Written by Aurus Sy
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 11/12/2021, edited: 04/05/2023
National parks are a top destination for many people who are looking to take a break from everyday life. After all, these are where you can find some of the country’s most amazing landscapes, plus few things are more enjoyable than spending time in nature. And if you’re a pet parent, you’d likely agree that exploring the outdoors is even better when you’re with your pup. But are dogs allowed in US national parks?
Outdoor-loving dog parents and their fur kids will be happy to hear that most national parks welcome canines! Moreover, many parks often have events and activities “pupared” just for four-legged visitors.
Of course, there are some rules to follow to ensure everyone’s tails keep wagging. Rules vary across parks, so always check your destination’s website for specific information before you travel. But all pooch-friendly national parks adhere to the B.A.R.K. principles:
Though some areas are off-limits to dogs, including backcountry and other types of trails, US national parks still offer a number of things for Fido to do, including the B.A.R.K. Ranger program. In this short program, you and your pup will be asked to complete a few simple activities and demonstrate that you understand the B.A.R.K. principles. Once you have successfully completed the tasks and signed the pledge, your furry friend will be “sworn in” as a B.A.R.K. Ranger and receive an official B.A.R.K. Ranger dog tag or certificate!
In addition to the B.A.R.K. Ranger program, you and your pup can also enjoy:
Ready to embark on an outdoor adventure with your four-legged pal? Here are some “grrreat” places to start!
Located on the coast of Maine, Acadia often tops lists of the most dog-friendly national parks, and for good reason. Canines are allowed on 100 miles of hiking trails, 45 miles of carriage roads, 3 campgrounds, and Isle au Haut (day hiking only). Puptastic!
While dogs aren’t allowed on hiking trails at Yosemite (except on the Wawona Meadow Loop), Fido is allowed to set paw in most developed areas and on most fully paved roads, sidewalks, and bicycle paths. Luckily, many of the valley’s iconic attractions can be seen from these pet-friendly paths, including Bridalveil Fall and Glacier Point.
Hounds who love to hike are in for a treat at Shenandoah, where only 20 out of over 500 miles of trails are off-limits to canines! Dogs are also allowed in all campgrounds. For pampered pooches who aren’t used to “ruffing” it, pet-friendly lodging is available as well.
The Grand Canyon welcomes furry visitors on all trails above the rim including the 13-mile Rim Trail, an easy hike with views down into the canyon. Dogs aren’t allowed on park shuttle buses though, so make sure to plan your hike. Your pup can also join you on some of the campgrounds and throughout developed areas.
Unlike most national parks, White Sands allows leashed dogs to tag along with their humans everywhere except inside buildings. Set out on any of the park’s five established trails with your pup to experience the unique landscape of this gypsum dunefield. Fido can even go on the sand!
Here are some tips to make your trip to a national park with Fido safe, fun, and memorable!
National parks offer a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Fortunately, you can bring your furry pal to most of them! Which one will you and your pooch visit first?
Whether your dog needs additional training to be trail-ready or a pet sitter while you explore, download the Wag! app for all your pet care needs!
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