When you have a loyal pet like a dog, you know it’s hard to leave them at home when you’re out on an adventure, especially when that adventure takes place outdoors.
Well, you might just be in luck when it comes to a few of the national parks. While there are generally quite a few restrictions on dogs in the parks, there are a handful of the national parks that welcome dogs in most of the areas of the parks and on many of the trails.
Let’s take a look at some of the best national parks to bring your dog.
Acadia National Park
It’s lucky for you that Acadia National Park is dog friendly, because it’s also one of the most beautiful parks in the entire system. Nestled into the coast of Maine, the park highlights everything from mountains to the rocky coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Dogs are allowed in virtually all public places and hiking trails. Remember to keep dog on a leash 6 feet in length or less.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Love me or hate me the desert seems to say, this is what I am and this is what I shall remain. A photo posted by Breakin’ Hearts Since 2012 (@loki_the_wolfdog) on
One of the most unique parks in the system, Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park is home to the tallest sand dunes in all of North America. It also features a nice forest area, alpine lake, and beautiful grasslands.
Dogs are allowed in the most commonly used parts of the park and the preserve. It’s best to hike in the morning or night with your dog since the sand can be quite hot on your dog’s paws.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Right around the Cleveland, Ohio metro area, dog lovers will find Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The park has a number of very level and scenic trails that follow along the old Ohio and Erie Canal towpath, including over 125 miles of trails you (and your dog) will love.
Dogs must stay on leashes that are 6 feet long and under. They aren’t allowed on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad or in the park buildings.
Shenandoah National Park
Tucked into the rolling Virginia countryside, between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River, you’ll find Shenandoah National Park. It’s considered to be one of the most friendly of all the parks in the system. Plus it’s less than a two hour drive from Washington, D.C.
Dogs are allowed in the campgrounds and on virtually all of the 500 miles of trails within the park. They must also be kept on leashes under 6 feet.
Petrified Forest National Park
This is another really interesting and unique park for a couple of reasons. First, Petrified Forest National Park is really known for its fossils that date back approximately 225 million years! Second, it’s one of the very friendly parks for dogs.
While dogs aren’t allowed in park buildings, they are welcome on any trail in the park and in the wilderness backpacking area as well, as long as they are on a leash under 6 feet.
Check the Rules First
While each of these parks are considered dog friendly, it’s always important to check the specific rules and regulations for any of the National Parks before you go. Some will welcome dogs into the camping areas but not on trails, while others allow dogs near paved trails but not in camping areas.
Of course, if you have a service dog, then they also have their own set of rules that you’ll want to check.