Nestled snugly among the beautiful forests and wildflowers of Vermont sits a very special place that has been beloved by both mankind and man's best friend for many years. Dog Mountain is one of America's greatest and most unique dog parks, with a very rich history behind it and more than 100 acres of land for people to explore with their pets.
Too often, dogs are banned or prohibited from entering certain areas or coming along on trips with us, forced to be left behind, but places like Dog Mountain are fully open to furry, four-legged pals of all shapes and sizes, so if you're looking for a beautiful place to spend a fun day with your canine companion, Dog Mountain is the place to be.
History of Dog Mountain
The story of Dog Mountain begins with artist and author, Stephen Huneck. Born in Columbus Ohio, Huneck worked as a wood carver and furniture maker, allowing him to express his creativity and attempt to make a living through his art. In 1984, Stephen was 'discovered' by an art dealer who fell in love with one of his carvings, paying him $1,000 on the spot to purchase the carving. From there, Huneck's work was exhibited in major museums all around the world and he even caught the eye of several celebrities.
However, in 1997, Stephen's run of good fortune came to a scary end; he suffered from acute respiratory distress syndrome and fell into a coma. Fortunately, he woke up, but had been strongly affected by his near death experience and found a new subject to feel passionate about in his artwork: dogs. He built a 'Dog Chapel' on his farm, complete with its very own doggy door, and started focusing his carvings and writings on dogs.
Together with his wife, Gwen Huneck, Stephen turned all of their land, which stretched out across 150 acres, into the Dog Mountain dog park, running special events each and every year like Dog Party and Dog Fest, and inviting every dog lover to come and visit with their furry friends or simply stop by to pay homage to a four-legged pal who had passed away.
Stephen Huneck tragically passed away himself in 2010, and his wife died a few years later. The property is now run by Jonathan Ide, Gwen's brother, and remains a wonderful place for people who love and own dogs to come and take advantage of the beautiful land, scenery, and hiking trails, as well as stopping off at the amazing Dog Chapel.
Visiting Dog Mountain
Dog Mountain is located just outside East St Johnsbury, with the address of the Stephen Huneck Gallery being 143 Parks Rd, St Johnsbury, VT 05819. If you'd like to get in touch with the good folks at Dog Mountain, you can call 800 449 2580.
Dog Mountain is very easy to find and is open every single day from dawn until dusk. The Stephen Huneck Gallery, however, is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so if you'd like to visit this unique part of the park, you'll have to visit on a Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. The gallery is open from 11am to 4pm on weekdays and 10am to 5pm at weekends.
It's important to note that leashes are totally optional at Dog Mountain. The focus here is on the dogs and their enjoyment, so you can feel free to let them off the leash to run around and have as much fun as possible, free to leap, bound, run, play, and even make some new friends along the way.
Things to Do at Dog Mountain
So what can you actually do at Dog Mountain? Well, as previously mentioned, the site stretches out to cover around 150 acres of land. There are some absolutely stunning views to be seen in every single direction and many miles of hiking trails to be enjoyed by both humans and dogs alike. Simply walking around the park is a great way to spend a day, letting you and your pup stay fit and active.
You can admire the scenery and stop for photos, while your dog can sniff around and run along the trails, stretching their legs and having the sort of fun that just isn't possible in cities and many other areas. Many other dog owners visit the park every single day, so you'll be able to meet and interact with fellow animal lovers too, letting dogs play together. There are various dog ponds to be found around the park for pups that like to paddle, and even an obstacle course which can be a lot of fun to try out with your canine companion.
Throughout the year, special events are also held at Dog Mountain like the 'Music on the Mountain' live music concerts and Dog Party events where hundreds of people and dogs come together to have fun and make magical memories. Of course, none of this would be possible without the wonderful work of Stephen and Gwen Huneck, so any trip to Dog Mountain should also include a little visit to the Stephen Huneck Gallery. There, you can admire the work of the late, great artist himself, with many of his pieces being totally dedicated to dogs.
Various pieces can be purchased if you'd like to take a little slice of Dog Mountain magic home with you, and no trip to this special dog park could be complete without a stop off at the Dog Chapel too. Here, you'll find thousands of notes and letters and drawings that people have written and made for pups that have passed away. You can even leave a note for a special dog in your life too or simply admire the various memorials and the beautiful stained glass windows. website