Many U.S. National Parks allow you to have pets in at least some areas of the parks. Of the 63 national parks, there are only two where dogs are entirely prohibited: Channel Islands in California and Isle Royale in Michigan. As each park has a unique experience for you, they each offer different experiences with your pet. Be sure to check out rules and regulations for each location to know exactly where your dog is allowed.
In general, national parks welcome pets in developed areas, on many trails and campgrounds, and in some lodging facilities. Pets must be restrained either on a leash no longer than 6 feet, crated or caged.
National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the federal government of the United States that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties. The National Park System includes all properties managed by the NPS, which have a wide variety of titles or designations, including national monuments, preserves, military parks, battlefield parks, historic sites, memorials, seashores, lakeshores, rivers, wild and scenic riverways, recreation areas, and trails system.
As national parks are becoming more and more crowded, some of the country’s most popular ones are increasingly choosing a new solution: day-use reservations and timed-entry tickets aimed at cutting traffic and preserving the fragile landscapes these parks were designed to protect. As of January 2023, the following national parks require timed-entry permits to access any part of the park during peak hours: Arches, Glacier, Haleakala, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. In addition, many parks are increasingly requiring reservations and permits to access some of the most popular trailheads, scenic roads, and activities. The reservation and its nominal fee, which varies by park, is separate from the general admission price (109 national park sites charge an entrance fee), which visitors must pay, except on certain free days. However, the reservation requirement is waived for guests who have booked on-site accommodations, such as a campsite, or a recreational activity, such as horseback riding.
Visiting National Parks with Pets
Find out which parks allow pets, which ones prohibit them, and things you need to know to enjoy your visit with your furry friends.
Things to Do With Your Pets in National Parks
Pet friendly activities include camping, hiking, and more, including the B.A.R.K. Ranger Program.
Hiking with Pets in National Parks
Some national parks welcome pets on trails. Before you go, get some tips on hiking with pets in parks.
B.A.R.K. Ranger Program
Some national parks offer a B.A.R.K. Ranger program as a way to encourage responsible national park travel with dogs and educate visitors with pets about the park’s rules. Dogs participating in the program are sworn in as Bark Rangers, and their owners can purchase a special tag for their dog’s collar; now your pet can collect Bark Ranger tags at more than thirty locations across the country.
Dog-Friendly National Parks? Here’s the Lowdown on What You Can Do With Your Pup at the 10 Most Popular Sites
Depending on the park, your dog may be able to accompany you only in certain areas. Be sure to check your specific park’s pet policy and plan accordingly before you hit the road.
Pets are allowed in all national forests, but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times while in developed recreation areas and on interpretive trails. Most other areas within the national forests do not require dogs to be on a leash, but they should be under control at all times.
U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that administers the nation’s 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands. The Forest Service manages 193 million acres of land. There is at least one national forest in all but ten states: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Rhode Island (although Kansas and North Dakota have national grasslands).
Dogs are welcome on most BLM-managed trails. While leashes are not required on all trials, you should keep your dog close and under control when passing children, horses or other dogs. Please check the trail website or call the local BLM field office for leash policy.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior responsible for administering federal lands. Most BLM public lands are located in these 12 western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Hiking on Public Lands
BLM-managed lands offer numerous opportunities for hiking ranging from small foot paths through untrammeled wilderness to National Historic Trails with developed trail heads and interpretation centers.
Best Dog-Friendly Public Lands
Find pet friendly lands across America where all dogs are welcome!
How to Hike the Backcountry With Your Dog
Adventure photographer Ace Kvale and his trusty dog Genghis Khan embark on a milestone hike, a 60-day backpacking trip in southern Utah, and share their advice for exploring America’s wilderness.
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