Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, Vermont is a place where dogs are not just welcomed, they are cherished. Spanning 150 mountaintop acres in Vermont’s Northeastern Kingdom, thisone-of-a-kind dog-friendly destination encompasses extensive hiking trails, beautiful wildflower meadows,breathtaking vistas, a serene Dog Chapel, and more. Dog owners and lovers travel from near and far to pay tribute to the healing power of “dogs, nature, love, and art.”
Dog Mountain was the vision of late American artist Stephen Huneck. A near-death experience inspired him to create a public space that brings together people, dogs, and art as a place of healing, reflection, and celebration. His primary creative medium was woodcarving, but he considered Dog Mountain to be his ultimate artistic achievement. He believed that dogs bring us closer to nature, and they help us live in the moment and love unconditionally.
My husband and I have visited Dog Mountain several times with our German Shepherd Roscoe and find something new to fall in love with each time. We drive down a dead-end dirt road, and the white, wooden steeple topped with a gold-winged dog weathervane signals that we’ve arrived someplace special. I slip inside the chapel covered in tributes from other dog owners and am reminded to slow down and appreciate the time that I have to spend with my dog. Roscoe races ahead, reveling in his off-leash freedom. And I trust in our bond, knowing that when he is done exploring the many scent trails and cooling off in the swimming pond, he’ll return to my side.
Things to Do at Dog Mountain
- Hike over 150 acres of trails. Dog Mountain is located on private land, but access to the grounds is free and always open to the public. Leashes are optional, so dogs are free to run, play, swim, and meet other dogs. There are trails for hikers of all levels, with delightful surprises like swimming ponds, spectacular views, and playful woodcarvings by Stephen Huneck around every turn.
- Pay tribute at the Dog Chapel. One of my favorite features of Dog Mountain is the little white Dog Chapel. A sign out front reads, “Welcome All Creeds, All Breeds, No Dogmas Allowed”. Stephen Huneck designed this chapel as a place for people to celebrate and honor the spiritual bond they have with their dogs. He dedicated a Remembrance Wall, where he invited visitors to leave a photo or tribute to dogs loved and lost. Today, the whole building – every single surface – is covered with these remembrances. It’s a tremendously moving sight to see this overwhelming outpouring of love.
- Browse the Stephen Huneck Gallery. The Stephen Huneck Gallery, housed in an artistically renovated farmhouse, is where you can really get a sense of the visionary behind Dog Mountain. His whimsical style shines through in his original woodcut prints, giclees, New York Times best-selling “Sally” series of children’s books, furniture, and more.
- Attend a Dog Party. Several times a year, the Stephen Huneck Gallery on Dog Mountain hosts unforgettable Dog Parties. It’s great opportunity for dogs and humans alike to meet new friends. Festivities include live music and food trucks, and of course, everyone has a ball.
- Enjoy live music. On Sunday evenings through the summer, thousands of concert-goers flock to Dog Mountain for The Levitt AMP St. Johnsury Music Series. Presented by Catamount Arts, the concerts feature a diverse lineup of musicians from all over the country.
Best Time to Visit Dog Mountain
There’s really no bad time of year to visit Dog Mountain. The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is the perfect playground for outdoor-lovers in every season. The region draws mountain bikers in the summer and snow-shoeing is a favorite activity in the winter.Wildflowers blanket the mountainside in the springtime. In the fall, Dog Mountain is the perfect off-the-beaten alternative to more popular leaf peeping spots in New England.
Dog Friendly Hotels near Dog Mountain
Here are the nearby places I’ve stayed with my dog when visiting Dog Mountain in Vermont.
- The Inn at Mountain View Farm: Located 30 minutes away in East Burke, this dog-friendly inn offers one of the most breathtaking views in the Northeast Kingdom. The 440-acre historic farm estate includes an on-site animal sanctuary dedicated to providing farm animals with a good future.
- Circe & Hare Lodge: If you prefer to have you own space, stay at this dog-friendly Airbnb. This rustic and refined cabin is in Greensboro, about 45 minutes away from Dog Mountain. You and your dog will enjoy having the peaceful property overlooking the Lamoille River all to yourselves.
- Sugarloaf Campground: If you’re looking for a budget option in the area, consider camping with your dog in the nearby White Mountains. This dog-friendly campground in the northwoods of New Hampshire is located 45 minutes away from Dog Mountain.
- The Stowehof: Make the dog-friendly town of Stowe your final destination and stay at The Stowehof. Located an hour and a half drive from Dog Mountain, this classic lodge is the perfect central location for enjoying even more adventures with your dog.
Explore More: Dog Friendly Guide to Stowe, VT
Ready to plan a visit to Dog Mountain in Vermont with your dog? Check out my Top Tips for Traveling with a Dog.