We live in VT, about 1 mile from the Long Trail. We have taken Nala hiking many times. She looks forward to going out with "Daddy" every morning in the nice weather. She loves to run and chase the chipmunks and is quite friendly to dogs when she is off leash. She definitely NOT friendly to others when she's on leash. The only thing we make certain to do is to get her back on the leash well before heading back near the road, since she loves to chase cars and doesn't understand the risk.
I will say that I was against her being off-leash. I was so worried about all of things mentioned above, but living in such a rural area, I gave in and we tried it. I don't think I'd recommend it for every dog.
I would be concerned about Jazzy chasing a critter too fast and too far for ME to keep track of her.
And I don't worry about HER being friendly or unfriendly off-leash, I worry about the OTHER dogs. We've met some pretty aggressive dogs off-leash in the woods behind our place. Always really aggravates me that those people won't leash their dogs. If MY dogs hadn't been leashed, there's no telling what would have happened if my dogs had also been unleashed.
We just don't walk in those woods any more.
I have a friend who has 2 b's also.. We take all 4 dogs out on the trails here in Colorado. We do let them run, but we've been going to the same places for 5 years. I have a radio tracking system for them when we go camping. I mount transmitters on their collars. I had to track one once, but she actually led me back to camp. Usually one of the B's will go find the other(s)..:)
I've hiked with all my Basenjis for 30 years. 98% of the time off leash. Great experiences. Only once did my red/wht Ringo get lost. Took off after squirrels or a jack rabbit. Basenjis are very fast and if you're in the hills or forest they can disappear. You have to constantly keep your eye on them. Anyway he went home with a couple and they called me. Make sure you have all their tags on and get them microchiped. You have to look at the environment your going to and if it's a danger to the dogs or a danger the dog will impose to the wildlife. Back in 1982 my tri color killed a phesant and it was in a non hunting area. Also my 2 Basenjis (red/wt and blk wht) used to chase and kill jack rabbits in a large field. Also a non hunting area so I stopped taking them to these areas.
When I visit Nor Cal my B loves going hiking in the Saratoga hills. He even walks with me in the shallow part of the rivers. Its very relaxing we take a backpack with everything we might need or he might need and have a picnic. I do keep mine on a leash though he is a "chaser" and I dont want him to hurt a critter. Not to mention fearless I wouldnt want a large animal to hurt him too!
P.S. we check for ticks when we get home /never had a problem though.
I've hiked off leash at numerous areas here in the SF Bay area. They love it! Any there was only 1 area that was a problem with ticks. To me after 30 years hiking with them it's the best way to establish a great relationship with them. There's no two ways about it, Basenjis love hiking adventures.