America’s National Parks are awe-inspiring natural wonders. There’s no way around it. But those natural wonders aren’t always dog friendly. You don’t want to be all amped up for a long weekend in Yellowstone with your furry friend just to find out that the little fella isn’t allowed to go on any trails with you. That’d be a bummer. But don’t fret, we’re here for you and your pet.
Below is a list of our favorite national parks where you and your four-legged friends can adventure freely. Well, almost freely. Some of these parks have some pretty delicate habitats, so just be mindful of restrictions.
Acadia National Park
This east coast gem of a park is also incredibly pet friendly. Maybe the most pet friendly, in fact. It offers 125 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads within the park that are accessible to your dog. There are only a few designated areas where they are not allowed. And that’s great, because you’re going to want to take in as much of that rugged New England coast and beautiful greenery as possible. And there’s a lighthouse, too. It’s not every day you see one of those out in the wild. Bottom line, this place is totally worth a visit with your pet. We’d recommend going in the fall if you’re into awesome scenery. Just google “Acadia National Park in the fall” if you don’t believe us.
Shenandoah National Park
How about that drive in, huh? The breathtaking Skyline Drive is a 105-mile road that passes through the entire Shenandoah National Park, offering picture-perfect panoramic views and access to a variety of wonderful trails. Speaking of trails, Shenandoah has 500 miles worth of them. And 480 of those are dog friendly. That’s more miles of trails than Toto is gonna know what to do with it. But don’t worry too much about which trail to take, this park offers cascading waterfalls and incredible scenery everywhere you turn, so about any trail you pick is gonna be a winner.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grab the leash and get ready to go on a long walk in the Grand Canyon with your little adventurer. Because all 13 miles of the South Rim Trail are pet friendly. And the South Rim Trail is arguably the most iconic one. 13 miles gives you a whole lot of different vantage points to catch an unforgettable sunset with your fur baby. And we do mean unforgettable. Those things are gorgeous. It can get pretty warm in the Grand Canyon during the summer, though. So make sure your hot dogs have plenty of water. And don’t you dare take them down into the canyon. It gets even hotter at the bottom. Plus, the pups aren’t allowed on any of those trails. Just the South Rim one. But that’s really all you need.
Yosemite National Park
Arguably the greatest National Park of them all, Yosemite is great to see with your dog, too. Even though most/almost all trails are closed to your canine companions. The two trails that are open are a 5-mile hike through a big, beautiful meadow full of wildflowers (if you time it right) and a short scenic lap around Mirror Lake. So you’re still gonna have an adventure. Most roads, sidewalks, and bicycle paths are pet friendly, too, so you guys can still take in the unmatched beauty of Yosemite Valley together. They also offer kennel services if you and your human friends want to go explore off in the back country for a few days. We’d say that’s fairly dog and dog owner friendly.
Cuyahoga National Park
Another pet friendly MVP of the National Parks system, Cuyahoga allows you to take your pets on all 125 miles of its trails. That’s pretty special considering how many waterfalls and vista views there are – not to mention how bright and beautiful those fall colors get. Needless to say, you’ll both enjoy exploring this hidden Ohio gem.
Olympic National Park
This place is a puppy’s paradise. There are several beaches and trails in the park that are pet friendly. Beaches! It’s rare enough to find National Parks with beaches, let alone dog friendly ones. That in itself is worth a visit. But this place really goes all out for your best friend. They even have a Bark Ranger program where your little buddy can earn a badge and everything.
North Cascades National Park
While your pups are not permitted in the majority of the park, they are, however, allowed on the famous Pacific Crest Trail. You know, the one that stretches all the way from the Canadian border to the Mexican border. Which is pretty cool if you ask us. Not only that, you can also go backpack camping with your dog on the trail. Which is even cooler. We’d highly recommend taking advantage of that rare opportunity.
White Sands National Park
Get this, at White Sands National Park, leashed pets can explore the entire park. Yes, you read that correctly. The entire park. That’s a lot of roaming for Rover. And this snow-white sandy playground is pretty beautiful, so we bet you’ll enjoy roaming around it, too. You guys could also play some pretty epic games of fetch out there. Those dunes are pretty big.
Petrified Forest National Park
This place pretty much gives you and your pet free roam. You’re allowed on all trails together as long as they’re on a leash. Better yet, you can even go camping in the backcountry with the little furball. So, get ready for plenty of hiking and stargazing with your little buddy in this otherworldly landscape. There are also a lot of fossils in this area. Even actual dinosaur fossils. So, if you see some funny looking bones, definitely don’t let your pup chew on them.
Glacier National Park
Ok, so there might only be one trail in all of Glacier National Park that is dog friendly. But it’s a 2.5 mile hike that passes by a lake and an ice cream stand. That’s gotta count for something. While the trail is cool and all, the main draw here is the Going-To-The-Sun Road that stretches 50 miles right through the heart of the park. If you really want to take the scenic route, this is the route to take. Dogs are even allowed to roam around on a leash within 100 feet of the road. That means when your good boy or girl isn’t hanging their head out the window feeling the wind in their fur, they can explore 50 miles worth of roadside sights, sounds and smells. They’re gonna love it.
And there you have it. Our picks for the best parks for your pup. That’s a lot of adventure to be had, so you better make sure they’ve got the right gear. Check out some of our favorite outdoor gear for your dogs here.