Now is a great time to treat your pooch to a day out in the fabulous fall weather. Possum Kingdom Lake’s Hike and Bike Trail is just the place for you and your best friend.

The 16 miles of trails crisscrossing the peninsula at the heart of the lake wind through hills and valleys that make up some of the most beautiful scenery in North Texas. The trails connect the lake’s 10 public areas, allowing visitors to enjoy the beach, picnic and camping areas with an easy walk, whether they have two legs or four.

The trails include several shorter sections, allowing you and your canine friend to enjoy an easier walk if you desire. This is helpful for those with pets who aren’t use to longer and more strenuous hikes.

The 5-foot-wide trails have a natural surface with a 10-foot overhead clearance and easy 5-12 degree slopes with a few sections offering a more-challenging 20-degree incline. If you need to give those feet, or paws a break, the Brazos River Authority has built rest areas with cedar benches at numerous scenic overlooks around the trail system

Those who reach the trail’s summit, Johnson Peak, can enjoy a spectacular view of the lake, including Hell’s Gate.

The trails have ample signage to keep you from getting lost and maps are posted at the trailheads. For a printable copy of the trail map, please click here.

Here are some tips to keep you and your dog happy and safe on the trails:

  • Prepare at home. Having your dog on preventive tick medicine or treatments will save you a lot of headaches down the road.
  • Basic obedience training will be helpful. Simple commands such as “stop,” “stay” and “drop it” can save you and your dog from an embarrassing or dangerous situation.
  • Outfit your dog with an ID tag and bright vest or bandana. Having an ID tag is important anytime you are out of the house, but it is crucial while on the trails. A bright-colored vest or bandana will help you spot Fido if he wanders off without you.
  • Staying hydrated is very important for both dog and human even during the cool months. Be sure to bring enough water for the both of you and to stop often to offer your pet a drink. It is not uncommon that a medium-sized dog will drink more water than its owner on a hike. Avoid having your dog drink out of streams. Outside sources of water may contain giardia or other bacteria that could sicken your dog.
  • Keep them leashed. BRA parks require dogs to remain leashed at all times. This will prevent them from running off or getting in the way of other hikers and bikers. It is always a good idea to bring an extra leash just in case one becomes lost or broken.
  • If you plan to make it a long trip, have your dog carry some of the load. Most dogs can comfortably carry a pack that weighs up to 20 percent of their weight on their back. Be sure to pack the bag with unbreakable items.
  • Pack “doggy bags.” Be courteous to others on the trail by picking up your pet’s waste. If possible, try to avoid having your pet eliminate on the trail path, but always pick up after your pooch.
  • Dog shoes? The pads on dogs’ paws aren’t normally tough. Therefore, some hikers opt to have their pet wear boots on rough terrain. If your dog goes with bare paws, be sure to stop and check their paw pads regularly for thorns or quills.
  • Enjoy the views and sounds the trail offers you. Quite often pets are good “guides” as they will notice things that their owners would otherwise pass right by – look where they’re looking.