Anyone who’s lived in Arizona will agree, this is an amazing place. Of course, as a native, I’m a little biased! Exploring our deserts, canyons, and forests with my own dogs is definitely one of my favorite pastimes. My love for hiking and for dogs is why I created this club. Our purpose is to be a free resource for all canine fanciers of AZ so you can meet other people like yourselves and at the same time safely enjoy the wild places of our diverse and beautiful state. So lace up your boots, grab a water bottle and whistle for your four legged buddy, it’s time to hit the trail!
Canine Hiking Club of Arizona (CHCoA) Directory
If you are new, click here first
FAQ’s & Club Rules
(Get the scoop on the CHCoA – who and what we are, how to get involved with the group, how to post your dog friendly event, etc.)
Meet the Group and Get Involved
(Talk with club members, get involved with club planning, find a hiking partner, view pictures of past outings, or just talk about our favorite subjects – dogs, the outdoors, hiking, you name it, it’s your site and it’s FREE to join.)
Facebook or Yahoo Groups
CHCoA Calendar of Events
(Descriptions of the fun and exciting journeys we currently have planned AND our rating scale.)
Friends of the CHCoA
(Businesses and organizations who help promote and support the CHCoA and/or offer discounts to club members.)
(Dottie Dog shares info. about all sorts of traildog related topics – first-aid, gear lists, where to find training, the truth about Arizona’s critters, and much more.)
(Our database of everything dog friendly – trails, dog parks, restaurants, retailers, etc. Plus, the policies regarding dogs in our National, State, County, and BLM lands.)
AZ Community Calendar
(Find pet/outdoor related activities like Charity Walks, Fundraisers, Seminars, Workshops, etc. in your part of the state.)
Something to “Chew On”
(Articles on various topics AND animal and outdoor advocacy concerns relevant to AZ residents.)
Frequently Asked Questions and Club Rules
Who are we?
The Canine Hiking Club of Arizona(CHCoA) began in January of 1999 as Arizona’s only totally dog friendly outdoor club. The club is unofficial, meanning we do not have board members or membership dues. We function primarily as a networking group where dog loving outdoor enthusiasts can find hiking partners, post outings and just spend time with others who share a love for dogs. Events take place in various locations around the state and include, but are not limited to, hiking, camping, backpacking, snow play days, kayaking/canoeing, social gatherings, dog park play dates, BBQ’s, and charity walks. We have “members” statewide in cities and towns like Phoenix, Glendale, Litchfield, Mesa, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Tucson, Sedona, Prescott, Cottonwood, and more. Outings cover a wide variety of skill levels so there’s usually something for everyone.
Who can join?
Responsible owners and their dog(s) who enjoy outdoor activities. We welcome humans of all ages, genders, and marital status. Additionally, we welcome all dog breeds, pure or mixed. Dogs who are aggressive toward people or other dogs are NOT allowed at CHCoA events.**Every owner is responsible for keeping their dog(s) under control at all times. **
Responsible outdoor enthusiasts who love dogs. You do not need to be a dog owner to join the CHCoA but keep in mind this is a dog friendly group and 99% of our events will have dogs present. If you’re not willing to put up with a little slobber, a friendly kiss or two, or several sad eyes staring you down while you eat lunch, then this group is not for you.
Participation Disclaimer – Must read before attending any club functions
Since the CHCoA is an unofficial non-profit group and each person is participating of their own will, you and you alone are responsible for your safety and that of your dog(s). Please act accordingly to ensure all outings are safe and fun for everyone. Additionally, neither Jamie DeBenedetto or any person taking on a role as “leader” assumes any responsibility for human or dog injury or death, loss of gear or personal belongings, and damage to vehicles at any time. Outdoor activities can be dangerous, it is your individual responsibility to be prepared if you choose to take part in a hike or other planned function. Participation in events is voluntary and all participants do so at their own risk. Your participation in any event you found via the CHCoA is acknowledgment that you have read and understand the above.
How do I get involved with the group?
Begin by reading the Participation Disclaimer located directly above this paragraph, then consider joining our message board (hosted by Yahoo Groups). “Members” use the message board to plan events, discuss club issues as well as topics related to hiking, dogs, trails, outdoor activities, equipment, etc. The board is private and a great way to meet other members, find a hiking partner, share trip reports, share pictures, locate dog friendly places around the state or just talk about your dog. The options are endless. It’s free to join and you may receive messages via email or by visiting the Yahoo Groups site directly (you do not need a yahoo email address to use this service). Check it out here CanineHikingClubofAZ.
Next, explore this webpage further. We have compiled lots of good info. related to outdoor activies with canines. The Dogs Rule and Dottie’s Corner pages in particular are very helpful. You’ll also want to check out the Event’s Calender Page. This is where many of the pre-planned outings are posted. If you see an event you want to attend, contact the person who has planned the function and tell him or her you want to join them. Please let him/her know how many humans and how many dogs will be joining you. If you leave a message, definitely include your phone number so they can contact you in case of a cancellation or in the event details about the outing change.
Finally, offer to lead a dog friendly outing yourself. This can be as simple as a short morning hike, a get together at the dog park or something more complicated – you choose. There is more information below regarding organizing events. Please read on and if you have questions contact Jamie D., the Club Organizer, directly.
Are there any rules I have to agree to abide by when I hike with the CHCoA?
**YES!** We expect everyone participating in CHCoA events to follow the four rules listed below.
Dogs must be under full owner control at all times. Arizona law states, you must have your dog on a leash no longer than 6′ when in public. We expect all participants who choose to unleash their dogs during an outdoor event to have the ability to control the dog proficiently so as not to disturb other trail users, other club members or other animals in the area (trailstock, livestock, wild, etc.). Remember, not all outdoor enthusiasts enjoy dogs as much as we do! Furthermore, there are many situations where an unleashed dog will not be appropriate or legal. We expect owners to consider these factors and make decisions based on what is in the best interest of the people you are hiking with as well as what is most safe for the dog.
ALL dogs must be leashed while at trailheads or event staging areas and during ALL food and water breaks while on trail. We want outings to be fun for everyone, dog fights and/or other negative encounters can result in serious injuries and they create a stressful and unpleasant experience for everyone involved. PLEASE do not force the hike leader or any of your fellow hikers to police your actions by dismissing this very crucial safety precaution. If this is a continued offence you will be asked to leave the group and will not be allowed to participate in future outings.
Respect the wilderness at all times. Trails pass through public, private, state, and tribal owned lands. Out of courtesy we must practice the “leave no trace” philosophy. This includes avoiding littering, leaving cigarette butts, cutting trail switchbacks, removing or harming plants and animals, etc. Any items packed into an area must be packed out! Also, you are responsible for proper disposal of your dog’s waste. Any person who fails to follow this state law will NOT be allowed to participate in future Canine Hiking Club of Arizona events.
Respect the rights of ALL area users. More and more, dogs are being banned from outdoor recreation areas. Sadly this is usually due to irresponsible owners who have no regard for the rules of the trail or recreation area or for those around them who may not be canine people. Please try to remember when you are participating with this group you are representing not only yourself but the entire club. Make sure your actions and the actions of your dog(s) are positive ones! (Trail use etiquette and policies regarding dogs on trails throughout the state can be found in the Dogs Rule section.)
**We strongly recommend all dogs have current vaccinations before partaking in a hike. Dogs over four months old should wear their rabies verification tag to all events. Because of the exercise requirements and the increased risk of disease transmission due to the exposure to many other dogs and populated areas, puppies under 12 weeks old are not encouraged to attend.
Is there a cost to join?
Nope. The CHCoA was not created for profit. Our only interest is getting dog lovers together for safe and fun outings throughout the state.
Do I get a say in club functions?
Absolutely. Via the Yahoo and Facebook groups, we give all “members” a voice in how this club functions. We also openly welcome suggestions, criticism, comments, gripes, kudos, etc. regarding how the club is managed, what types of events we participate in and information included on this website.
How do I lead an event?
We encourage anyone who wants to lead/plan and outing to do so. Members can post events directly to the Events page in the Facebook group or post a message on the Yahoo board. From there Jamie will add the important details to the Events Calendar on this website.
We have compiled a list of suggested “Leader Guidelines”. These are intented to assist you in the planning process. Obviously, sharing nformation about the event is important to those interested in attending and makes preparing for the outing much easier. Here are some suggestions of things we like to see in your posted hike description.
Information about the trail/area where the hike/event will take place. Things like total distance, elevation gain or loss, terrian type, whether or not there is water along the route, whether or not the trailhead(TH) has facilities, parking fees, vehicle requirements (car, 4×4), etc.. As much information as you can provide is helpful.
Honest disclosure about your experience with the trail or event area. Having been there is a plus but is not required. The main thing is to communicate this to your fellow participants. If you have not been to this location we usually call this a Scouting Trip. By making a note of this up front, those joining you will have their expectaions set when a setback, like missing the TH turn-off or backtracking along the trail, comes up.
Include your contact information. Posting your email and/or phone number is importatnt so interested members can contact you with questions and an RSVP.
If you would like to help the club by listing something on the calendar or if you need help getting started, please do not hesitate to contact Jamie D. We are more than willing to assist with planning. The CHCoA runs completely on the voluntary involvement of our members to organize outings. Without YOU, this group cannot function.