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Are Dogs Allowed In National Parks?

Are Dogs Allowed In National Parks?

An often asked question is are dogs allowed in National Parks? Having a dog as a pet is nearly everyone’s dream.

Dogs give us good company, and all of us would want to stroll with these amazing creatures from one place to another. However, some places prohibit people from visiting with their dogs.

Most National Parks in the United States allow pet owners to go with their dogs in national parks. Since some parks have strict pet policies that limit pets to only the most developed areas.

Every park has a unique experience for pet owners and will offer them different experiences with their pets. Therefore, you must remember to check the rules and regulations for every location to know where your dog is allowed.

The United States National Parks Pet Policies

Generally, national parks in the United States of America welcome pets on many trails and campgrounds, some lodging facilities, and developed facilities. So, pets will have to be restrained either on a leash not longer than 5 feet, caged, or crated. 

National Park Service (NPS)

The NPS is an agency of the federal government of the USA tasked with managing all national parks, several national monuments, and various conservation and historical properties. 

Are Dogs Allowed In National Parks?

Visiting United States National Parks with Pets

If you plan to visit a national park in the United States with your dog, you will have to find out the parks that allow pets and those that prohibit them. You will also have to find out important things that you should be aware of in order to enjoy time with your little companion.

Hiking With Pets- National Park Service

Some national parks in the United States welcome dogs and other pets on trails. It is important to get a few tips on hiking with dogs in parks before visiting. 

B.A.R.K Ranger Program

Some national parks offer their visitors a BARK Ranger Program to encourage responsible national park travel with dogs as well as educate visitors with pets about the rules in the park. Dogs that participate in the program are sworn in as Bark Rangers. So, owners of these dogs can purchase a special tag for the collar of their dogs. 

United Nations National Forests Pet Policies

All national forests in the United States allow pets within their environment. However, you will have to keep them on a leash not longer than 5 feet while on interpretive trails and in developed recreation areas. Some areas within the national forests may not require dogs to be on a leash but should be under control. 

Best Dog-Friendly National Parks in America

There are several national parks in the United States where you can visit with your dog and have memorable moments. Here are some of them.

Acadia National Park- Maine

Acadia is a popular national park located on the coast of Maine and is among the top dog-friendly parks on our list. Pets are welcome on almost all 45 miles of carriage roads and 120 miles of hiking trails within the park. There are a few trails that will require climbs using ladders and iron rungs. 

Dogs and other pets are also allowed in several public areas at the park. Some of the areas where your dog will not be allowed to go include Wild Gardens of Acadia and Duck Harbor Campground. During the high season ( May to September), your dog will also not be allowed at Echo Lake Beach and Sand Beach. Everywhere else at the park, you can be accompanied by your dog.

Congaree National Park- South Carolina

Are Dogs Allowed In National Parks?

Congaree National Park is situated in South Carolina and welcomes all visitors alongside their pets. Also, the park protects the large intact expanse of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the southeastern United States. Visitors can be joined by their leashed pets on all trails, including the boardwalk and in the campgrounds.

This floodplain where the Wateree and Congaree Rivers meet supports many animals and plants, including state and national champion trees. So then, you can rent a canoe or kayak to immerse yourself in the ecosystem and observe the wildlife from the water.

You will have to plan accordingly in the spring since most of the trails tend to flood. Mosquitoes may come in full force once the water recedes. Therefore, you will have to pack plenty of insect repellant in order to enjoy your trip.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park- Ohio

Established in 2000, Cuyahoga Valley is a more recent addition to the national park collection. Therefore, It is a pet-friendly national park located in Cleveland, Ohio. Pets are allowed to join their owners on all of the 125 miles of trails in the park. 

Cuyahoga Valley park wends along the Cuyahoga River and through the dense forest, over rolling hills and farmland. It features several historical sites, such as the Everett Covered Bridge and the Canal Exploration Center. 

Here are the rules and regulations when visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park with your dog:

  • Dogs are allowed on 110 miles of the hiking trails in the park
  • Pets are allowed in the campground of the park
  • Dogs are allowed on 20 miles of the Towpath Trail

Shenandoah National Park- Virginia

Shenandoah is a peaceful oasis located 75 miles outside of Washington, DC. It includes 300 square miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park is a top destination for avid hikers and also offers miles of dog-friendly trails. You can hike alongside your dog past cascading waterfalls and through the quiet woodlands. 

Here are things to know for those visiting the park with their dogs:

  • Leashed dogs can access 480 miles out of the 500 miles hiking trails in the park
  • You should be prepared for a possible encounter with a snake or bear
  • Dogs are allowed in all campgrounds at the park, and pet-friendly accommodation is available.

Yosemite National Park- California

Yosemite is an expansive park of about 1200 square miles in the High Sierras. Moreover, It includes a mile-wide valley cut by the Merced River, beautiful waterfalls, the iconic granite monolith El Capitan, and giant sequoias. While your dog trails in the park are completely off-limit to dogs, pets are allowed in various developed areas from where you can enjoy the legendary views of the park.

  • Leashed dogs are allowed on sidewalks, most bicycle paths, and paved roads.
  • You should be prepared for a possible encounter with a bear
  • Dogs are permitted in campgrounds but not walk-in and group campsites.
  • In Hodgdon Meadow and Wawona, dogs are lovely and lesser-known locales in the park.

Grand Canyon National Park- Arizona

Since the Grand Canyon National Park is an immense geological wonder with over five million visitors every year. It is one mile deep, 18 miles wide at the broadest end, and 275 miles long as the Colorado River flows.

  • Leashed dogs are allowed on trails that are above the park’s South rim
  • Pets are allowed in various campgrounds in the park
  • You can go with your pets to all the developed sections of the park
  • A kennel is available in the park for those with pets who want to hike the inner canyon.
  • Except for service animals, your pet is not allowed below the rim of the canyon.
Are Dogs Allowed In National Parks?

Rocky Mountain National Park- Colorado

Rocky Mountain park has wildlife such as bighorn sheep, mountain lions, moose, bears, elk, and bobcats. The park usually blooms with tundra flowers and sub-alpine wildflowers. 

Here is what you should know when visiting Rocky Mountain National Park:

  • Dogs are allowed in the campground of the park
  • Dogs are allowed in developed areas, in picnic areas, and on paved roads, which command breathtaking views

Zion National Park- Utah

For many years, the Virgin River has cut the narrow and deep canyon at the heart of Zion. However, the mesas of this park are home to about 68 species of mammals, including rock squirrels, bighorn sheep, kangaroo rats, foxes, and deer. 

  • Dogs on a leash are allowed by the park on the Pa’rus Trail. It is a lovely 4-mile long paved path
  • Dogs are allowed in developed areas of the park
  • Since the path is popular with bikers, you will have to be alert in case your dog gets excited when the bikers pass by.
  • You should be prepared to get your dog cool and hydrated on the trail because Zion gets extremely hot.

General Park Dog Rules

  • Most of the national parks in the US prohibit dogs and other pets from hiking trails and backcountry
  • Dogs should not be left in parked cars
  • Dogs should not be left unattended
  • Most parks allow dogs in picnic areas, campgrounds, and on paved roads
  • Dogs should wear identification tags and a personalized collar with medical and contact information
  • Many Dogs are not allowed in public buildings
  • Dogs are not allowed on a ranger-led program
  • Owners should maintain strict control of their pets so that they do not threaten other park visitors or wildlife.
  • You should keep food for pets in food lockers to avoid predators
  • You will be expected to pick up after your dog diligently


If you have been asking yourself whether dogs are allowed in national parks or not, you are now answered. Nearly all national parks in the US allow visitors to be accompanied by their dogs. However, you will have to follow their rules and regulations. 

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