It makes sense that you chose the world’s first national park to unwind with your family. And even though Fido has never missed out on any family vacation before, you’re wondering if he can come along this time. But, are dogs allowed in Yellowstone National Park?
Yes, they are! But, it comes with a lot of restrictions, as you’ll soon find out.
Yellowstone National Park isn’t a very welcoming place for dogs. Or pets for that matter. Your dog must be within 100 feet of roads and car parks. Fido will not be allowed on park trails, boardwalks, or in the thermal areas!
While these restrictions may limit your experience, it’ll be important to observe them. Not only for your dog’s sake but for the sake of the wider public.
It may therefore make more sense to leave Fido at home this time around. But, if you can’t afford to, there are other ways to enjoy your trip.
Yellowstone National Park Pet Rules
When bringing Fido to Yellowstone National Park, there are some stringent rules you might have to follow.
The National Park Service has outlined these rules not just to protect pets. But to also ensure the proper preservation of wildlife. And to reduce the nuisance pets may cause to other wildlife explorers.
These are the rules you must comply with when visiting Yellowstone National Park with Fido.
- Your dog may only come with you to developed areas. And when he does, he must stay within 100 feet (30.5 meters) of campgrounds, parking lots, and roads.
- You must physically control your dog at all times – keep him in your car or a crate. Otherwise, you must keep him on a leash that’s 6 feet long.
- You cannot allow your dog on hiking trails, on boardwalks, or in thermal zones.
- You must not leave your dog unattended or tied to any object.
- Where your dog cannot accompany you, you must not leave him in a situation where basic needs like food, water, ventilation, and shade are not adequate.
- You must pick up pet waste, bag it, and dispose of it in trash bins.
Are Dogs Allowed In yellowstone National Park?
Dogs may not be allowed access to most places at Yellowstone. But, there are a few places that aren’t out of bounds for Fido.
Dogs Are Allowed In Campgrounds
All campgrounds at Yellowstone permit the entry of pets. The campgrounds are 12. And you’re free to stay there with your dog during your time at Yellowstone.
But, there are a few ground rules you want to observe while making memories with Fido. They include;
- Keeping your dog on a leash that’s no more than 6 feet in length at all times
- Ensuring your dog doesn’t make too much noise
- Picking up after your dog
- Not leaving your dog unattended while you explore the park.
- Put all food and water dishes away when your dog spends the night with you
There are also walking trails at some campgrounds. So, Fido never has to miss out on some bonding time by taking some good walks with you.
You Can Take Your Dog To The Parking Lots
Yellowstone permits visitors to be with their pets at any of their parking lots. You may stop to stretch or take a short stroll around with your dog. But, remember that he must be on a 6-foot leash at all periods.
Plus, you must ensure you don’t take your dog more than 100 feet away from the parking lot. You must also make sure to clean up and dispose of all pet waste.
You may also choose to leave the dog in your car. However, if you’re going to spend long periods away, then you want to ensure someone stays behind to monitor your dog. Especially when you cannot ensure proper ventilation.
Take Fido On A Scenic Drive
While pets aren’t allowed on boardwalks or trails, it’s perfectly normal to have them in cars while you cruise around.
So, you can take Fido along Yellowstone’s many scenic routes, enjoying the wildlife and many of the other gorgeous mountain views.
Of course, taking Yellowstone’s scenic routes in a car means limiting your overall experience. But, you can always pull over to take photos.
Some scenic roads you might want to use are;
- Firehole Lake Drive
- The Lamar Valley
- Grand Loop Road
- Firehole Canyon Drive
- Blacktail Plateau Drive
- Virginia Cascade Drive
- Beartooth Highway
You Cannot Take Your Dog To The Following Places At Yellowstone
You now know for sure which areas are dog-friendly at Yellowstone. But, do you know which areas aren’t?
Here are some places at Yellowstone where you can’t take Fido.
All public buildings at Yellowstone are out of bounds for Fido. These include hotels, canteens, restaurants, general stores, and the like.
Boardwalks & Trails
At Yellowstone, dogs aren’t allowed on boardwalks, hiking trails, thermal areas, or in the backcountry.
If you’re bent on taking on doing some traditional hiking with your dog, it’s still possible. It’s just that you can’t do it in Yellowstone.
However, Yellowstone can easily be divided into different sectors because of its 4 entrances. So, you’ll find great sites for hiking surrounding the park.
Close to the north entrance of Yellowstone is Passage Creek Falls located south of Livingston. Passage Falls offers a marvelous hiking experience for hikers of all levels. And the presence of the magnificent waterfall promises to make your experience worthwhile.
At the Shoshone National Forest, dogs are permitted to join their owners to explore dozens of trail options spanning across 1,300 miles. This national forest also houses some breathtaking mountain views, glaciers, and plateaus that’ll get you reeling with excitement. Shoshone lies in northwest Wyoming and is on the eastern border of Yellowstone.
If you really want to stretch Fido’s paws, use the Sheffield Creek Trailhead to hike to Huckleberry Mountain Lookout to view the fire tower. The Sheffield Creek is at the northern part of Grand Teton National Park and near the south entrance of Yellowstone. So, you get to occasionally get a peek of both parks as you make way atop the trail. While you may find the hike strenuous, it’s definitely worth it when you reach the fire tower!
Why Does Yellowstone Have So Many Rules About Pets?
It sounds deflating that your dog gets to miss out on so many adventures that’d have made your trip far memorable. But, Yellowstone’s strict pet rules are in place for the overall good of your dog, yourself, nature, and the wider populace of visitors.
First, dogs are usually giddy by nature. They may unsettle the ecosystem with their incessant barks, chasing birds/small animals away from their resting/feeding areas.
Also, your dog may become a potential target for a wolf or coyote. Even worse, where your dog rashly engages such wild animals, your safety may become threatened.
Disease-transmitting insects could also cause the spread of diseases from wild animals to your dog and vice versa.
What’s more, because hydrothermal features like geysers are at/close to the boiling point, they pose serious risks to your dog’s safety. Your dog may not be necessarily able to tell that a geyser is hot. And jumping into one may be fatal. Hence, dogs are not allowed around thermal areas.
What About Service Dogs?
If your pet is a service dog as per the guidelines of the ADA, then he can follow you to any area of Yellowstone.
He can come with you to the trails, restaurants, shops, and all the attractions available at the national park.
Service dogs are recognized as those dogs trained specifically to perform certain tasks for persons with disabilities. Note that emotional support animals aren’t service dogs and will not be allowed into areas that pets will ordinarily not be allowed in Yellowstone.
Are There Any Pet Boarding Services At Yellowstone?
It makes sense that you want Fido to be part of your experiences as you take in the beautiful sceneries at Yellowstone.
But, you must understand that bringing your dog along can severely limit your experience at Yellowstone.
Because the national park isn’t dog-friendly, you may have to make major compromises that you wouldn’t have made if Fido was left behind.
Thanks to elite pet daycare and boarding facilities around the Wyoming and Montana entrance to Yellowstone, you can leave your pet in expert hands while you make the trip to the nation’s premier national park.
You may call the following pet boarding facilities near Yellowstone. Or find out more details about them online before making any reservations for your dog.
Yellowstone Pet Boarding
1 Caledonia Rd, Livingston, MT 59047
Animal House Pet Lodging
3181 Big Horn Lane, Bozeman, MT 59718
BarkCity Doggy Daycare
149 Village Center Lane, Bozeman, MT 59718
Hawk’s Rest Ranch
86 Hawk’s Rest Road, Etna, WY 83118
So, are dogs allowed in Yellowstone National Park? You bet they are! But, as you’ve read in this article, the environment at Yellowstone isn’t very accommodating of dogs.
You do have the option of leaving Fido at home. But, if that’s not a possibility, you can still take him along.
It’s just that he’ll be facing a lot of restrictions which might make your overall experience a not-so-enjoyable one.
Still, you have the option of making use of the top-class boarding services around Yellowstone.