Visiting National Parks is truly a treasured part of the RV travel lifestyle. When our family became full-time RV travelers, we had a list of the National Parks that we wanted to visit with our dogs, Brickle and Digby. But we quickly found out that every National Park has its own set of rules and regulations which are put in place to protect the lands and animals that it preserves. We may want to take our dogs everywhere, but the fact is we must do our research ahead of time when traveling, especially to National Parks.
Yosemite National Park in California was the first National Park we took our dogs. We knew ahead of time that we would be limited on what we could experience in the park with our dogs. At Yosemite, dogs are not allowed on any trails. So, we were prepared to let our dogs, Brickle and Digby, gaze out of the windows and walk them in parking areas and in the campgrounds.
Although this was less than ideal, this experience together at Yosemite National Park started our love of travel with dogs. In order to have them with us, we are happy to make adjustments to our visits at National Parks. If there is something we want to see at a National Park, and pets are not allowed, we have the luxury of camping nearby in our own house (our RV) so that we can let Brickle and Digby rest for an hour or so while we experience it.
It is easy to feel defensive when you first read the pet rules at different National Parks. After all, our pets are our family. But when we look at the big picture of preservation, and the safety and security of each park’s residents, it becomes easier to accept. Sure, we wish that all pet parents could see the importance of picking up after their dogs and keeping them on a leash when visiting these national treasures. But the fact is, they do not.
On a trip to Yellowstone National Park, we were shocked when we witnessed a traveler letting his dog off-leash to chase bison. Not only was this disrespectful to the National Park and its inhabitants, but actions like this ruin it for others. Don’t be that pet parent! Doing your research ahead of time saves disappointment for not only you, but your pets too. Find a National Park that you and your dog can enjoy. Remember that no matter the specific rules and regulations of each park, always pick up after your dog and keep your dog on a leash that is 6 feet or shorter.
To save you time when planning your next adventure, we have compiled a list of all the National Parks in the United States and their rules and regulations as they pertain to travelers with pets. Because this information can change quickly and often, please double-check with the individual park you choose to confirm that the information is up to date.
All 62 National Parks and Their Pet Restrictions
Acadia National Park, Maine
The beauty in Acadia National Park is simply refreshing. There are 100 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads in the park where pets are permitted. This was really great news to us! Blackwoods, Seawall, and Schoodic Woods campgrounds permit pets. On Isle au Haut, pets are permitted for day hiking only.
- Most lakes in the park are public water supplies so pets and people may not swim in them.
- Sand Beach (June 15-Sept 8) and Echo Lake (May 15-Sept 15) are off-limits to pets.
- Public buildings and ranger-led programs are off-limits to pets.
Wild Gardens of Acadia (Sieur de Monts) pets are not allowed or at Duck Harbor Campground. Park trails closed to pets are Precipice, Beehive, Ladder Trail to Dorr Mountain, Beech Cliffs Trail, Perpendicular Trail (Mansell Mountain), Jordan Cliffs Trail between Penobscot East Trail and the carriage road. Park trails not recommended for pets are Acadia Mountain, Flying Mountain, Giant Slide, Cadillac Mountain- west face, Bubble and Jordan Ponds Path, between the carriage road and The Featherbed pond, Norembega Goat Trail, Bubbles-Pemetic Trail, Penobscot Mountain (Spring) Trail, Upper Beachcroft Trail, Upper Gorge Trail.
As we were unable to get reservations, we camped right outside the park’s borders and were able to drive to many trails.
Arches National Park, Utah
Arches National Park is a great drive for senior pets with plenty of scenery right outside your car window. Pets are not allowed on any hiking trails, or anywhere off-trail, even while in a carrier or at any overlooks and in the visitor center or any building. Leashed pets may accompany you along established roads or in parking areas, and in established campgrounds and picnic areas.
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Don’t be bad at Badlands. Pets are only permitted in developed areas, such as campgrounds and picnic areas, and other areas open to motor vehicles, such as gravel and paved roadways, roadway corridors, and parking lots. Pets are prohibited from hiking trails, public buildings, and backcountry areas, including the Badlands Wilderness Area, and areas with prairie dog colonies.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
Seeing Brickle and Digby gaze at the Rio Grande from a parking area was still a great picture-taking opportunity and they enjoyed the drives within the park. We camped outside Big Bend National Park, and our biggest lesson learned here was to have an ample water supply for both us and our pets as the quality of water is questioned in most areas surrounding the park.
Pets are not allowed on trails, off roads, or on the river. Your pet can only go where your car can go. If you plan to hike or take a river trip, someone must stay behind with the pet, or you will need to make arrangements with a kennel service. There is no kennel service in the park.
Biscayne National Park, Florida
Pets are welcome on the grounds surrounding the visitor center and the developed areas of Elliott Key as long as they are on a leash and attended. Biscayne National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife. Admire from a distance and do not disturb the animals! Pets are not allowed in the Visitor Center or on Boca Chita Key.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado
Pets on leash may be walked on roads, in campgrounds, to the overlooks, and are allowed on the Cedar Point Nature Trail, North Rim Chasm View Nature Trail, and Rim Rock Trail inside Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Pets are not allowed on any other hiking trails, cross country ski trails, or inner canyon wilderness. Pets are also not allowed on ranger-led geology walks or evening programs in the campground amphitheater. From approximately June 1 to August 15, dogs are allowed in campsites, but may not be taken on walks (even on a leash), and may not be carried around the South Rim Campground or on the Rim Rock Trail due to potentially aggressive deer protecting their fawns.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Pets are only permitted on paved surfaces in Bryce Canyon National Park. This includes campgrounds, parking lots, paved roads, paved viewpoint areas (all viewpoints except Piracy Point), on the paved trail (section of Rim Trail) between Sunset Point and Sunrise Point, and on the paved Shared Use Path between the park entrance and Inspiration Point. Pets are not permitted on trails or unpaved viewpoints (Piracy Point), in public buildings or on public transportation vehicles.
These regulations also apply to pets that are carried. Pets must be on a leash at all times and the leash must be no longer than 6 feet. Pet owners may not leave pet(s) unattended or tied to an object. Pets may not be left in vehicles while their owners hike. Be aware that idling and generator use is not permitted in park parking lots.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Pets are not allowed on any hiking trails or anywhere off-trail inside Canyonlands National Park. Pets are not allowed at any overlooks, in the visitor center or any building Pets are not allowed in the backcountry (including vehicles on backcountry roads, and on any river trips)
Leashed pets may accompany you along established front-country roads or in parking areas, and in established front-country campgrounds and picnic areas.
Pets may be transported inside vehicles driving the Shafer Trail to Potash Road at Island in the Sky. When the road to Beef Basin via Cathedral Butte is closed by snow/mud, persons with pets are allowed to cross the Needles district via the Elephant Hill-Devil’s Lane/Bobby’s Hole roads. Pets must be on a leash at all times when not in the vehicle and must remain on the designated road surface only.
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
We LOVE Capitol Reef National Park. We walked Brickle and Digby thru the park’s campground which was an experience with scenery unmatched. Although we could not get reservations here, we dry-docked on public land right outside the park and drove in. A welcome part of this was that we got a bit of a cell signal outside the park to work that we could not get inside the park!
Pets are allowed on leash in the developed areas of the park and on the trail from the visitor center to the Fruita Campground. Pets are also allowed on the Fremont River Trail from the campground to the south end of Hattie’s Field in unfenced and/or unlocked orchards, in the Chesnut and Doc Inglesby picnic areas, and in campgrounds. The apples were certainly unexpected treats. Pets are allowed within 50 feet of the centerline of roads (paved and dirt) open to public vehicle travel and in parking areas open to public vehicle travel. Pets are not permitted on other hiking trails, in public buildings, or in the backcountry.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
For our trip to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, we let Brickle and Digby enjoy a nap in the RV as we toured the caverns. Pets are not allowed in the cavern, on unpaved park trails on the surface, off-road, during the Bat Flight Program, or in the visitor center. You are not allowed to leave your pet unattended in vehicles. They must be kenneled. The park concessioner, Carlsbad Caverns Trading Company, operates a kennel service where you may leave your pet in a temperature-controlled environment while you tour the cavern. The kennel is for day use only and no overnight stays. This service is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
Channel Islands National Park, California
In order to protect island wildlife, pets are not allowed in the Channel Islands National Park. According to the park, some of the diseases and parasites that now threaten the fox may have been carried to the islands by animals from the mainland.
Congaree National Park, South Carolina
Congaree National Park welcomes all visitors and their pets! Pets are allowed on all trails, including the boardwalk, as well as in the campgrounds. Although we enjoyed the diverse scenery of this National Park, the heat was an issue for our senior dogs. Bring plenty of water, and if your dog is reactive to other dogs, there are few places to get away on a boardwalk.
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
What a magical place with beautiful water views! Rules for pets at Crater Lake National Park depend on the season. Pets on a leash are allowed on paved roads that are free of significant snow, in parking lots, and up to 50 feet away from these paved, snow-free areas. In the summer and fall, walk your dog along the 1/4-mile paved promenade at Rim Village, where you can get views of the lake. You will see many other travelers with pets here and many pictures being taken! You can also walk your dog through the campground loops at Mazama Village. You can also walk your dog on top of the snowbank beside the parking lot, as long as you don’t venture more than 50 feet away. This was a treat for Brickle who loves snow!
In the summer and fall, pets are also allowed on several of the park’s hiking trails. These trails are nice walks but do not offer any views of the lake:
- The Godfrey Glen Trail (as long as the trail is free of significant snow)
- The Lady of the Woods Trail (as long as the trail is free of significant snow)
- The Grayback Drive (as long as the trail is free of significant snow)
- The Pacific Crest Trail (the official PCT, not the “alternate” PCT along the rim of the lake)
- In the winter and spring, pets are allowed only on one park trail which is the Pacific Crest Trail. The Pacific Crest Trail is open year-round to pets, whether it is covered by snow or not.
Pets are not allowed on other park trails, off-trail, or on unplowed roads. They are also not allowed inside park buildings, including Crater Lake Lodge and the Mazama Village Cabins. Except for service animals, pets are not allowed on boat tours.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
There are over 110 miles of hiking trails and twenty miles of the Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park where pets are permitted. Pets are not allowed In any park building, on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Train, or on the East Rim mountain bike trails. This park is different from any other National Park we have visited Often, we thought we were in residential areas, as the park is so expansive. Make sure to download or pick up a map and don’t get confused like we did!
Death Valley National Park, California, and Nevada
Pets are welcome in developed areas, which is wherever a car can go inside Death Valley National Park. Pets are not permitted on any park trails or in the wilderness. This also includes the boardwalks at Badwater and Salt Creek and paved trails. Pets also may not enter park buildings, such as visitor centers or historic structures, or on Ranger-led tours.
Roads suggested by the park that are available to enjoy exploring with your pet:
- 20 Mule Team Canyon
- Devil’s Golf Course Road
- Father Crowley Point spur road to Padre Point
- Furnace Creek Airport Road
- Lake Hill Road
- Mustard Canyon Road
- Titus Canyon Road
- Cottonwood-Marble Access Road
Denali National Park, Alaska
Pets may be walked on the park road, in parking lots, or on campground roads within Denali National Park. In general, pets are not permitted on park trails, nor off-trail in the wilderness; the exceptions to this rule are the Roadside Trail and the Bike Path, where they may be walked on a leash. Pets are not permitted on any of the various buses in Denali
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Remember that you have to get to Dry Tortugas National Park by boat! Does your pet enjoy the water? How is your pet with high temperatures? Pets are permitted on Garden Key but not inside Fort Jefferson. Pets are not permitted on any other key in the park. The only way to get to the park is by boat or seaplane and the commercial ferry and the seaplane do not allow pets onboard. Visitors arriving by personal boats are welcome to bring pets.
Everglades National Park, Florida
In Everglades National Park, pets are permitted on roadways that are open to vehicular traffic, roadside campground and picnic areas, maintained grounds surrounding public facilities and residential areas, and private boats. Pets not permitted in unpaved roads and unpaved trails, boardwalk trails, and the Shark Valley Tram Trail.
Gates of the Arctic National Park, Alaska
There are no closed areas to pets in Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve. Many visitors employ personal floatation devices for pets when traveling on rivers or lakes, as the water is often very cold and swift. Both communities of Bettles and Anaktuvuk Pass have strict pet leash policies.
Gateway Arch National Park, Missouri, and Illinois
Pets on a leash are welcome to explore the grounds at Gateway Arch National Park, on the Riverfront Trail, and also on the scenic riverboat cruises. Pets are not allowed inside the Arch, Old Courthouse, Museum of Western Expansion, or any other buildings. This was a great place to walk Brickle and Digby, but there was a lot of traffic, both vehicular and horses. Make sure your dog is not stressed by these factors.
Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
In Glacier Bay National Park, pets are not allowed on trails, beaches, or anywhere in the backcountry, with the exception of pets that remain on board private vessels on the water. Pets are allowed on the Bartlett Cove Public Use Dock, on the beach between the Bartlett Cove Public Use Dock and the National Park Service Administrative Dock, within 100 feet of Bartlett Cove Developed Area park roads or parking areas unless otherwise posted and on a vessel on the water.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Pets are allowed in developed areas in Glacier National Park such as in your cars while driving park roads, front country campgrounds, picnic areas, along roads when you are stopped, in parking areas, and in boats on lakes where motorized watercraft are permitted. Pets are not permitted on trails, along lakeshores outside of developed locations, in the backcountry, or in any building.
When the bike path between Apgar and West Glacier is free of snow dogs are allowed on leash. When roads are closed to vehicle traffic, they are considered a backcountry trail, and dogs are not allowed. Depending on the time of year, many roads in the park may be closed. But we still had a great time with our senior dogs as they enjoyed the drives and scenery from the overlooks. This was the scenery and smells that to them were easily enjoyed from the car.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
We choose to camp at Grand Canyon National Park so that we all could experience more. Although the campground is small with not many amenities, you have the luxury of being able to take short hikes that your pet may not be allowed on while they take a nap. Pets are not allowed below the canyon rim. Inner canyon trails are narrow and well-traveled.
Our favorite place to walk our dogs and get some great pictures…carefully…was the South Rim trail which is paved. Keep in mind that not all travelers like dogs. We found this out quickly here. We also chose to take a hike down into the canyon. One of us stayed with the dogs while the other did a hike! Making adjustments is part of travel with pets, but it can be done!
On the South Rim
Leashed pets are allowed on trails above the rim, Mather Campground, Desert View Campground, Trailer Village, and throughout developed areas. Yavapai Lodge is the only in-park lodge that has pet-friendly rooms.
Pets are not permitted below the rim (on inner canyon trails), on park shuttle buses, in-park lodging, with the exception of those staying with their owners in a pet-friendly room or on the North Rim
Leashed pets are only allowed on the bridle trail (greenway) that connects the North Kaibab Trail, and the portion of the Arizona Trail north to the park entrance station. At Tuweep, leashed pets are only allowed on established roads and in the campground.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Pets are allowed inside Grand Teton National Park, but they must be restrained at all times and are not permitted on hiking trails, inside visitor centers, or other facilities. Pets are prohibited on trails, pathways, and swimming in any park waters. A good rule of thumb is that a pet may go anywhere a car may go: roads and road shoulders, campgrounds and picnic areas, parking lots, etc. Pets are not permitted on any park trails or in the park backcountry. Pets are prohibited from public buildings and swimming beaches, except for guide dogs.
Pets are prohibited from riding in boats on park waters, except for Jackson Lake.
Pets are not allowed on the park’s multi-use pathway. From November 1 through April 30 every year the park closes portions of the Teton Park Road, Antelope Flats, and Moose-Wilson Road to motorized traffic, allowing for public recreation. Leashed dogs are permitted on the Teton Park, Antelope Flats, and Moose-Wilson roads, as well as other park roadways. Dogs are restricted to roads and turnouts – they are not permitted to travel more than 30 feet from roadbeds, or into the park’s backcountry. Owners are required to keep pets on a leash (six-foot maximum length). Mutt Mitt stations are in place at the Taggart Lake Trailhead parking area.
Great Basin National Park, Nevada
When we are asked what our favorite campsite was in all of our travels, Great Basin National Park comes first to mind. We had no hookups…but camping here allowed the dogs to experience the rushing stream behind us and gaze at the snow-capped peaks of the mountains in the distance. And gazing up at the stars at night and seeing the bristlecone pines are experiences we will never forget. Since there are not many places that pets are allowed, a drive was in order! We turned on classical music and let the cool air tickle their senses. We stopped right outside the park near the visitor center at a roadside espresso stand and we shared a cinnamon roll with Brickle and Digby.
Pets are not permitted in Lehman Caves or at evening programs. Pets are not permitted on trails or in the backcountry of the park, except leashed pets on the Lexington Arch Trail or the trail between Baker and the Great Basin Visitor Center. Leashed pets can only be exercised in the campgrounds, in front of the visitor centers, and along roads.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is one of only a few national parks that permits pets in most areas. Pets are permitted in the Preserve (including Mosca Pass Trail) and main use areas of the Park (including Piñon Flats Campground, Dunes Overlook Trail, and along the Medano Pass Primitive Road).
Pets are not permitted inside the visitor center and bathrooms, in the backcountry of the dune field, beyond the first high ridge of dunes, off of the Dunes Overlook Trail, north of Castle Creek Picnic Area, except along Medano Pass Primitive Road, north of Point of No Return, including Sand Ramp Trail or in any backpacking campsites located inside the national park.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina, and Tennessee
In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, dogs are allowed in campgrounds, picnic areas, and along roads, but must be kept on a leash at all times. Dogs are only allowed on two short walking paths—the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail. The Gatlinburg Trail was a perfect hike for our dogs, and it leads right into the city of Gatlinburg. Streams, creeks, little bridges, and friendly folks will all be found along the way. We did see many bears during our time here, so if your dog is reactive, just keep that in mind.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
Leashed pets are permitted in Guadalupe Mountains National Park only in areas accessed by vehicles, including established roadsides, parking areas, developed picnic areas, and campgrounds. Leashed pets may walk on the short Pine Springs Campground connector trail or along the Pinery Trail from the visitor center to the Butterfield Stage Station. Pets must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet and attended at all times.
Federal regulations require all pet excrement to be picked up and disposed of in a marked trash receptacle. At the Guadalupe Mountains, pets are prohibited, in park buildings, in restrooms, at public programs, in the backcountry, and on ALL park trails except the Pinery Trail and the Pine Springs Campground connector trail.
Haleakalā National Park, Hawaii
In Haleakalā National Park dogs are permitted in parking lots and drive-up campgrounds and on roadways and paved pathways only. Dogs are not permitted on trails. You may not leave animals unattended at any time. Please do not bring dogs into park buildings.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
Pets are allowed at all parking areas and surrounding curbs (excluding Hilina Pali Road and Kulanaokuaiki Campground), on Crater Rim Drive in areas open to vehicles inside Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Pets are allowed on Chain of Craters Road down to Puʻu Loa Petroglyphs, at Nāmakanipaio Campground, on Mauna Loa Road, occasionally referred to as “The Strip Road” and on Highway 11. You may bring your pet to Kīlauea Military Camp, on paved roads and parking areas; and at the picnic area, up to the park ball field gate, not including the ball field. Pets are prohibited in all of the undeveloped areas of the park. This includes all designated wilderness and all front-country and backcountry trails.
At the Kahuku Unit
Pet are allowed in developed areas that include the open fields adjacent to the Visitor Contact Station and other park buildings, and the area that extends to the boundary of the forested areas up to, but not including Puʻu o Lokuana. Pets are allowed on Kahuku Road from Highway 11 to the cross fence gate, including the airstrip by the intersection of Puʻu o Lokuana, and on Old Mamalahoa Highway spur road.
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
This National Park was so unexpected! And the dogs did not expect the water to be hot in the streams rushing by! With inspiriting scenery and endless opportunities to explore, this is a perfect place for travelers with pets. Dogs are welcome on all 26 miles of the Hot Springs National Park trails. There are Pet Waste Stations located on both ends of Bathhouse Row and in the campground. Pets are not permitted inside of Federal Buildings and other park buildings.
Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana
In Indiana Dunes National Park, pets are not allowed on the Pinhook Bog Trail but are allowed on the Pinhook Upland Trail. Pets are not allowed on the equestrian portion of the Glenwood Dunes Trail system. Pets are allowed on beaches and must be on a leash at all times, even when swimming in the lake. Pets are allowed year-round on all beaches with the following exception: Pets are not allowed in the lifeguarded swimming area at West Beach from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through the Monday of Labor Day Weekend.
Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Dogs, cats, and other mammals are not allowed on the island that is Isle Royale National Park. This includes pets on boats within the park boundaries, which extend 4 ½ miles into Lake Superior from the outermost land areas of the park. Visitors bringing pets to Isle Royale will be required to leave immediately.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
We loved Joshua Tree National Park! Pets are allowed within 100 feet (30.5 m) of roads, picnic areas, and campgrounds. Pets are also permitted on the paved Oasis of Mara and Keys View trails. Be aware of hot sidewalks and pavement that will burn your pet’s feet and walk only during the cooler parts of the day. Unpaved roads offer spectacular scenery and a chance to immerse yourself in the desert landscape with your pet while following park regulations and protecting the park. Anywhere you can drive your vehicle, you can go with your leashed pet. Some unpaved roads require 4-wheel drive and/or high clearance.
Katmai National Park, Alaska
Due to the fact that most of the park is wilderness and the high concentration of bears, especially around Brooks Camp (in close proximity to visitors) Katmai National Park does not allow pets inside the park.
Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
Pets are allowed on the road to Exit Glacier (the Herman Leirer Road) and in the parking lot of the Exit Glacier Nature Center within Kenai Fjords National Park. Pets are not allowed on trails, such as the trails of the Exit Glacier area or the Harding Icefield Trail, or in the coastal backcountry. Pets are also not allowed along the coast in an area extending from the mean high tide line to 1/4 mile inland from 5/30 – 11/1 or in any building, regardless of the season.
Kings Canyon National Park, California
Pets are prohibited on all trails inside Kings Canyon National Park. This includes paved trails, such as the General Sherman Tree Trail, Big Trees Trail, Grant TreeTrail, and others. Pet backpacks and strollers are permitted, but not on any trails. They are only permitted in areas where pets are allowed on leashes, such as parking lots, paved roads, campgrounds, and picnic areas.
Whether on foot or in a carrier, pets are limited to these four areas. There are just a few locations where pets are permitted in the parks, outside of your vehicle. They are permitted outside of vehicles in the following locations: parking lots, paved roads, campgrounds, and at picnic areas
Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska
Pets are allowed on leash in Kobuk Valley National Park.
Lake Clark National Park, Alaska
Leashed pets are permitted in Lake Clark National Park. This is pawsome!
Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
Pets may only go anywhere a car may go which are roads and road shoulders (not snow-covered), campgrounds, picnic areas, and parking lots inside Lassen Volcanic National Park. Pets are not permitted on any hiking trail, in the park backcountry (including snow-covered roads or trails), in any body of water, or inside visitor centers or other park facilities.
Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
Brickle and Digby are not fans of caves. And that’s a good thing because they aren’t allowed there! We camped outside Mammoth Cave National Park and did a brief tour by ourselves of the caves.
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
Pets are not allowed on trails, in archeological sites, or in buildings within Mesa Verde National Park. Pets may be walked along paved roads, in parking lots, and at the campground. Pets must be leashed at all times when outside a vehicle. Leashed pets are allowed on some of the trails on Wetherill Mesa when it is open in the spring, summer, and fall. Pet-friendly trails are marked and include the 5-mile Long House Loop. Please check signs at trailheads before taking your pet on any trail.
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Pets are permitted at Mount Rainier In parking lots, in campgrounds, on paved roads open to public vehicles, and no more than 6 feet from paved roads. At Mount Rainier, pets are NOT allowed on trails, in the wilderness and/or off-trail areas, inside buildings, in amphitheaters, or on roads closed for winter. The Pacific Crest Trail is the one exception to this rule. Dogs on a leash no longer than 6 feet are permitted on the Pacific Crest Trail. We had a great time at this National Park, even from the parking lots with plenty of views and picture-taking opportunities.
National Park of American Samoa, American Samoa
Pets are not allowed in public buildings, public transportation vehicles, swimming beaches, and structures within National Park of American Samoa. Pets, including cats, dogs, or other domesticated animals are not allowed on hiking trails or within park buildings.
New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, West Virginia
Pets are allowed on all trails at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
North Cascades National Park, Washington
Dogs and other pets are not allowed within North Cascades National Park except on a leash on the Pacific Crest Trail and within 50 feet of roads. Pets are allowed on a leash within the Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. Pets are also allowed on most surrounding national forest lands.
Olympic National Park, Washington
Pets are allowed on the Peabody Creek Trail (Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles), Rialto Beach parking lot to Ellen Creek (1/2 mile), the beaches between the Hoh and Quinault Reservations (Kalaloch area), Madison Falls Trail (Elwha), Spruce Railroad Trail (North shore of Lake Crescent), and the July Creek Loop Trail (North shore of Lake Quinault) Pets are not permitted on any trails not listed above, in public buildings, on interpretive walks, or in the wilderness. Additionally, pets are welcome in drive-in campgrounds and picnic areas as well as paved or dirt roads.
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
The Petrified Forest National Park was unlike any destination we have visited. The rangers were dog lovers and welcomed us with open paws. Pets are allowed on any paved road or trail as well as all official Wilderness areas in the park. You can’t go wrong at this park! Just bring plenty of water, because there is not much shade.
Pinnacles National Park, California
Pets are allowed in the picnic areas, campgrounds, parking lots, and on paved roads within Pinnacles National Park. Pets are prohibited on all park trails. Pets are not allowed on the shuttle or in any buildings such as visitor centers or the Bear Gulch Nature Center.
Redwood National Park, California
Pets are not allowed on any park trails or at ranger-led programs within Redwood National Park. Pets are allowed in developed campgrounds, on beaches, picnic areas, and on roads.
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Leashed pets may accompany you only along established roads or in parking areas, in established campgrounds and picnic areas within Rocky Mountain National Park.
Saguaro National Park, Arizona
Watch your paws in Saguaro National Park! Pets are allowed only on roadways, picnic areas (except the Mam-A-Gah picnic area in the Tucson Mountain District-west), and paved trails (Desert Ecology Trail & Desert Discovery Trail). We bought a little cactus in the visitor center that we plan to plant one day!
Sequoia National Park, California
In Sequoia National Park, pets are only permitted outside of vehicles in parking lots, paved roads, campgrounds, and picnic areas.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
We love, love, love Shenandoah National Park. So many trails to walk the dogs on and we camped at the nearby state park, which was dog friendly.
Pets are allowed, if leashed, on most trails, but prohibited on the following trails:
- Fox Hollow Trail (mile 4.6)
- Stony Man Trail (mile 41.7)
- Limberlost Trail (mile 43)
- Post Office Junction to Old Rag Shelter
- Old Rag Ridge Trail
- Old Rag Saddle Trail
- Old Rag Access Trail
- Ridge Access Trail (Old Rag area)
- Dark Hollow Falls Trail (mile 50.7)
- Story of the Forest Trail (mile 51)
- Bearfence Mountain Trail (mile 56.4)
- Frazier Discovery Trail (mile 79.5)
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
Can you say prairie dogs? So cute and so plentiful in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Leashed pets may be walked along roads and road shoulders, sidewalks, parking areas, and in campgrounds and picnic areas. But seeing Brickle and Digby look at the prairie dogs from the car was so memorable. Watching our dogs see new sights and animals never gets old. The sidewalk at the Painted Canyon Visitor Center (I-94, exit 32) is a good place to walk dogs and has fantastic views of the badlands all along the way. Pets are not allowed on trails.
Virgin Islands National Park, Virgin Islands
Pets are allowed on all of the trails at the Virgin Islands National Park. As the Virgin Islands are located near the Equator, you’ll want to bring plenty of water for both you and your pet if you plan on visiting.
Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
Pets are allowed at the Frontcountry campsites only within Voyageurs National Park. Pets are not allowed at the Backcountry sites located within the Kabetogama Peninsula. Pets are allowed only on the 1.7-mile Recreation Trail which follows County Road 96 from Hwy 11 to the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. Pets are allowed in the immediate visitor center areas and parking lots.
White Sands National Park, New Mexico
White Sands National Park is probably one of the most memorable national parks we have visited. It felt like we were on another planet and the smells and sights for the dogs to experience were totally new. Go anywhere outside with your pet in the park as long as they are non-disruptive, on a leash no longer than six feet, and are under physical control at all times. Pets are not allowed in any park buildings.
Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota
Pets are welcome at Wind Cave National Park except for the back-country areas of the park. Areas pets are allowed include the grassy areas near the visitor center, the Elk Mountain Campground, and both the Prairie Vista Trail and Elk Mountain Campground Trail.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska
Within Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, dogs are allowed in the backcountry area of the park and they must be properly controlled at all times. Please note that dogs must be on a leash while in the Kennecott Historic Landmark area and on the immediate grounds around the contact stations, including the Headquarters Visitor Center at Copper Center and the Boreal Forest Trail, the Chitina Ranger Station and the Slana Ranger Station.
It is very important to remember that trapping is popular and legal in Alaska from Fall through Spring (seasons vary by location and species). Unleashed pets can get caught in traps or snares. Maintaining physical control of your pet is advised since it is your responsibility to prevent harm to your pet. That means a leash! Don’t take unnecessary chances.
Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming
Yellowstone is on the top of many lists when it comes to National Parks! If you love animals as much as we do, you are probably excited to visit. But keep in mind that pets may only accompany people in developed areas and must remain within 100 feet of roads, parking areas, and campgrounds.
Pets must be physically controlled at all times and they must be in a car, in a crate, or on a leash no more than six feet long. Pets are not allowed on boardwalks, hiking trails, in the backcountry, or in thermal areas. We were able to camp outside of Yellowstone and drive into the park numerous times to see specific sites that Brickle and Digby were not allowed at.
Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite was the first national park that we took our dogs to, and it truly started our obsession with giving them the best life possible. When we saw them gazing up at the snow-peaked mountains and breathing in the fresh air, we were hooked. But pets are not allowed in many places at the park. They are allowed in developed areas, on fully paved roads, sidewalks, and bicycle paths. Pets are not allowed on trails, including the trail to Vernal Fall (however, pets are allowed on the Wawona Meadow Loop), on unplowed roads covered in snow, in undeveloped and wilderness areas, in public buildings, on shuttle buses, in lodging areas and in all walk-in and group campgrounds/campsites, including Camp 4.
Zion National Park, Utah
Leashed pets may be walked on the Pa’rus Trail. All other trails, and all wilderness areas, are closed to pets. Pets are not allowed on shuttle buses or in public buildings within Zion.
Are National Parks Worth Traveling To With Pets?
You may wonder with all of the rules and regulations of National Parks if traveling with your pet is worth it. We truly believe that Brickle and Digby inspire us to travel more, see more and live more. Without them, travel would be easier sometimes. But seeing the parks thru their eyes is a perspective that we would not trade for ease.
Often, there are public and forested lands available outside of National Parks that do allow pets with fewer restrictions. We have found some of our favorite boondocking campsites this way!
When we have to research the National Parks ahead of time, we find that we learn more about it. Despite all the information we find out, we always ask when entering the park about the rules and regulations for pets. Not only is this respectful to do, but it reminds us that the world is bigger than we are. There public obligation to keep the National Parks as they are is bigger than all of us. We can all do our part, and our pets can too!
Your Dog Can Become A B.A.R.K. Ranger!
The Bark Ranger program was introduced by the National Park Service as a way to encourage responsible national park travel with dogs!
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BARK stands for:
- Bag your poop
- Always wear a leash (6-foot max)
- Respect wildlife (give them their space)
- Know where you can go (which trails/areas are pet friendly)
Dogs participating in the program are sworn in as Bark Rangers, and their owners can purchase a special tag for their pup’s collar. Each participating park has its own tag, so your dog can collect them all!