.
  • Use designated pedestrian crossings on all roads.

Yarra St, Warrandyte VIC 3113, Australia
Distance: 4.7 km
Difficulty: Easy
Leash: Off-leash to some areas (except 15 meters in the playground)

3. Glenfern Valley Bushlands

If you’ve never been to Glenfern Valley Bushlands Reserve, you’re missing out on one of the best dog-friendly hiking trails in Melbourne. Located 35 kilometres east of Melbourne, this Reserve spans 40 hectares, bordered by Glenfern Road, New Road, Ferny Creek and ‘Depot Track. The tinkling of Ferny creek as it flows over rocks and the sounds of birds chirping will turn any dog-friendly walk into an exciting adventure. Furthermore, the Reserve has both flat and hilly trails, so you can find the perfect one for you and your dog. If you’re looking for something more challenging, try the steepest hill—it will surely give your calf muscles a workout – just make sure to wear sturdy shoes or boots)!

Things to keep in mind:

  • Some tracks are quite steep and rutted, so be sure to follow the posted signs.
  • Wearing sturdy shoes or boots is recommended.
  • Pick up after your pets, as there are no poop bags available.

Glenfern Rd, Upwey VIC 3158, Australia
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Leash: Yes, at all times

4. Darebin Creek Trail

Looking for a long, relaxing stroll for your pup? Darebin Creek Trail is the place to go! This dog-friendly 56.8 kilometre out-and-back route is popular among birdwatchers, cyclists, and runners. A visit here after rainfall will certainly reward you with a stunning view of the creek and its surroundings. There are plenty of picnic spots dotted along the track, so if Fido needs rest, you can stop in one of those spots and have a picnic together. Or, grab some takeaway from one of these dog-friendly cafes before you head out.

Location: Yarra St, Warrandyte VIC 3113, Australia
Distance: 56.8-kilometre out-and-back route
Difficulty: Moderate
Leash: Yes, at all times

5. Somers Trail

dog frienldly hiking trail in melbourne

This dog-friendly trail is perfect if you want to take a quick walk or hike with Fido without venturing too far from Melbourne. Somers Trail is short and easy to navigate, but it has several interesting reserves and parks to check out along the way. The walk comprises both  paved roads and dirt paths, so if your pup is new to this type of terrain, make sure they’re prepared for a bit of a challenge. If Fido is well-behaved during the walk, you can reward him with some off-leash time at Simpson Park.

Location: Mitcham VIC, Australia
Distance: 2.3 km
Difficulty: Easy
Leash: Yes, at all times.

6. La La Falls

Warburton’s La La Falls is one of the stunning dog-friendly walks in Melbourne. The track crosses over several small water races as you and your pup hike through beautiful ferny glades, right up to the picturesque falls, where you can rest and take in the scenery. The impressive waterfall at the top makes for an excellent reward at the end of your trek. The best time to embark on this walk is after heavy rain as it makes the waterfalls look even more magnificent. 

Things to keep in mind:

  • Some tracks are quite steep, so be sure to wear hiking shoes.
  • Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.

Warburton VIC 3799, Australia
Distance: 3.2 km
Difficulty: Moderate
Leash: Yes, at all times