There’s nothing better than exploring a new wild area with your pup, and national parks are some of our country’s most treasured wild places. But not all of these national parks are dog friendly, and there’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination and realizing you have to leave your best friend in the car.
That’s why we’ve created a list of the most dog-friendly national parks so you never have to roam alone!
Acadia National Park
Nestled on the coast of Maine, Acadia National Park has over 145 miles of trails and carriage roads that your dog can accompany you on. Boasting as one of the most visited national parks in the U.S., Acadia has stunning vistas of glacier-carved mountains, woodlands, and beaches. After you’ve spent the day hiking, the nearby seaside town of Bar Harbor advertises many dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, and parks that you can relax in.
Shenandoah National Park
Of the over 500 miles of trails that exist within Shenandoah National Park, dogs are only prohibited on less than 20 of them! Although the park is only 75 miles from the hustle and bustle of Washington D.C., you can expect to see a wide variety of nature at Shenandoah including waterfalls, wooded hollows, wildflower-filled meadows, and sprawling vistas. Bring a camera, because there are over 75 scenic overlooks perfect for a pet portrait.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Head west! The wide expanse of Great Sand Dunes National Park is one of the most awe-inspiring natural systems to see. Of course, there are the ever-shifting sand dunes that the park is known for, but there are also mountains, wide-open fields, and streams to experience as well.
Dogs are permitted in the main use area of the dunes as well as several trails into the mountain area. Only backcountry areas are off-limits to dogs.
Grand Canyon National Park
Admittedly, at only 13 miles, the length of trails that dogs are permitted on in Grand Canyon National Park is fewer than previous parks we’ve featured, but the vistas at the Grand Canyon are a must-see with your dog. Although dogs are only allowed on trails above the South and North rims, there is still plenty to see and experience there. One of the bonus features of Grand Canyon National Park is that it also has a boarding kennel if you’d like to experience some of the trails below the rim on your own.
Ok, ok, technically the Appalachian Trail isn’t a national park, it’s a national scenic trail. But it’s also one of the most pet-friendly nature expeditions you can have. The trail is 2,174 miles long with only three restricted areas off-limits to dogs! With various entry points along the way and lots of pet-friendly hotels, you can choose the adventure length and style that works best for you and your pup.
All of these national wilderness areas have at least one rule in common: leashes are required! To visit any of these national areas, dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 ft. Having your dog on a leash protects you, your dog, and all of the wonderful wildlife found in these parks.
These national parks are some of the most treasured wild spaces we have in this country. So grab your leash and get out there to explore them, protect them and enjoy every moment.