If road-tripping with your dog is something you might like to do, consider planning your route around some of our wonderful National Parks and trails. You may not know that many of our National Parks are pet-friendly. We rounded up some of the best spots to explore with your your pup and a few things you should know before you go.
Best national parks to visit with your pup
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Planning your visit with your dog’s enjoyment in mind may take a little extra time, but is well worth it to see this natural wonder. Pets are allowed many places around the Grand Canyon but cannot go below the canyon rim. If you decide to stay overnight, several of the campgrounds and the Yavapai Lodge offer pet friendly accommodations.
Remember to keep your dog leashed at all times!
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
The website for this park states that: “With a few exceptions, leashed pets are welcome at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.” Visitors are asked to protect their pets, other visitors, and park resources by following the rules and guidelines which include keeping pets leashed, staying on the trails and ensuring all pet waste is picked up. This a great park for your pet’s first hike as some of the trails are only one mile long. However, if your pet is an experienced hiker, there are longer trails that you can tackle. Remember to take plenty of fresh water to keep you both hydrated along the way.
White Sands National Park, New Mexico
According to the National Park Service, “Pets love White Sands! To them, it's full of new scents, sights, cool, soft sand, and excitement! You'll love bringing your furry companions with you to the park, too.as long as they are non-disruptive, on a leash no longer than six feet, and are under physical control at all times.” Remember that it can get very hot in New Mexico so be sure to never leave your pet unattended in your vehicle and pack plenty of water.
Independence National Historic Park, Pennsylvania
Okay, so this one is really more of an urban adventure, but leashed dogs are allowed on the grounds of Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia. If your pup isn’t really into hiking or nature but you have visiting a national park together on your bucket list, this one is for you. The area is home to many pet friendly hotels and restaurants so feel free to make a fun overnight out of your trip!
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado
At Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, pets are permitted in the Preserve (including Mosca Pass Trail) and main use areas of the Park (including Piñon Flats Campground, Dunes Overlook Trail, and along the Medano Pass Primitive Road). Pets must be leashed at all times and owners must clean up after them. The park service asks that pet owners carry out all waste.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Like other parks on our list, dogs can’t go everywhere in the park but Acadia National Park is particularly pet friendly. With 100 miles (161 km) of hiking trails and 45 miles (72 km) of carriage roads in the park where pets are permitted there is plenty of area to explore together. For lodging options in the park, Blackwoods, Seawall, and Schoodic Woods campgrounds permit pets. If you want to visit Isle au Haut, pets are permitted for day hiking only.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Shenandoah National Park is one of the few national parks that allow pets on trails. The regulations covering pets and their owners are put in place to allow you and your pet to share a Park experience while protecting Park resources, as well as other visitors. Be sure to review the full list of regulations before hitting the trails together. The usual be responsible for your pet, keep them on a leash and pick up all waste are included in this list.
Know before you go
Become a B.A.R.K. Ranger
The National Park Service offers a program through their Healthy People Healthy Parks Initiative. B.A.R.K. stands for:
- Bag your pet’s waste
- Always leash your pet
- Respect wildlife
- Know where you can go
Look for BARK ranger programming at the park you are planning to visit. This is especially helpful for pups who are first timers.
Whether you’re visiting one of the parks on our list or one that is closer to where you live, it is important that you have done your homework.
Make sure you know what the park pet policies are and where you can (and can’t take your pet). Also, what will you do if your pup gets tired, hot, overwhelmed or doesn’t want to participate. Will you need to leave? Kennel them? Having a plan to ensure your pet’s safety and wellbeing is important. Just like you, they have moods and can become stressed out with things like heat, humidity, strange places, long waits or just being overtired if they don’t sleep well on the road.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.