“Discover Dog Mountain. The Famous Vermont Dog Paradise” – Emphasizes location in Vermont and creates curiosity around Dog Mountain being a “dog paradise”.

Introduction

Dog Mountain is a 150-acre dog-friendly property located in the town of St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Founded in 1995 by artist Stephen Huneck, Dog Mountain is dedicated to celebrating the bond between humans and dogs through art, nature trails, and events.

After dealing with depression for years, Huneck found great comfort and joy in his black lab, Sally. He wanted to honor her spirit after she passed, so he purchased an old farm property in Vermont and transformed it into a dog lover’s paradise. Dog Mountain opened to the public in 2000 and has since welcomed over 10,000 visitors per year.

Known for its hiking trails, beautiful mountain views, and dog-themed art installations, Dog Mountain has become one of Vermont’s top attractions for both humans and canines. It serves as a memorial to beloved pets and a place where dogs can run off-leash while their owners connect with nature.

About the Founder

Dog Mountain was founded by Stephen Huneck, an American folk artist known for his carved wooden sculptures and paintings of dogs. As described in his Wikipedia article, Huneck had a life-long love of dogs. After a serious illness, he found inspiration in his dogs and began creating dog-themed artwork. This launched his successful career as an artist.

stephen huneck painting with his dog sally as inspiration

In 2000, Huneck purchased a 150-acre mountaintop farmstead in St. Johnsbury, Vermont and renamed it Dog Mountain. As stated on the Dog Mountain Wikipedia page, his passion was to create a place where people could come with their dogs to celebrate the special bond between humans and canines. Dog Mountain officially opened in 2003 and includes Huneck’s studio, art galleries, hiking trails, a pond, and other dog-friendly amenities.

The Land

Dog Mountain is located on 150 privately owned acres in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom region (source: https://www.dogmt.com/Dog-Mountain.html). The property sits on a mountaintop overlooking the Lamoille Valley, with views of nearby mountain ranges.

The terrain at Dog Mountain consists of gently rolling hills, open meadows, and forested areas. There are approximately 50-60 acres of open meadow space where dogs can run and play off-leash (source: https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/bur-wci-DogMountain025-004G.pdf). The meadows contain native grasses and wildflowers. The rest of the property is forested with maple, birch, spruce, and fir trees. Several hiking trails wind through the wooded areas.

Facilities

Dog Mountain is home to several notable facilities that make it a unique and beloved destination for dog lovers. The crown jewel is the Dog Chapel, a spiritual place designed by Stephen Huneck as a celebration of the bond between humans and dogs. The hand-built chapel contains dog-themed art and memorabilia, including Huneck’s colorful dog paintings. There is room inside for people to sit and reflect with their dogs by their side. Many find the chapel intensely moving and come to honor their departed canine companions.

interior of the colorful hand-built dog chapel

For overnight visits, the Stephen Huneck Gallery and Dog Mountain Chalet offer accommodations right on site. The Chalet has rooms with mountain views, while the Gallery has suites decorated with Huneck’s art and sculptures. Rates start at around $150/night (https://www.dogmt.com/Dog-Chapel.html).

The 150 acres of mountain trails at Dog Mountain are open to the public year-round. Dogs can explore off-leash and take in the fresh Vermont air and mountain scenery. In addition to the Chapel, there are multiple Huneck art galleries open to visitors showcasing his loving portrayals of dogs and rural life. Rotating exhibits feature other regional artists.

Memorials and Art

Dog Mountain is home to two special memorials that pay tribute to dogs and the joy they bring to people’s lives. The first is the Dog Chapel, which was built in 2000 by founder Stephen Huneck as a place for people to celebrate the spiritual bond they share with dogs (https://www.dogmt.com/Dog-Chapel.html). The chapel contains thousands of notes, photos, and mementos left by visitors in memory of their beloved pets.

The second memorial is the Stephen Huneck Gallery, which opened in 2009 to showcase Huneck’s whimsical dog-themed artwork. Huneck was an accomplished woodcarver and painter known for his colorful, folk art style paintings and sculptures of dogs. The gallery features many of his original works as well as prints and other keepsakes (https://www.dogmt.com/Dog-Mountain.html).

In addition to the gallery, Dog Mountain has over 100 pieces of Huneck’s dog art scattered around the 150 acre property. As you hike the trails with your dog, you’ll come across cheerful, larger-than-life woodcarvings of dogs as well as painted cutouts placed in the landscapes.

Visiting with Your Dog

Dog Mountain welcomes well-behaved dogs to explore the 150 acres of mountain trails and meadows with their humans. There are a few rules and regulations to be aware of before visiting with your dog:

Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times when on the trails and grounds. Make sure to clean up after your dog and dispose of any waste in the provided waste stations. Dogs are not allowed inside the gallery, Dog Chapel, or any of the buildings.

When visiting with your dog, expect to do some hiking on the mountain trails. There are over 150 acres to explore so be prepared for the terrain. The meadows provide plenty of open space for dogs to play and take in the beautiful views. There are also a few small ponds and streams accessible to dogs on leash.

Visiting Dog Mountain with your furry friend is sure to be a special experience. Respecting the rules helps ensure the area stays clean and safe for all visiting dogs.

Annual Events

Dog Mountain hosts several popular annual events that draw dog lovers from around the region. The biggest is the Dog Mountain Founders Celebration Dog Party, held on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice in June. This event celebrates the legacy of Dog Mountain’s founder, artist Stephen Huneck. It features a parade of dogs, live music, doggie activities, and more. In 2024, it will take place on June 22nd (Calendar of Events | Dog Mountain, VT).

crowd at the annual dog mountain summer celebration

Another popular annual event is the St. J Sparkles Howliday Event in early December. This dog-focused holiday festival includes canine costumes, an illuminated dog walk, caroling, and festive treats for pups. The 2023 edition will be on December 9th (Calendar of Events | Dog Mountain, VT).

Throughout the summer, Dog Mountain partners with Levitt AMP to host the Summer Music Series. This free outdoor concert series features live music every Sunday evening from late June through August. It provides a fun, dog-friendly activity for visitors (Summer Music Series).

In addition to these major gatherings, Dog Mountain frequently hosts smaller meetups, adoption events, fundraisers, and seasonal celebrations open to the public (Dog Mountain). Visitors are encouraged to check the event calendar before their trip to see what might be happening during their stay.

Getting There

Dog Mountain is located in Saint Johnsbury, a town in northeastern Vermont. It lies on 150 acres in the foothills of the Green Mountains. The physical address is 143 Parks Rd, Saint Johnsbury, VT 05819.

By car, Dog Mountain is about a 3 hour drive from Boston and a 5.5 hour drive from New York City. From Burlington, take I-89 North to Exit 19. Follow VT-114 E for 25 miles to Saint Johnsbury. Turn left onto US-2 W and drive 3 miles. Turn right onto Western Ave, left onto Railroad St, and continue straight as it turns into Parks Rd to reach Dog Mountain. There is free on-site parking available.

For those without a car, there is an Amtrak station in Saint Johnsbury which is about a 15 minute drive from Dog Mountain. You can also take a bus from major cities like Boston and New York to nearby towns and then use a taxi or rideshare service for the remainder of the trip.

Nearby Attractions

Dog Mountain is located in Saint Johnsbury, Vermont, which is in the beautiful Northeast Kingdom region. There are many interesting attractions and activities located close to Dog Mountain that visitors may also want to check out while in the area:

Some other notable attractions near Dog Mountain include Moose Bog, a nature preserve with hiking trails through a rich peat bog ecosystem. Kingdom Trails offers over 100 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking during green season. The Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury has fascinating exhibits on natural history, fossils, and space. There are also several maple sugarhouses in the area that offer tours and tastings.

The nearby towns of St. Johnsbury, Lyndonville, and Danville have shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes to explore. On Saturdays May-October, St. Johnsbury hosts a lively farmers market. Kingdom Taproom provides local craft beer, cider and snacks in a cozy environment. Anthony’s Diner is a local favorite for comfort food in St. Johnsbury. For a memorable meal, reviewers recommend dining at the upscale Hill Farmstead Brewery just 20 minutes away.

There are endless opportunities for outdoor recreation around Dog Mountain. Hikers can also enjoy the trails and waterfalls at Wheeler Pond, the Wishbone Trail, and the Lamoille Riverwalk. The Victory Basin offers mountain biking trails that connect to the Kingdom Trails network. Visitors can go kayaking and canoeing on the rivers and lakes in the area. In winter, there are options for snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling nearby.

Why Visit Dog Mountain?

Dog Mountain is a unique and magical place for dog lovers. Founded by artist Stephen Huneck, who tragically took his own life in 2010, Dog Mountain has become a special destination to celebrate the human-canine bond.

Some key reasons to visit Dog Mountain include:

list of key reasons to visit dog mountain vermont

  • The 150 acre property provides plenty of scenic trails and open spaces for dogs to explore and play off-leash. The peaceful setting surrounded by nature is ideal for dogs.
  • Dog Mountain hosts memorials and art celebrating dogs, allowing people to honor beloved pets who have passed on. The Stephen Huneck Gallery also showcases dog-themed art.
  • The Dog Chapel onsite provides a spiritual place for people to reflect on their relationships with dogs past and present. Visitors are encouraged to celebrate their dogs through prayer.
  • Annual events like Dog Parties allow people to gather as a community of dog lovers. These lively celebrations highlight the positive impact dogs have on human lives.

Dog Mountain has become an important destination, providing a unique space for people to experience the profound love, joy and spiritual connection dogs bring. For dog lovers, it is a special place to visit and reminisce about cherished canine companions.

As Stephen Huneck once said, “Dog is God spelled
backwards.” Dog Mountain celebrates this idea that dogs possess a divine, spiritual quality that deeply
enriches human lives.

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